Your Initial Learnings/Experiences:
I remember two pieces of advice received at the outset of my career:
1. Always focus on being the best in your field/line of work: that way everything you achieve will be based on your ability to deliver rather than because you fit in a mould.
2. You won't always like everyone you work with, but your ability to get on with them professionally, will define you. These two have been my guiding posts in driving my career forward.
Obstacles Faced By The LGBTQI Community In The Country And Strategies Used To Address These Challenges:
It really depends on the country. I have worked across Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America. Europe and North America are much more progressive so the barriers are less (but there are barriers nonetheless). In Asia and the Middle East, cultural and religious nuances and taboos result in people not being able to live their lives quite so openly. If you cannot bring 100% of yourself to work, family or society as a whole, then you are never really fulfilled. Broadly speaking, across all the regions, religious, cultural, political and social beliefs are often the key barriers. A key strategy to overcoming these barriers is in Education. Educating individuals that same gender relationships are as normal as traditional relationships. They pose no threat. Educating society that the love two people of the same gender have for each other is just as special, perfect and normal as the traditional. And brands can play a big role in educating society by depicting these scenarios in their creative advertising etc. If you are able to see same gender relationships on mainstream TV, then by default, same gender relationships become mainstream.
Working With Diverse Cultures Within The US Minorities And Diverse Cultures From Other Nations:
There are two ways to look at this. On one hand, yes. You need to understand cultural nuances and sensitivities of the communities you engage with.
Their approach to LGBTQ+ and ethnic minority issues will be incredibly different. Understand these differences will provide you better cultural context on how to handle sensitive situations, delicately and effectively. On the other hand, you cannot provide different standards of equality to different communities. On the other hand, you cannot provide different standards of equality to different communities. The challenge is to bring all the differences onto an equal plain. The moment we begin to segregate communities, is when it all falls apart. We will simply be pandering to the fact that silo communities need to be kept in silos. The biggest challenge we have is for walls to be broken down between communities and equality to be front and center, in true equal form. Which means treating, respecting and responding to every individual as equals, no matter what the background or differences are.
Words Of Wisdom:
I work in an integrated agency and head up all business development activity across advertising, PR, social, content, digital, media and more). Two words of wisdom worth sharing, which repeat what I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
1. Always focus on being the best in your field/line of work that way everything you achieve will be based on your ability to deliver rather than because you fit a mould, or need to fill a quota. Organizations cannot deny you when you are an (over)achiever. They need and want you. They may not reward you justly, but they will need you. And when you are an overachiever, you at least have some negotiating power.
2.You may not always like everyone you work with, it's just a fact of life. But having a high emotional intelligence/quotient, gives you the ability to navigate relationships with discernment and tact and most importantly, with humanity.