Following National Coming Out Day in the U.S. we talk to Danny Kiefer, Principal Auditor, Internal Audit for the Americas.
In the U.S. Gay marriage is legal. Gays can serve in the military. LGBTQ employees are also protected in the workplace from discrimination based on sex.
Why should anyone be afraid to be out at DWS or anywhere? For many in the LGBTQ community who serve in the financial services industry, and many other industries, it’s not as simple as that.
“I was worried about working in the financial services industry, which is still very conservative, and being out,” says Danny. “Many young people like me, may be out in college, but as soon as they start work, they go back into the closet.”
Fed up with not being able to bring his whole self to work, he helped start an LGBTQ group at Deutsche Bank, where he started his career. It was also how he came out.
“I wasn’t sure how to tell my colleagues that I was gay or how they were going to react,” said Danny. “But as soon as I told them, they were all incredibly supportive.”
Many of his colleagues even joined the LGBTQ group as allies. Danny said he never expected that and was moved by the level of encouragement he received. “It fuelled my passion to become an advocate for gay rights in the workplace.“
When he learned that DWS where he now works was starting an Employee Inclusion Network (EIN) and looking to start an LGBTQ Group, he immediately signed on to lead it. He asked Mark Cullen, Global Chief Operating Officer & CEO of DWS Americas, to serve as Executive Sponsor, and he wholeheartedly agreed.
DWSPride now has more than 50 members, is global in scope, with the plan to open up new chapters in Frankfurt and London. Danny is proud of the inclusive environment that DWSPride and the EINs are fostering at DWS. He is also a leader of the Employee Inclusion and Engagement Council in the Americas, which was created to give employees a voice in how the firm in the region is run.
“I want every young person no matter what industry they work in, to be able to bring their full self to work. It may be scary at first, but over the long term it will help you advance your career because you will be able to be your authentic self.”