Finding the Joy of Being Genuine
Georga Waldron, IT Product Manager
It took me a while to learn that with happiness comes success.
Let me start at the beginning of this journey. I came to the U.S. from Costa Rica when I was around 8 years old because my parents wanted to give my sister and I a better life. Around the age of 12 I knew I loved a different gender and I wanted to share who I was with my parents. However, because of their traditional views I was not accepted. I crawled back into my shell and hid who I really was for a long period of time.
And that’s where Pride Month first made a difference for me. I remember being in high school and sneaking out to NYC to watch the Pride parade. I remember putting on all my rainbow accessories I had hidden at home, for this one day out of the year. I remember seeing all of the teens and adults marching - I remember their faces and how happy they looked, how free they looked. I yearned to one day be just like them.
Fast forward to my early 20s, I had just started working in the corporate, tech world. As a Latina woman, I felt like I had to hide my culture and work harder to deem myself worthy. I was unhappy but little by little I started learning to accept myself, learning to be more confident in how I am in the workplace.
I came to Palo Alto Networks in January. The decision to accept the offer wasn’t a difficult one. The people who interviewed me were amazing and radiated that inclusivity and genuineness that I have been searching for. My team and my colleagues know my identity and they have never said anything that makes me feel uncomfortable or judged, which I absolutely am super grateful for.
Once I knew Palo Alto Networks had a LGBTQIA+ Employee Network Group, I knew I had to be a part of it. I could have just been a supporting member, but with this new courage I now had, I applied to be part of their leadership team.
The LGBTQIA+ Leadership Team accepted my application and gave me the opportunity to be the lead for Marketplace (External Branding/Business Growth). So far, I have been able to share experiences, laugh out loud and collaborate with all the other LGBTQIA+ leads and members.
I have seen their passion and willingness to roll up their sleeves to get work done. Planning for Pride Month has been my very first experience with the group and I am so happy that it’s at Palo Alto Networks with its amazing and welcoming group of people.
It has been a journey to get where I am today but I can honestly say I am my happiest, most confident self. Although there's more growing for me to do, I have learned to speak up if something makes me uncomfortable, to quit the job if I don’t feel valued, and to never think twice about choosing my mental/physical health first.
Today, I get to choose happiness. I get to be myself. I get to show all of the colors in my rainbow.
Kisha Clark, Manager, Technical Customer Support As a leader for Ujima (Black) and for the LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Groups (or ENGs, as we call them), I have been given the opportunity to speak about my journey as a gay black woman in the…
One of the key quotes that comes to mind for me this month is: "She remembered who she was and the game changed." I think reflecting on being a young girl and growing into the woman I am today, I've always tried to fit in, be accommodating, and in…