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How LGBTQ+ Leaders Can Market Themselves and Their Unique Assets

Welcome to Breaking the Blueprint — a blog series that dives into the unique business challenges and opportunities of underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn how they’ve grown or scaled their businesses, explored entrepreneurial ventures within their companies, or created side hustles, and how their stories can inspire and inform your own success.

Employers in today’s global marketplace want leaders who are adaptive, passionate, innovative, and critical thinkers.

The key for LGBTQ+ professionals is to not see their career growth as a daunting task where they have to become something they are not.

Instead, with a little bit of cultural self-esteem, individual rebranding, and Queer moxy, LGBTQ+ professionals can position themselves as the perfect candidates and catalysts for moving any organization forward.

How LGBTQ+ Leaders Can Market Themselves and Their Unique Assets

1. Build Cultural Self-Esteem

Before LGBTQ+ professionals can market themselves externally, we have to market ourselves internally to generate an enduring, unflappable, and healthy self-image of who we are as Queer people. To underline our strengths and create a positive self-concept as an LGBTQ+ person, we should do the following:

Release internalized Queerphobia.

Internalized phobia occurs when a group internalizes the negative messages and stigmatization it receives from society.

Unquestionably, the LGBTQ+ community has faced its share of bias…Yet, when we harbor internal messages that devalue our cultural pedigree and individual worth, it becomes difficult to achieve our goals when dynamic opportunities present themselves. For these reasons, we must protect our cultural image and boost our level of pride to market ourselves effectively.

Study LGBTQ+ history.

If we become students of history, we can find countless examples of “everyday” LGBTQ+ people who do miraculous things despite overwhelming odds.

The annals of history provide beautiful examples of how Queer historical figures have been resourceful, dogged, and creative in achieving everything from the miraculous to the mundane. When LGBTQ+ people look to Queer role models for inspiration and guidance, they will be motivated to market themselves in strategic and unabashed ways.

Honor the healing Journey.

In a world that still stigmatizes Queer culture, many LGBTQ+ people may find themselves negotiating trauma, emotional wounds, or a nagging sense of “unworthiness.”

However, the lasting legacy of the Queer community is not of pain or oppression but triumph over tragedy. As Queer people, we have the right to heal and forgo the pain of the past to reach our professional aspirations.

Before anyone else can afford us the opportunity to be self-actualized, we must give ourselves grace, freedom, and latitude to be great. Once we do that, we can engineer outcomes that align with our values and professional purpose.

2. Practice a Cultural Rebranding

Once we see our Queerness as a strength instead of a limitation, we can recognize LGBTQ+ cultural genius and use it to advance our careers.

CulturalGenius™ is the leadership acumen that minority groups acquire by virtue of their cultural pathway. Once LGBTQ+ people minimize internalized Queerphobia, honor their cultural legacy, and give themselves permission to be great, they can appreciate the gifts they’ve accumulated along the journey.

From my ethnographic research, I identified several superpowers that align with the needs of a complex and dynamic world. The following three examples illustrate how Queer people can market themselves more intentionally and showcase their Queerness as a strength as opposed to a liability.

Creativity: Queer people exhibit creativity in everything from personal presentation and linguistics to art and social mapping. This proclivity speaks to a novel approach to problem-solving that can help organizations embrace innovation.

Non-binary thinking: Queer people reject rigid norms related to gender, which also helps Queer people to be disruptive when organizations have difficulty letting go of outdated paradigmatic thinking. The Queer persona can help any enterprise think outside the box and employ new mental models for addressing organizational issues.

Interconnectedness: As champions for diversity and inclusion and architects for community building, Queer people have a penchant for supporting multicultural environments and nurturing safe spaces. Studies show that employees are happier and more productive when they feel connected to their peers and workplaces. As a result, LGBTQ+ professionals have a competitive edge when they highlight their cultural ability to break down silos, enliven interpersonal engagement, and create a sense of belonging.

Over to You

This asset-based approach to LGBTQ+ professional development can transform Queer job seeking from one-sided affairs in which prospective employers have all the appeal to empowered campaigns where LGBTQ+ candidates reiterate their full self-worth.

As LGBTQ+ people, we can use this to highlight our leadership capability if we reframe how we see ourselves and re-fashion how others can leverage our skill sets. By seeing our cultural experience and journey as a proving ground for leadership development, LGBTQ+ people can market their unique talents, enhance their career opportunities, and accelerate their career growth.

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