O4W_scholars
Point Scholars Frederick Adenuga, Samy Galvez, Sy Abdul and Tanner Liechty attend Out For Work Conference in Washington, D.C.


Below, Point Scholar Freddie Adenuga shares his experience from the OUT for Work Conference in Washington D.C.:

It was always my dream to become an entrepreneur. I loved solving problems that would lead to people having a better life. However, one problem I initially did not associate with becoming an entrepreneur was repeatedly considering whether it was safe/smart to come out to my co-workers. This problem not only exists for entrepreneurs, but for any LGBTQ individual in the working world. With that reality in mind, the annual OUT for Work Conference in Washington, D.C. sought to mentor and guide LGBTQ students from around the nation and empower them to be out and proud in the workplace.

I had the privilege of attending the 10th Annual OUT for Work Conference along with fellow Point Scholars Sy Abdul, Samy Galvez and Tanner Liechty. For myself, the best element of the conference was being able to connect with hundreds of students from around the country who, like me, wished to learn safe ways of being proud and open about our identities in the workplace.

The conference had many speakers including Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart, former president of the Human Rights Campaign Joe Solmonese, and former Ambassador to Romania Michael Guest. Each speaker shared stories of the challenges they faced as openly LGBTQ individuals even when they were in positions of power.

One particular speaker whose story resonated with me was Mara Keisling, the Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. She spoke of her experience working with individuals who gave her an “assumed agenda” that she called “cliché charity.” She spoke about how we shouldn’t feel boxed in by our identities and the importance of using our individual experiences as fodder to help others grasp the intricacies of several LGBTQ challenges to advances. Keisling emphasized that what causes the majority of problems in workplaces are people’s assumptions that there are particular archetypes for most Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender individuals. To combat this, she said queer individuals need to have a clear personal agenda for what they wish to accomplish within their organization. An agenda and a vision that transcends the self and enables a person to be able to focus on accomplishing specific objectives regardless of what others think or have planned for them.

This reminded me of what I experienced all the way back in grade school where conformity was modeled as the route to success. Being a child who felt quite different from many of my schoolmates, I worried that my apparent inability to adapt my interests, appearance, and personality would hinder me from future opportunities. Time, stubbornness, and a number of people and programs showed me that in actuality, conformity rarely advances people. Rather, originality of traits and abilities leads to advancement. The Out for Work Conference reminded me of these important life lessons.

I greatly thank Point Foundation for giving me the opportunity to attend such a well-executed conference!

 

This post was written by Point Scholar Frederick Adenuga
Upon becoming a student at Florida State University, Frederick was determined to be a vocal and active advocate for other LGBTQ students who felt that they did not have many supportive individuals in their lives. Frederick is currently triple majoring in Political Science, Entrepreneurship, and Sales, and is also currently working toward his Master of Public Administration. Learn more about Frederick.

 

Please follow and like us:
Loading