Sara didn’t have a definitive career path in mind when she graduated, but joining an inclusive company whose values matched hers was an important consideration. She shares her experience:
I joined Enterprise six months ago. Fresh out of university, the Enterprise Graduate Management Training Programme welcomed me into my first full-time position since graduating from Coventry University with a Languages for International Business with Spanish degree.
Throughout University, I never really had a definitive idea of what I wanted to do after I graduated. At university I was able to create a comfortable and safe environment, surrounding myself with people from similar backgrounds and life experiences. When it came to applying for my first career role, I wanted to make sure my new employer would be as supportive of me as my friendship group were during my time at university.
When researching graduate roles, I stumbled upon Enterprise’s Graduate Programme. Within a couple of clicks, I noticed that Enterprise were included in the ‘Times Top 50 Employers for Women’, and had been for the past 15 years. Seeing this proudly displayed so widely on their social media channels really attracted me to the role. As a gay woman and a strong feminist, who has always been surrounded by strong female figures, this gave me a sense of conviction and reassurance with my decision to apply. Recognising this celebration of women in the workplace by a globally successful organisation really took me aback. Unfortunately, inequality in the workplace still exists. However, seeing that Enterprise has received awards and are renowned for their inclusivity as an organisation removed any anxiety I was feeling about taking that step into full-time employment.
By being openly queer, you never stop coming out. Whether it be referring to your girlfriend or having to subtly correct someone who asks if you have a boyfriend – dropping the “G-BOMB” does come with its anxieties. When I was introduced to the brand’s core values it only re-affirmed what I had found while researching the company. I distinctly remember sitting down with Chris – my HR representative, and him asking me what my 5-year career plan was. He made me feel so at ease that I didn’t even attempt to disguise my long-term relationship with my girlfriend. With no hesitation, Chris went on to openly refer to my girlfriend in our conversations and even went on to tell me about the opportunities of getting involved with the Enterprise LGBTQ+ community. How thrilled I was to find out that Enterprise actively supports all LGBTQ+ communities by taking part in most UK PRIDE marches and charitable events throughout the year. Although in no way am I ashamed of my sexuality, I feel sometimes it is easy to feel apprehensive about people’s reactions. Will this hinder my relationship with my colleagues? Will this affect my career progression? Without a doubt, Enterprise have shown me what an inclusive and diverse employer they are, with equal opportunities at the forefront of their business model. They know that employees who are their true self at work are more likely to succeed.
Over the last six months, Enterprise have repeatedly relieved any anxieties I had about being openly gay in the workplace. One role model I have within the company is a colleague who currently holds the position of Assistant Manager. Not only has she excelled within the company up to this point, but she is also an “out and proud” gay woman who is a part of the various LGBTQ+ committees within Enterprise. From the beginning, not only has she always provided me with guidance and encouragement with my career, but she has also welcomed me on several occasions to give my opinion and advice around topics within the LGBTQ+ community.
I can honestly say that it’s thanks to Enterprise’s inclusive working environment that I can be my true self at work. And each and every day that I can be my true self at work makes it easier to excel at my job, and take a step closer to achieving my career goals. Thanks to Enterprise I’m even prouder to be a gay woman.
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