The acceptance of homosexuality in the business world is similar to the way the sector adopts new technology – with the tendency to lag behind everyone else.
These days when a politician, TV presenter, celebrity, musician or actor comes out of the closet it barely makes headline news, because as a society we have rightly come a long way in accepting homosexuality as normal, particularly in the last 2 years during which time our generation have been lucky enough to be part of the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
Events like the Icon Awards and Pride Glasgow are a great way to celebrate how far we as a society have come in accepting homosexuality and acknowledging the success and achievements of people within the LGBTI community. If you follow myself or pcr on social media you might already know that I am hoping to win the Icon Award for Business Person of the Year, so I thought I should let you know a bit about me in return.
In the corporate world there are still some stigmas attached to being gay; even until very recently, 2014, when Apple boss Tim Cook shared the fact that he is gay, there had never been an openly homosexual CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Thankfully, since then we have seen a lot more openly homosexual industry leaders and directors come out, which proves that with time even the business world can slowly but surely reach the same pace of acceptance we have in today’s society.
Business is a tricky thing for everyone – we don’t know how the market will react to our product or service, we’re unsure whether the bank will lend to us or not, we can’t guarantee that we are going to get the right people to work in our team – these variables we know are the same for us all, regardless of sexuality.
And as like many minority groups you can unfortunately encounter backward attitudes or even discrimination from people you meet in business, but I have to say on the whole my experience of being a gay CEO and business owner has done nothing to hinder my success. I would even go as far to say it has only given me more confidence and determination to achieve my business goals and always strive for success.
I’ve been in business since I was 13, I came out when I was 19 the same year I took the decision to form a limited company and open my first repair centre. I truly believe the best way to do business is by being yourself. But it says a lot for how much attitudes have changed that I have, at times, experienced more discrimination due to my age in business rather than my sexuality.
A bit about me…
When I was 13 I wasn’t happy with the typical teenager job. I spent a few months of my life delivering dairy products door-to-door, and I made around £10 per week. Slave labour or what?
It was my mother’s suggestion that I should fix computers for people in our local area since I was already doing this for our family. So, on the 18th March 2004 I paid for our very first shop window advert and the first customer came along.
11 years on and I have set up and sold my first company, now focussing on my second in pcr and I won’t stop there.
I have been very lucky to have received a string of awards and made it to the finals in other cases from about the age of 19 onwards, including PSYBT Regional Award Winner and National Award Finalist 2011 and Renfrewshire’s Chamber of Commerce Young Business Person of the Year 2012.
Now with some experience, I’m keen to show that you can achieve your goals if you have the right mindset, no matter your age or your sexuality. I volunteer with Young Enterprise Scotland as a Non-Executive Director for YES Works and with the Princes Trust as a Youth Business Scotland Ambassador.
It would mean a great deal to me to win an Icon Award for Business Person of the Year because I feel passionately about it what they stand for and want to inspire other young gay people – you can read more about the awards in our previous blog here.
Voting closes on Friday 11 September and the main event takes place on October 9th at the Crowne Plaza.
Voting is quick and easy, just visit the voting page and type the name of the person you wish to nominate, the category I am going for is Business Person of the Year.
Thank you for reading.
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