We celebrate the differences that make us unique all year long, but Pride Month is a chance to highlight coworkers who are members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. Chance P., a Group Human Resources Manager in Utah, asked in his first company interview, 20 years ago, whether being gay would prevent him from succeeding at Enterprise. He shares how he was supported from day one, and never looked back.
What initially attracted you to a career at Enterprise?
I taught college prior to joining Enterprise. I was an Enterprise customer and I was impressed that all of the Management Trainees had a college degree and that they were working to move up the career ladder. The entrepreneurial spirit was so evident, and their positive attitude was infectious! I really liked the concept that my work, not my tenure, moved me up the ladder. It was the opposite of what I had in my job at that time.
Why do you enjoy working for Enterprise?
It’s funny, I feel like I have been answering this question the same way the whole time I have been here, regardless of my role. For me, it’s the people and the company.
In my current role, I get to connect with our employees and work with them on a host of projects, challenges and success stories. It makes every day different and rewarding.
I am also really proud to work here. I see us work hard to make the right decisions for our employees and the company. We have just weathered some hard times connected to COVID-19. However, the internal messages we received from our CEO Chrissy Taylor, the tone in her voice, and the constant mantra that we would pull ahead…just made you proud to keep working and doing your part because it mattered.
What has surprised you most about working at Enterprise?
That if you want to be involved, you can. If you raise your hand you will be considered.
I wanted to be involved in the larger conversation in our company about diversity. I talked to my General Manager, my Corporate HR Manager, and Chris Tabourne, Assistant Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity, and was honored to serve for three years on our National Diversity Team. It was a great experience and the exposure helped me garner the role as the first Diversity Co-Facilitator for the North Central part of the US.
I simply raised my hand and my horizons and connections grew! In most companies, exposure like that is very difficult to find.
When did you come out at work, early or late in your Enterprise career? Why is it important for you to be out at work?
I came in the door that way! I was frustrated not being able to be myself at work prior to Enterprise. You know that part of the interview when they ask you if you have any questions? Well, I did! I asked them if my being gay would prevent me from succeeding at the company? I was told it would not. I felt safe. I held on to that and never looked back.
Being out and being visible at work gives you secure footing. When I was promoted to my current role, the Utah operations listed my husband and our little dog on my welcome to Utah and congrats on your promotion message. I got so much feedback from employees I had never met because of the “Welcome Randy and Ranger” portion of that message. I got messages with hashtags of #pride, #outandproud to simple “thank you” and “I see what you did there.” Just being out and being you does have an impact.
Do you have any LGBTQ+role models at work?
I have to admit that I looked up the ladder in 2000 and did not see anyone who was openly gay in the company. It honestly felt disheartening. I told myself that I would just have to be that person. I didn’t want another gay man to look around and not see an ally.
Last year you interviewed one of my former employees for this profile piece. You asked Branden S., “How important do you think it is to have LGBT role models at work?” He responded, “…in my 3rd interview, I met with the HR Generalist Manager, who had pictures of him and his husband in his office. That reassured me that I could be myself and progress with Enterprise.” That HR Generalist was me. That was the moment when I knew I had made a positive impact on someone like me. It made it all worth it.
Does Enterprise embody an inclusive work environment? What does that look, sound and feel like?
Yes. In my current role I have seen us work with employees from the entire spectrum of LGBTQ+ and I have seen those employees grow, be promoted, and develop professionally. If you want to promote inclusivity it looks, feels and sounds like:
How can I help you?
What do you need to be successful?
Do you have a mentor? Can I help you find one?
Where do you want to go? How can I help you get there?
How have your perceptions of Enterprise changed since COVID-19?
As an HR Manager I was in a unique role during a pivotal time. I got to see a lot of what went into the decisions that were made. If anything, I feel stronger about my connection to the company because of the detailed attention that was given to the decision making.
How do you feel about the new landmark Supreme Court decision that protects LGBTQ+workers from discrimination?
It feels exciting and comforting at the same time. Enterprise was ahead of the curve in our workplace for sure. Long before gay marriage was legal across the US, we had domestic partner benefits, and if you were married in a state where it was legal, Enterprise recognized that.
Today I take comfort that regardless of where you work you have the right to be discrimination-free. I think it is the best thing that could have happened for us in Pride Month 2020!