Citi Marks Pride Month 2015 – Part 6
June 29, 2015 11:00 AM
In recognition of Pride Month, a time to reflect upon the civil rights history and contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, we will be sharing personal reflections and stories of progress from individuals, both LGBT and straight allies, as they examine what it means to bring their full self to work.
Sheri Paulo, Managing Director, Senior Human Resources Advisor for CitiMortgage & U.S. Consumer & Commercial Bank – New York, NY
When I share the small moments, I bring my full self to work.
When you are developing new relationships, there comes that moment when you have a choice of how much of your true self to share. I have been openly gay for most of my career at Citi, 29 years now. And many of my colleagues know my wife Vina. But, there are still those times when meeting a new colleague that I find myself thinking about how much to share.
When I think about sharing myself fully, it’s not only about the big events and parades, or flying a flag during Pride Month. Those things are very important, but to me sharing myself fully is also about the small moments. It’s in how I describe my weekend, or in displaying a picture of my wife and I on my desk. It’s about not having to edit my life for others out of fear of being judged, or treated differently
At Citi, I have the great privilege of being surrounded by people who embrace me as a friend and colleague, often wanting to know more about my family. And I have such pride in working for a company that doesn’t just talk about values like inclusion and diversity. We live by those values, even when we know it may draw criticism. Don’t get me wrong, there is always progress to be made. And when we can all focus on being ourselves with mutual respect, our combined ideas and perspectives will have the power to make a real positive difference in the work place and around the world.
Tim Drabic, Director of Client Experience Complaints & CAO – Hagerstown, MD
When I exchange personal life stories with my team, I bring my full self to work.
I joined Citi in August 1999 after 15 years with another company. I have now been at Citi 15 years and it took me a while to open up and embrace the welcoming and diverse culture Citi had to offer.
In 2002, I won the President’s Leadership Award at Citi, and I have since affectionately called it my “Out” award. As part of this award I was invited to have my significant other join me at a celebration event and meet Citi’s top leadership team. This was quite an honor and yet I sheepishly shared with my boss at the time that I would be bringing my partner, Donn. Up until this point, I had never shared my personal life at work, primarily based on the culture and environment of my past employer. The openness I experienced at Citi was surprising and remarkable. Both my Donn and I were treated “like gold” during the event and I see that same culture of openness and acceptance every day here at Citi.
Not long after, I learned that there was a Pride network at Citi. I joined the network and over time, I moved into leadership positions and eventually a Director role. I became a member of the site leadership team, and for several years now, I have had the privilege to be the business sponsor of the Pride Network at Citi in Hagerstown, MD. That event, in 2002, changed how I manage every day. I now readily engage my team in personal conversations because I am not afraid to respond to their questions in return.