by J. Kevin Jones, Chief Development Officer, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates | At the start of 2008, I had reached a crossroads in my life. I knew that the time had come for me to leave the corporate world in order to pursue work that was directly tied to a mission about which I was passionate. I was frightened by the prospect of leaving a secure position where I was comfortably compensated and where I had an established track record of success. And, I was afraid that I would always regret it if I did not take a risk for something that was important to me. I chose to trust myself (with unbelievable support from my spouse and colleagues). And I have to confess that I was fortunate to be able to volunteer for a severance package at the time – a luxury that eased the process, without question.
Seven months later, I accepted a role at Out & Equal Workplace Advocates in San Francisco. I could not have asked for a better opportunity. I worked with Out & Equal as a volunteer (including a member of the Board) for nearly a decade. I was clearly passionate about the organization that Selisse Berry had grown to be an important part of the LGBT movement, and the chance to locate to the Bay Area and work full time with Selisse was all I that I could have hoped for when I began my search.
It is hard to believe that it has been four and a half years since! I have had the tremendous pleasure to work for LGBT workplace equality – in collaboration with a dedicated team of colleagues at Out & Equal and alongside dozens of LGBT leaders and allies at companies across the US (and beyond). I am very proud to be associated with this organization and its work. We have made wonderful progress to advance LGBT equality – and much exciting and challenging work remains.
And I find myself at another crossroad in my life’s journey. Among the unexpected discoveries in my relocation to California has been falling in love with Sonoma County – and Petaluma, in particular. My now husband Tony and I (thank you to the Perry and Windsor teams!) are building a life in our new community. Getting to know the community and be involved locally has become a priority for us. That commitment includes exploring the process to become licensed foster parents, in addition to supporting the efforts of local community organizations. It is an exciting time in our lives, and one that calls for taking a new risk.
As of August 15th, I will be leaving Out & Equal to pursue work that will keep me closer to Petaluma and reinforce my desire to invest my time locally (I will have more time to give without three hours of daily commuting…). I do not know what that looks like in terms of my professional career yet – but I once again am choosing to trust myself (with some praying) to figure it out. No doubt, I have more learning and new surprises in store.
Of course, moving on to this next chapter in my life is as exciting for me as it is sad. I will certainly miss the people with whom working is a privilege each and every day. I know that Out & Equal’s good work will continue because of your commitment. Thank you for everything that you have given to me by being a part of Out & Equal’s mission of LGBT workplace equality – whether we have had the chance to work together for years or for hours. I am truly grateful. You have my best wishes as each of us continues to make whatever piece of the world that we touch more equal.
I can always be found on Facebook – and definitely intend to stay connected.