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Beyond Rainbow Lanyards
Season 2
By Amy Adshead (they/she)

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Image: Netflix Thumbnail

For many young LGBTQ+ professionals, navigating the corporate world can feel like a daunting prospect. Oliver Preece, however, found more than just a prestigious job at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – he discovered a space for personal and professional transformation. As he takes us through his journey in the professional world, we will see first-hand the power of inclusive workplace 

culture and how it allows diverse individuals to thrive post-education.

 

Oliver's early career at university wasn't without its challenges. As an openly LGBTQ+ student at the University of Warwick, he encountered subtle biases and moments of ostracisation. He admits, the fear of judgement was always present when he first entered corporate environments. Oliver's path toward a brighter outlook was not a sudden revelation, but a gradual blossoming fuelled by two pivotal forces: the embrace of supportive LGBTQ+ networks and the transformative power of inclusive internship experiences. These communities taught him the power of belonging and instilled in him the confidence to bring his authentic self to the workplace.

Landing at BCG, Oliver discovered a vibrant tapestry of diversity, woven into the company's very fabric. The LGBTQ+ network, Pride@BCG, welcomed him with open arms. Speaking to the impact of the group, he explains how it wasn't just a support group, it was a family united by a shared identity and a commitment to fostering an inclusive environment for everyone. Within this network, Oliver found mentors who became trusted advisors, confidantes, and advocates. This sense of belonging and acceptance proved crucial in his early days, allowing him to confidently navigate the intricacies of corporate life.

But BCG was more than just a safe haven; it was a catalyst for growth. Despite initial anxieties about public speaking and client interactions, Oliver found himself thrust into a dynamic environment that consistently pushed him beyond his comfort zone. Presenting in boardrooms, brainstorming with industry leaders, and navigating late-night client meetings – BCG nurtured his professional development with unwavering support. "It was both exhilarating and terrifying," he admits, "but ultimately, it forced me to grow in ways I never thought possible." Gradually, his anxieties were replaced by a newfound confidence as he mastered the complexities of consulting work.

 

One of Oliver's proudest achievements at BCG was spearheading a groundbreaking recruitment initiative. Recognising the need for greater LGBTQ+ representation within the company, he led a team that expanded their reach to historically overlooked universities, attracting a record number of talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. He found that BCG empowered him to turn his ideas and goals into reality. He said: "If you're passionate and committed, they'll support you every step of the way." This unwavering support for diversity and inclusion wasn't just lip service; it was a core principle ingrained in the company culture.

Oliver's arrival at BCG marked a pivotal turning point. Stepping through the doors as a hesitant newcomer, he found himself in an environment that ignited a hidden spark within. BCG's culture of intellectual rigour and collaborative spirit challenged him to push beyond perceived limitations, fostering a confidence he didn't know he possessed. The initial apprehension melted away as he navigated complex projects, honing his analytical skills and strategic thinking with every step. Client interactions, once daunting, became platforms for him to showcase his newfound expertise, the fear of senior figures replaced by a genuine desire to contribute and learn. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, Oliver transformed. Presentations that once sparked anxiety now became opportunities to lead with conviction, his voice resonating with authority and clarity. Watching Oliver navigate the company with newfound poise and confidence served as a tangible testament to BCG's power to unlock potential.

However, Oliver's story is not just about one individual's experience at BCG: it's a testament to the transformative power of an inclusive workplace. BCG, beyond superficial gestures, has created a culture where diverse identities are celebrated, not ostracised. It's a space where individuals like Oliver, and countless others, can shed the anxieties of belonging and reach their full potential. His voice, amplified by his experiences, serves as a beacon of hope for young LGBTQ+ professionals seeking not just a job, but a workplace where they can thrive authentically and contribute meaningfully.

 

Oliver’s experience at BCG shows the importance of an inclusive workplace culture, allowing young queer professionals to thrive in their roles. This should be used as a template for other businesses to create an inclusive culture, ensuring they are both attracting and retaining diverse talent.

 

Published Online: 2/10/2023

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