BBH Pride Network Leaders Discuss the Importance of Bringing Our True Selves to Work

December 08, 2023
BBH Pride Network leaders, Ray Cyr and Christine Bird, shared their personal journeys of embracing their identities and facing challenges within today’s society.

During a recent conversation with trailblazers in our LGBTQ+ community, BBH Pride Network leaders, Ray Cyr and Christine Bird, shared their personal journeys of embracing their identities, challenges faced within today’s society, and how BBH has evolved and created inclusive spaces for all. Read on to learn more about their conversation as BBH celebrates LGBTQ+ culture, empower agents of change, and support LGBTQ+ inclusion.

"As the world continues to churn outside BBH’s walls – as diversity itself comes under attack from all angles and is politicized, I find great comfort coming to work each day to a SAFE PLACE, where diversity is a value and an asset. A place where I can be fully myself and perform at the highest level possible and contribute as much as I am able." 

What does pride represent to you?
Ray Cyr: Pride represents for me an unwavering commitment to universal inclusion, empathy and understanding, not only for the intersections found in the LGBTQ+ community, but for all of us. It is the idea that each of us has value and a voice.

Around the world, there are laws specifically being passed to deny the rights of LGBTQ+ people to live, love, work, receive medical care, go to the bathroom, exercise and even simply exist. People in this community continue to be subjected to rejection, prejudice, violence and death.
So, while we have seen tremendous progress in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality, inclusion, and rights in parts of the world, the reality is that we are incredibly far from being fully equal in every realm of society. And that is why Pride is so important!

How can your pride serve as an agent of change?
Christine Bird: I like to think of myself as a change agent, both personally and at work, but my approach is not on a big stage — but rather one person at a time. Each person I meet and get the chance to be open with, have conversations…my goal is to change thoughts around concepts of they/them…
"Queers want to get married," "Queers should get fired from jobs and be denied housing"…
”Christine could get fired?” “Christine cannot marry her partner of 20 years?” This personal association is what will affect hearts and minds.

How has BBH evolved into the safe place it is today?
Ray Cyr: I started my BBH career in 2004. BBH back then was certainly a different place, we hadn’t yet established the BANC Affinity network community and didn’t have a DEI framework to facilitate conversations, but there was a genuine curiosity about it …. we just didn’t have the words or the competency yet.

When I joined my team in Controllers for the first time in my professional career, I was the only gay person on my team. The inevitable question of course was asked ….. what did you do this weekend? A question that can strike fear in the hearts of every queer person … what to do? I responded that my boyfriend at the time, now partner of 21 years, and I had been to a great restaurant in Cambridge. I waited for a reaction ….. then came the reply “oh cool, which one?” I made a decision in that moment that I would not hide, I am not a natural-born code switcher. I would have outed myself sooner or later. Being honest felt great …. From that moment on I have never had to hide. I know the power of authenticity and of building trust with the teams I work with. Being out at work has eliminated the need to hide or mislead, has made deeper friendships possible, has made me more productive and has unlocked in me talents I did not know I possessed.

So, in 2012, when a brave young gay man and recent addition to BBH, Greg Capasos, asked HR to start the Pride Network — how could I NOT help him?

Our small band of Pride Members in the early days quickly grew in number as we grew in confidence. Soon, to our great surprise, we had so many Allies join the network and so many BBHers at all levels in the company wanted to join the conversation. Over the years, BBH Pride has provided a safe space for BBHers to learn about the ever-evolving LGBTQ+ community, ask questions, practice inclusion and signal safety to colleagues who may not yet feel entirely comfortable coming out at work. BBH Pride has partnered with Human Resources, senior management and the Partnership to evolve equitable benefits and workplace policies for LGBTQ+ employees. We have become an LGBTQ+ Employer of choice!

Christine Bird: I think of Pride in a very personal way. I am a proud gay woman and I am proud of my community. That Pride means I do not hide who I am and I bring my entire self to work. This is an overused phrase, but that is because it is still very important, and visibility is never more important than in this time of backlash with laws written around saying the word ‘gay’, never mind being gay.

"I think of pride in a very personal way. I am a proud gay woman, and I am proud of my community. That pride means I do not hide who I am, and I bring my entire self to work." - Christine Bird

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