When Jeff Bohnen, DIALOG Studio Administrator, was deciding to make a move in his career, a conversation with a friend and former DIALOGer made him feel assured as a member of the LGBTQ2+ community, he would find a sense of belonging here.
“A testimonial from a previous employee speaks very highly about the culture and work environment of a company,” says Jeff. “And with Denise knowing me as well as she did, I felt pretty comfortable in the knowledge that DIALOG must be a pretty good place to work. I wasn’t wrong.”
“With DIALOG, it all fell into place quite nicely for me. But there were times before DIALOG when I considered it crucial to separate work life from personal life, for fear of revealing too much.”
Reflecting on the nuances specific to generational differences, Jeff highlights how the struggles of those in the LGBTQ2+ community who came before him have made it possible to experience the acceptance he has described.
“Sure, for younger generations who have felt empowered to authentically be who they are from a very early age, and for whom lines between work life and personal life often blur, it’s largely a non-issue. But it’s murkier for many of us who are part of an older generation, the first generation bestowed with same-sex benefits and marriage equality. We are the generation that stands on the shoulders of those who went before us: those who suffered the humiliation of being fired, getting diagnosed as mentally ill, and thrown in jail. Sure, the dark ages of persecution and punishment have been over in Canada for quite some time. Still, when that’s what you know as truth from the generation immediately preceding yours, it shapes a context and lived experience that makes it difficult to break out of old roles and let go of long-held insecurities about who we are allowed to be in the workplace. Or, more specifically, who we allow ourselves to be.”
Nearly three years into his career at DIALOG, Jeff remarks “I benefit from the power of connection with really talented colleagues. I feel alignment with our why. I am honoured to contribute to great design. I am proud to be an employee of DIALOG, which identifies Diversity as one of our core values, and actively seeks to hear from those with different lived experiences. For me, Pride takes many forms, but few as powerful as that afforded by the opportunity to be my authentic self at a workplace that I help shape every day.”