Being your Authentic Self: Out and Proud Technologist @ADP
Andrew Luria, Senior Director, Major Incident Response located in Pasadena, California, shares his personal journey about what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ in a technology company and encourages anyone reading this to be open to the idea of being Out and Proud at work.
At ADP, we stand behind our belief in bringing your authentic self to work as part of an inclusive culture focused on creating a safe space where everyone can thrive.
I wasn’t out when I first started at ADP back in 1995, not just to my coworkers but to anyone. I moved from Arizona to Georgia, not for a job but a fresh start. Living a ‘double life’ during college grew increasingly challenging to the point that hiding my authentic self started to take a toll on my health. After a while at ADP, I made friends with many of my coworkers. As with any friends, conversations steer from work to life outside the office. Before I was out, I had to edit what I told them, which made me feel like I’d never left Arizona. I finally said, “no more,” and decided to trust them and myself, and slowly came out.
I remember the first time I thought, “Wow, I really belong here at ADP.” In 2001, my husband and I hosted a Holiday Wine Tasting party in our home with all my ADP coworkers, who had become true friends. We shared an amazing, fun-filled night.
In 2016, I joined ADP’s Pride Business Resource Group (BRG) as a local Chapter Director for the West and ultimately transitioned into the VP of Chapters. As a member and leader for Pride, I have the opportunity to drive direction and connect with LGBTQ+ and Ally’s in an embracing community.
There are three things I learned personally and professionally on my journey:
First, in my twenty-five years here at ADP, mainly in technology, I can attest that my choice to be open about who I am has made my job easier and strengthened my relationships with my peers, leaders, and the people I lead.
I’ve chosen to be out and proud, regardless of the audience. I speak openly about my life and my husband. Outside of work, I spend all my time with him, so excluding him from the conversation would be like keeping a big part of my life hidden. Being able to speak openly about my life with my coworkers keeps us more connected, and that connection builds better and more genuine relationships. Those relationships have had a lasting, positive effect on my work and productivity.
Second, as a leader, I feel coming to work as my authentic self allows me to lead with a stronger sense of kindness and empathy than before. I can give my team 100%+ of my time and energy, knowing I’m not worried about people finding out I am gay. This authenticity provides the foundation of my health and happiness and makes me a better leader. Allowing me the ability to lead at my fullest potential not only gives the company the best leader I can be but has an immeasurable impact on the people who work for me.
Third, for anyone LGBTQ+ thinking about a career in technology, you are in a unique position to influence the downstream impact of new products and technologies that support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Recently, ADP enhanced several of our payroll products to include Self-Identification. The enhancement allows employees using our payroll products to self-identify as LGBTQ+. Just imagine decisions made about products and services without our input! As a technologist, we have a seat at the table.
Working in tech at ADP has been an incredible journey for me - one that contributed greatly to my personal success and the fingerprint of DEI at ADP.
I understand this isn’t an easy task for many members of our community. But at ADP, our strong commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by our CEO, our Executive Committee, and all our senior leaders across the globe have made it possible.
I’ve experienced a lot of support here. I never have to hesitate when speaking about my husband. There’s no need to hide who he is to me. I think ADP’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and respect for people of all backgrounds is one reason I love working at ADP and why I’ve built a long career here.