Why Schwab celebrates National Coming Out Day beyond October 11th
October 8, 2021
By Sara Tresch, Managing Director, Digital Services; and John Ruda, Managing Director, Advisor Services (Executive Co-Sponsors for PRIDE+ Employee Resource Group at Charles Schwab)
October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, a month to celebrate the positive impact diversity and inclusion have on our society and in our workplace. Here at Charles Schwab, diversity and inclusion are a way of life.
Our commitment to building an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued is what sets us apart. We’re dedicated to sustaining a culture that reflects individual strengths. Through diversity we recognize that we gain a wider range of perspectives and experiences, which benefits everyone.
Schwab is committed to providing a safe and open workplace environment, one that does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and provides resources 365 days a year dedicated to supporting employees.
Learning from each other
The Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at Schwab are a vital part of Schwab’s culture. ERGs are groups formed by employees who come together around common interests, shared characteristics, or life experiences.
As Executive Sponsors of the PRIDE+ ERG and members of the LGBTQ+ community ourselves, we’re thankful for the team’s contributions toward Schwab’s mission of making diversity and inclusion a way of life.
PRIDE at Schwab
PRIDE at Schwab
Focused through the lenses of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, PRIDE+ is committed to empowering our colleagues to be themselves at work, reach their fullest potential, and help Schwab to deliver an inclusive client experience.
Since 2004, Charles Schwab has received a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which supports our company’s dedication to creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees.
While Schwab is very honored by this recognition, what is even more meaningful is how our employees feel about themselves and working at Schwab.
In honor of National Coming Out Day1, we asked members of our PRIDE+ ERG to share their personal experiences as Schwab employees and explain why this day is meaningful to them.
What National Coming Out Day means to us
What National Coming Out Day means to us
"When I joined Schwab three years ago, one of the first things I did was reach out to the local Schwab PRIDE+ ERG chapter and was happy to connect to other queer employees and allies. I marched in the Austin PRIDE parade with Schwab in 2019 and can't wait until 2022 when we can march together again. I've been the co-chair of the Austin chapter of Schwab's PRIDE+ ERG for a year and a half now (the whole pandemic!). I like being out at work because I think it's important for people to know and hear about gay people because we are not all immediately visible, and it enables me to help others when they have questions or issues on this topic."
"I am very grateful to Schwab for not discriminating (as I know it does happen) and have never felt ashamed for being gay, because I was born this way."
"My experience coming out at work could not have been more affirming or supportive. My team and the people I support didn't bat an eyelash when I suddenly started talking about my girlfriend. Late bloomers tend to have lives already entrenched in a heterosexual relationship, many times with a husband, children, and extended families-in-law, etc., and the same was true for me. As I was still figuring out how best to navigate detangling my personal life, I never once worried about how I would be treated at work for being gay. I was not treated differently, nor did I feel harshly judged. In fact, my manager and team extended me a huge amount of grace as I worked through the incredibly complex emotional work of this detangling, as well as dealing with the flood of emotions and thoughts and new challenges that come with the realization that one is gay for the first time. With all that was going on in my personal life, I am proud to say that I never once worried about how my colleagues at Schwab would treat me - I knew I would be supported."
"National Coming Out day means inspiring people to live their best lives and be authentic to who they are deep down."
"It's a reminder for me to be my most radically, authentic self and an opportunity to reflect on how the journey of coming out is evolving."
"I came out in the financial services industry 15 years ago after anxiously attending an ERG pride month reception filled with LGBTQ+ employees and allies who seemed to be thriving. It’s the everyday interactions and experiences that define our culture of inclusion, and my 13 years at Schwab (via TD Ameritrade) have affirmed my belief that vulnerability and authenticity unlock more meaningful connections with colleagues and help me maximize my workplace contributions."
"National Coming Out Day means a day of courage, support, and strength. Coming out puts someone in a vulnerable state and for some it was easy, but for many others it was very hard. Either way, coming out leads to love, which surrounds us and reminds us that we will be okay."
"I have been a member of the PRIDE+ ERG since day one and I always, proudly, display PRIDE collateral at my desk. I do that to show my PRIDE, but also to identify myself and my work area as a safe space. My hope that is if someone is feeling unsure about being out that they will see me and my work area and know that they are safe."
"Coming Out Day is a chance to remind ourselves and others that coming out isn't a one-time thing. Coming out ends up being something you do over and over during your life. For example, when I joined Schwab, it meant another round of coming out. It meant another round of deciding how much I wanted to disclose about myself. Not that I wanted to hide the fact that I'm a trans woman, but also not wanting it to be the first (and only) thing people think of about me. Because coming out as T can be far different than coming out as LGB — the latter puts the focus on who you truly are, but the former can put the focus on who you “were” (at least for binary trans people like me). I dream of a day when being trans is the third or fourth most interesting thing about me. I dream of a day where National Coming Out Day becomes obsolete because coming out is a routine, everyday experience, and everyone who wants to embrace their true self can do so."
"While we have made huge progress in this arena, it’s hard to believe that not that many years ago it was not acceptable to discuss any of this in the workplace. I am so thankful to work for a company that supports the LGBTQ+ community. I am thankful for the tremendous support and the amazing PRIDE+ members we have. I am also humbled to be one of the national leads (of our PRIDE+ ERG), and to be an advocate for our community!"
"For me, this is a day that celebrates a sense of belonging and inclusion, pride, and self-acceptance."
"Through my own determination and headstrong attitude I was able to cement myself as a LOUD AND PROUD trans woman in my life and my career at Schwab, who by the way have been incredibly supportive of my transition and my choices."
"Role models and mentors have always been such an important part of my personal and professional life. They come from many different backgrounds and often where I least expect them. That’s why I hope that by being my authentic self, I may help others in their journey and pay this forward."
"National Coming out Day is a day of recognition, and encouragement, of being who you really are. It is a day where people who have come out talk about their stories to help others feel comfortable doing the same."
How to show and share support
To increase awareness about National Coming Out Day and show support for the value diversity and inclusion brings to each of us every day, consider posting a message—maybe even sharing this story—with your social media network. It’s an important message that when we come together, we’re stronger.
1 National Coming Out Day is recognized annually on October 11th, the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, to support the LGBTQ+ community and champion those who identify as LGBTQ+ to “come out” (a term stemming from the phrase “come out of the closet”) about their sexuality.