It’s Pride Month! While we celebrate diversity and authenticity every day at Veracity, our founder and CEO, Angela Hurt, shares how the Pride movement, and the diverse businesses and organization that support it, make communities more positive and inclusive for all.
When launching Veracity in 2006, I noticed that in the Kansas City market specifically, there was an increasing demand for businesses to leverage the expertise and technical solutions from more diverse suppliers, such as a woman-owned entity. I felt it was our niche and I quickly jumped on the opportunity to stand out as one of a few women-owned consultancies in this space.
However, I can’t say the same when it comes to my LGBT identity. For years I hid behind it, afraid that my clients, friends or peers would judge me or that it would cause discrimination—whether intentional or unbiased. I wasn’t being my authentic self, and it wasn’t until a few clients called me out on it. One client—who is also a good friend—literally said, “You know everything about me, my family and more; yet I don’t know anything about you.”
I started to open up more, becoming more comfortable and truly embracing who I am. Despite this, I was still afraid to get Veracity an LGBT certification. I feared businesses may turn us down because of this. In fact, it wasn’t until the “Don’t ask; don’t tell” policy ended in 2011 that I took a more affirmative stance.
There was so much commentary about the sunsetting of this policy—both positive and negative—that I felt it was time for me, and therefore Veracity, to have a voice in, show our support for, and stand with our LGBT community. It was scary and a bit unsettling, but I am so thankful I took the stance.
Today, as a woman-owned, LGBT-owned and Native American-owned business, I feel immense pride not just about my journey, but the journey of those who comprise our entire team in Kansas City and beyond. We honor and celebrate our diverse personalities, identities, backgrounds and ideas, which creates a place of belonging, inclusion, safety and comfort. We encourage each other to be our authentic selves, which breeds a positive culture and work environment without judgement, hatred and discrimination. And we extend these ideals and values beyond Veracity, helping to create a more positive and inclusive community for all.
I’m proud to be a part of this new generation of diversity-owned businesses. I’m proud to lead a team of creatives, business leaders, technologists, change makers, data nerds, musicians, foodies, beer lovers, LGBTers, advocates, and problem solvers. I’m proud to be LGBT and I’m proud to live in a community where we celebrate others’ success, no matter what.
As the saying goes, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” After all, it’s Pride Month; so, let’s be PROUD of who we are.