February, 2010

Out in the Workplace!

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Out in the workplace Panel @ ECC Do Seattle companies measure up to the city’s liberal reputation? Last Tuesday night, the Ethnic Cultural Center hosted a panel on the queer (or not) friendly environments of several Puget Sound workplaces, not excluding the University of Washington. Other organizations included Amazon, Adobe, Tacoma School District, and Pacific Medical Centers. Panelists D.A. Clements, Nan Leiter, Jill Seidenstein, David Sumerlin, and Thomas Yetman contributed their perspectives. 

What was the verdict? Turns out our corporations, for the most part, do live up to the cities gay-friendly image with domestic partner benefits, non-discrimination policies, and open-minded employees. Highlights: 

1. Before seeking employment, did you research the company culture to specifically understand their stand on sexual orientation? If so, what resources did you use to research?

 a. Numerous panelists utilized hrc.org, the website for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay and transgender civil rights organization that promotes equal rights in the workplace and community.

2. How do you navigate cultural differences when they arise in the workplace? And by cultural differences I mean the different life experiences held as queer versus straight?

Jill: Not an issue at Amazon. The real problem arises within the queer community itself. There is a lot of misguided animosity and impatience within our environment towards the straight community.

Nan: I’ve had to suppress aspects of myself to conform to the “norm” image. However, people will listen to you more if you’re professional rather than radical.

3. Have you experienced harassment at the workplace?

Nan: Not outright harassment. Rather, I find I don’t have that automatic trust from those other teachers who come from the “straight with kids” lifestyle.

David: I have in past positions, yes. But I find that it also helps to diffuse harassment if you’re out and proud.

A common theme permeated the night: respect. My favorite quote from the evening was “Being out is a manifestation of respect for yourself and your interactions with others.” The panelists made the point that “living out is a political statement.” What statement will we make at Foster? In our futures? Our generation, generation y, is pegged as one that embraces diversity—we were a driving force behind the election of America’s first African American president. Let’s continue to live up to that image, both at Foster and in our future careers, in promoting the rights of all our diverse peers.

-Elizabeth Comley (Senior, Marketing & International Business)

Insider Tour at Safeco Field

Monday, February 1st, 2010
Certificate of International Studies Japanese Track on the field

Certificate of International Studies Japanese Track on the field

Students at the Press Box

Students at the Press Box

On the afternoon of Friday, 22nd of January, 2010, a group of 50 Michael G. Foster School of Business students (including over 25 CISB students) had the opportunity to visit Safeco Field for a meet-and-greet with the team—not the one on the field, but the businessmen and businesswomen who run the company. The visit was jam-packed with insightful Q&A sessions and expert stadium tours. Our gracious hosts—Mr. Gregg Greene (Director of Marketing, UW ’95), Ms. Ingrid Russell-Narcisse (Director of Corporate Business, UW ’88), and Mr. Ken Barron (Interpreter of Ichiro Suzuki, UW CISB ‘03)—gave us the insider tour including the press box, the visitor’s clubhouse, and the field itself.

The highlight of the visit was the Q&A session with our hosts. All three were able to discuss exactly how they rose to their current positions and their path to success. They also stressed the importance of internships and a hard work ethic. Mr. Greene’s story was particularly interesting as it turns out that he originally began his career at the Mariners by helping out a friend who did DJ work for the team. It shows just how important networking is.

All of us would like to thank our gracious hosts again for this great experience—it was an amazing event and we hope that those who missed out can also get the opportunity to see the inside operations of Safeco Field in the future.

- Satomi Wakana (Sophomore, Accounting)
CISB Japanese Track