This blog is a departure from our norm. It’s a Goodwin Recruiting story of diversity and inclusion told in the first person.
Let me start by stating that I’m a married gay man in my sixties. I was in my late fifties when I applied to Goodwin in 2013 to be a Recruiter. I had just sold my inn and affiliate businesses and was looking for the next stage of my career. I applied to an ad, and Eric Goodwin, our founder, reached out to me personally. He was also my first interview, followed by webcam interviews with Jessica, our current VP of Training & Development, Scott, our current COO, and Joy, my Regional Director. There was no hiding my age, and it certainly didn’t come up.
In May 2014, I married my husband, Duffy. Jessica, who wrote our internal newsletter at the time, asked if she could announce it in our newsletter, and did I have a photo? I responded with caution; I didn’t want to do anything that anyone on the team might find offensive. Her response was affirming. She said she didn’t want to work with anyone who had an issue with it. She ran the announcement and the photo, and I received nothing but messages of congratulations.
I can speak to inclusion as well. When our company was smaller and growing, Goodwin’s leadership frequently used me as a resource for feedback on a variety of issues. I became a Senior Market Partner in September 2016. Titles were standardized in January 2018, and I was titled a Senior Recruiter. I was “Partner of the Year” for 2016, “Ambassador of the Year” for 2017, and “Extensive Support Coach of the Year” for 2018.
Today it’s hard to imagine a gay white man having to worry about coming out to his company and colleagues. It wasn’t always so. I spent my early school days hiding out and being anti-social in fear of bullying, which I experienced in middle and high school. In my early twenties, the Air Force discharged me for disclosing that I was gay. Once “out,” I shared with my parents. My stepmother had raised me since I was twelve, and I thought we had a loving and supportive relationship. I received a written response to my heartfelt phone call from my stepmother that said, we wish the news had been that I was dead because that they would eventually be able to get over. This statement still haunts me, but it has become a red badge of courage.
In many ways, this statement scarred my soul, and, in many ways, it felt like I’ve had to over-compensate ever since UNTIL Jessica uttered those words to me. I found that workplace affirmation to be healing. I was proud then to be affiliated with Goodwin Recruiting and prouder now to see our company’s responsiveness to the national recognition of the need for diversity and inclusion. As a company, we re-visited our Core Values and added the following: “Dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion.” It is clear to me that this is not just lip-service:
- We are actively training on the subject.
- We created an active Diversity and Inclusion Committee (on which I feel represented).
- We sent an email to all clients stating that we adhere to the laws of equal employment opportunities for all in letter and spirit.
- We required all recruiters to reach out to clients to confirm alignment in this area.
- We ask our new clients if they have any specific diversity and inclusion programs that we can help support and build upon.
I’m proud to be affiliated with Goodwin Recruiting. You can be too! We are open to new relationships with job seekers, hiring managers, and recruiter candidates whose values align with ours on these important matters.