As a U.S. Navy veteran, James served under the “don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.
“That formative time in my professional life instilled in me an understanding of how detrimental it is to an organization when it disenfranchises any community of exceptional team members,” he said.
He now brings his full self to work at Lockheed Martin, volunteers with the PRIDE Business Resource Group and is the interim Vice President of the non-profit Out in National Security.
“Discrimination is the poison pill for mission effectiveness.”
“Unfortunately, while “don’t ask, don’t tell” is ended as policy, we continue to face challenges of personal acceptance for queer service members, and particularly struggle with the inclusion of and care for trans professionals,” James said.
For James, he sees inclusivity as essential to success.
“Teamwork is fundamental to our ethos, and we see value in unlocking and nurturing the potential of every contributor,” he said.
This month James wants to encourage leaders and allies to create an environment to talk about LGBTQIA+ issues at work.
“In my experience, the best way to encourage frank discussions comes from practicing transparency and open communication in the daily rhythm and sharing personal stories amongst colleagues concerning the trials and successes you’ve encountered during your professional journey,” James said.
“Shared experiences are a powerful tool when building workplace community, and we can often see ourselves in the stories of others even if the context differs.”