By Robert Brennan
My husband, Chrys, and I moved to Florida almost four years ago from Washington, D.C. when he took a new job in Tampa. I had spent 15 years working in the government sector supporting various major IT software development initiatives in California for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State. These positions offered me a lot of job security and allowed me to be my true self at work. I was a bit apprehensive about my first corporate job because I wasn’t sure whether I would be accepted for who I am.
I didn’t need to worry for long.
Shortly after I started at WellCare, Chrys was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, my team had no problem with the fact that I was married to a wonderful man and, without hesitation, became my support system as I helped him in his life-or-death struggle with this horrible disease. To know that I could be by his side and have the backing of my company and my colleagues made the battle just a little bit easier and put new meaning to both the work we do and the fact that we are truly One Team.
Even though my colleagues accepted me, I still felt the need for a defined space to interact with my fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) colleagues. A safe place where we could share experiences, collaboratively find solutions to the challenges facing WellCare and talk about ways to improve our lives, both personally and professionally. Most importantly, a forum in which I could let other LGBTQ associates know that this is a great place to work and that we are supported.
With the launch of WellCare’s Associate Resource Groups (ARG) and the establishment of the LGBTQ ARG in late 2017, the final piece fell into place.
Our ARGs are truly amazing. In the short period since the ARGs were founded, we are seeing so much engagement and growth in our corporate culture. The sense of inclusion fostered by the ARGs have made this a great time to work for WellCare.
In fact, I’ve worked with a particular associate in my department since I started at WellCare. We’ve always had a good working relationship, and we talk often about our personal lives. Although we are of different sexual orientations, he has always been a great ally of mine.
As co-chair for the LGBTQ ARG, I’ve had a stack of pins celebrating WellCare’s support of June being Pride Month sitting on my desk for a couple weeks. I’ve been wearing mine proudly, hoping to inspire others to join. The other day, without prompting, he picked one up off my desk and pinned it onto his lapel. It truly meant the world to me to have one of my closest colleagues feel like we worked in such an inclusive environment that he could so outwardly show his support for me and our fellow LGBTQ associates.
I’m excited to work with our leadership and my fellow associates to help WellCare continue growing into a more diverse and inclusive workplace and to better serve our members, especially those in the LGBTQ community. I’m proud to be able to share this story with all of you, and I am thankful this Pride Month for our supportive leadership, who have taken so many amazing steps to ensure that WellCare always has PRIDE!
Robert Brennan is an ePMO project manager at WellCare and co-chair of the WellCare LGBTQ ARG