Second interview of the mygwork series #IamOutatWork, Jim Holmes, Clyde & Co
Jim Holmes is a Senior Equity Partner at Clyde & Co in the Los Angeles, California office. However, his practice takes him all across the country.
Have you always been out at work? How important is to be out at work?
I have always been "out" at work. On a very personal level, I am comfortable with myself and who and what I am. Part of that is being honest about myself to others. Also, I really do not have the time or energy to try and hide my sexual orientation or to try and remember different stories about myself depending on the audience. Finally, I think it is important for others to see that a senior attorney is proud, confident and honest about their orientation and that one can be successful and be out at the same time.
Please, tell is about your coming(s) out. Have you ever had an especially good/bad experience because of your sexual orientation at home, university or at work? Which one(s)?
For the most part, it was never a dramatic or traumatic event. My family was always supportive and welcoming to me and my friends (and have often commented on how much they liked my then boyfriend). I was very fortunate given both the times (the 1980s) and where society was in dealing with sexual orientation. I was and remain comfortable with myself and long ago decided that I would not and should not be less than honest about who I am.
How does your organization support and empower its LGBT+ employees?
As with anything, support and empowerment is an on-going process. Allowing and recognizing the quality of an individual is not limited or reduced by inherent characteristics (gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc.) but continued to evolve and is always getting better.
Do you feel coming out can encourage other to come out? Has this happened to you and your colleagues? How Unity LGBT+ network can help foster LGBT+ inclusion in your workplace?
Being (or coming) out provides an example and leadership to others. As the expression goes, I do not mind being the first, but I would prefer to be the first of many. It also creates a better and more diverse workplace which encourages the highest quality in others. I do not know enough about Unity LGBT + to comment on how it can help foster LGBT + inclusion in my workplace. But, any support, whether from other LGBT people or groups or strong and consistent allies, always helps.
In your opinion, how can an organization and its clients profit from a diverse workforce?
Diversity will always lead to better analysis and better service to clients. I am a better attorney because those I work with are not "just like me." We all bring our own perspective to a problem and present different alternatives to resolution. Appreciating and incorporating those different perspectives will always make for a better result.
What advice would you give the younger generations of LGBT+ people looking to get started in the industry?
Be confident in yourself and those around you. Be honest about yourself and you may be pleasantly surprised how supporting others are and how they will appreciate your honesty. And, just in case you were wondering, most people have probably figured "it" out anyway!
More and more organizations want their employees to bring their whole self to work. Would you consider working for an organization that does not?
I would not want to be part of any entity or organization that would want me to lie or conceal my sexual orientation.
Do you check the Diversity and Inclusion policies of an organization and same-sex partner benefits before considering working for an organization? Why?
Absolutely. If I plan on being a part and giving as much as I can, I need to know that who and what I am is part of the conversation. If more work is needed on those diversity and inclusion policies, I must commit to improving those policies and being part the solution.