Out and Equal – Exceeding my Expectations

By Luciano Davidson

Being openly gay at IBM has always felt so natural and transparent that it’s just one of those things you don’t give a second thought to. I still remember the day I came out at work. It was a very casual conversation over coffee with my first manager about how our weekends went and how I told him about dinner and a movie I had with my boyfriend. It was only after the conversation that I realized I had just formally come out at work.

At the Gala Night out – The team made some noise

I am now an openly gay manager to a large group of people and this sort of transparency and being able to just be myself allows me to really connect with my team and my peers and managers. This is the best proof of how inclusive our work culture and work environment is. It’s not forced, it’s just a part of the very fabric that connects us all at IBM. It’s in our core.

We had sessions from some truly amazing speakers and we took a break to stay hydrated.

Last October I got to live one of the greatest experiences in my professional life with IBM. I was invited to the Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Orlando, Florida together with a couple of dozen peers from all over the world, spanning lots of different business units, hosted at nothing less than Disney World. You can imagine how thrilled I was and how high my expectations were.

The Gala on Friday, an amazing closure to an amazing experience – We tried being serious and this was the result.

The entire event was beyond my expectations. I got to experience panels and discussions on topics that were very close to me: like the attack on the Pulse nightclub which struck a cord with me and made me realize that hate is still very much alive, and strengthened my resolve to do my part to contribute. I also wanted to focus on outreach beyond IBM, as there’s a lot to be done outside our company, in our community and countries – and I got lots of ideas and inspiration to start working on that.

Team IBM looking sharp!!!

Beyond the conference itself, it was amazing to meet so many out peers from all over the world. Our day to day work can sometimes make us lose perspective, so meeting people working on so many challenging and exciting stuff like Watson Research or our Cloud and Mobile initiatives really reminded me of the tremendous depth and breadth of IBM and how it truly is a place with no boundaries for growth and opportunity. From meeting them I’ve gotten inspired and even invited to collaborate on some projects – something that I’m really looking forward to.

Luciano is a data management manager with IBM Argentina.

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