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      June 07, 2021

      I feel comfortable being “out” at Continental

      Matt Carter joined Continental in November 2019 as Compensation Analyst in Human Relations at our Tire the Americas Headquarters. He shares what it’s like to be a LGBTQ+ member at Continental, what Pride Month means to him, and the power that Employee Resource Groups can have on a workplace’s culture.

       

      I moved to Charlotte to follow my partner’s job. We lived in Kingsport, Tenn., and had been looking for roles in the Charlotte area. Continental was one of the first roles I found that was in the field of work that I like doing and that I was pursuing. I really liked the brand already, I’m a big car advocate.  

      I’d worked in the HR space before, so I was aware of a lot of employer reviews like Glassdoor that are flags for company culture. I was looking at a lot of them in the Charlotte area and Continental had a lot of high marks compared to other companies. That was a really big thumbs up for me, being someone who’s gay and living in the south, I was looking for a company that had a very forward-thinking and welcoming culture.

      I feel comfortable being “out” at Continental. If anyone ever asks me, I never hesitate to tell them. If somebody assumes, I have a wife, I always feel comfortable being able to correct them and tell them that I have a partner. I’ve never had an instance at Continental where I felt like I couldn’t say that. The company is really pro-active and always looking for more ways to help everyone bring their full, authentic self to work. That’s what I like about being in Human Relations – you’re doing a job that touches the livelihoods of the people working alongside you. It feels good to work hard and have a positive impact on those people. I’m motivated to do my job well, so that others are motivated to do their jobs well, too. What I enjoy most about my role is that I feel like it really makes a difference for people.

      Even if one person is able to come out sooner than they would have, that leads to better productivity and just feeling more authentic. One thing that people who aren’t gay don’t think about is if you’re in the closet, you have to think about what you’re saying. It can increase stress. You don’t feel as connected to other employees. When you can just let that down and feel free to say, “I’m doing this with my partner – me and him or he and I” – and you don’t have to think about it, it cuts out a lot of mental red tape.

      On that note, I’m excited to be part of Continental’s new regional LGBTQ Employee Resource Group when it launches. I have a huge passion for what Employee Resource Groups can do. Honestly, any level of involvement that brings together people in that support structure is good. If at any point you’re thinking about joining any of these ERGs, do it. It’s just an opportunity to be exposed to more people who are open to something.

      To me, Pride Month means really being proud about being you – anybody can celebrate. Living in the South, the misconception is it’s only about being proud and being gay. But it’s for everybody. If you go to an event, everyone there is encouraging everyone to come. You don’t have to be in a certain category to be proud and authentic. If you’re part of the LGBTQ community and looking for a new job, I would recommend you prioritize what I prioritized.

      Look for a company that allows you to be your full, authentic self. There are plenty of sources online, from Glassdoor to Fairygodboss, that can point you in the right direction.

       

      This article was written by our employee.

      Matt Carter

      Compensation analyst, Human Resources

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