Bring your authentic self to work – it’s a simple request we ask all of our people when they join #LifeAtATT, and for good reason. From building families to supporting nationwide social movements, authenticity has acted as a catalyst for incredible change. It’s a great career move too – who can perform at their best when they can’t be themselves?

To see what it means to bring your authentic self, we asked leaders within our teams how doing so has made an impact for them. These are the stories they’ve shared.

Jen Britton

Assistant Vice President, AT&T National Business

When did you know you could bring your authentic self to work?

I realized I could bring my authentic self to work, ironically, when I moved to Dallas. I worked for a boss who cared about me, both professionally and personally. It made it very easy for me to open up and be my true authentic self. I’ve also realized throughout my career here that when you bring your authentic self to work, you bring more to the job that you’re in and you’re a better employee overall. You feel confident about who you are as a person and what you can bring to the table here.

What does equality first mean to you?

To me equality first means that all human beings are treated equally. That we don’t allow our biases to enter into any decisions that we make and that all people are evaluated based on their skillset and the things they bring to the table and not based on ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender.

Why Join AT&T?

The people. We have great customers. There are awesome people you can work with here in every area of our business and it’s the people who made my career so fulfilling and rewarding. For me, that’s #LifeAtATT.

Lorenzo Bennett

Senior Business Manager for Employee Development

When did you know you could bring your authentic self to work?

I realized I could bring my authentic self to work when I started to see more people who looked like me and shared my experiences. At that point I knew AT&T was not only a great place to work, but also a place I could call home.

What does equality first mean to you?

To me, equality first means being fully aware and accountable of all people and how our work impacts their identity, their family and their community each day.

Why Join AT&T?

AT&T gives me a lot of opportunities to sharpen my skills to the next level. That means management, presentation, networking, even technology skills. Whatever you’re looking for to advance your career, AT&T has it and I’m on a team that will help you get there!

Rick Gomez

Vice President for Human Resources at AT&T

When did you know you could bring your authentic self to work?

I knew I could bring my full authentic self to work when I quickly realized the sense of inclusion and the sense of community we have at AT&T. Everyone has the ability to truly reach their unlimited potential and succeed here, regardless of who they are.

This is why I’ve stayed here for over 24 years. I truly feel I do not have to separate my work persona from my personal persona and can bring my full self every day. I feel very fortunate that I found my husband at AT&T, that I have this sense of community with my colleagues who have supported me along the way.

What does equality first mean to you?

To me, equality means that we all stand for ensuring that each and every one of us has an opportunity to be treated equally, and fairly, regardless of who you are. For me, equality means that we are all better, together.

Ginger Chien

Device Architect

When did you know you could bring your authentic self to work?

I realized I could bring myself to work when I heard this comment from someone I ran into the hallways shortly after I came out. They said: “I wish I had your courage.”

What that tells me is that, this is not a place of judgement. It’s not a place of feeling uncomfortable with other people. It’s a place where we respect each other’s individuality, we respect each other’s courage. We are willing to be in an emotional place where we can see it and honor it.

What that does is it creates a lot of safety. I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but I see it more and more as I look. I feel it more and more as each day goes by that this is a place where my whole self is encouraged and celebrated and where I want to do the same for others. This is a place where it’s safe to bring my authentic self to work.

Learn More About Ginger’s Story

Michael J Colaneri

Vice President Global Business Services

When did you know you could bring your authentic self to work?

Truth be told, I realized I could bring my authentic self to work once I let down my guard. I’ve been conditioned from a young age to armor myself in an attempt to avoid ridicule and other judgements. Getting older taught me that keeping people out accomplishes just that.

When I started to realize that anyone’s judgement didn’t matter, anyone who had a problem with who I truly am in fact had their own problem, not mine. I grew free to just be myself then. None of us need to conduct ourselves in any compromised way so that others can accept us. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to live that truth, but any other compromised truth also compromises the whole spirit we have to offer as humans.

It took a long time to build up my guard, just as long to break it all back down again. Once I did, everything got better. Authenticity for me became fuller once I stopped being less than who I am for the sake of someone else’s comfort.

What does equality first mean to you?

Equality first has meant for me being the most freeing and open-minded spirit I can be. I love people, all people. Having lived through my own oppressive experiences I don’t think I’ve become oversensitive, but I certainly look at people through a different lens. Making anyone and everyone feel interesting and important isn’t difficult if you’re equally present with all people. When everyone is fully engaged, every situation is more fulfilling.

Why Join AT&T?

There is nothing more dull than ambiguous uniformity. If everyone looks, acts, thinks and agrees the same then only one of us is really thinking. Curiosity and insatiable variety keeps things dynamic, perpetual, and it’s hard to get bored in constant change. We work in an industry of constant change and it’s not just the technology that’s changing.

For me, it’s best to live and breathe constant change. To feel like a true participant in our trajectory. I want to be accountable as a contributor, and that’s a lot of how people act and feel in my experience at AT&T.

A diverse environment full of the freedom to invent and create, surrounded by great and energetic people: I call that my AT&T. That’s why this is a great place to work.

Learn More About our LGBTQ+ Community