Out & Equal exists to help LGBTQ people thrive at work, and to support organizations in creating better workplace culture where everyone feels like they belong. Both of those goals are supported by our partnership with the Korn Ferry Foundation in support of the Leadership U for Humanity program.

“Make the investment in yourself!”

Shaun Amabile (he/him) is a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion associate at BlackRock and graduated from Korn Ferry’s Leadership U. for Humanity program in Spring 2022. Currently, Shaun is a leader in OUT & Allies Employee Network at BlackRock, where has been involved in its LGBTQ+ efforts for over 5 years.

What drew you to Leadership U. for Humanity? Why did you decide to enroll?

What drew me to the Leadership U. for Humanity program was the leadership development, offering skills and coaching on how to grow as a LGBTQIA+ leader.

What was your experience like going through the program?

My experience going through the program was extremely invaluable. It really helped me to grow my confidence through self-talk and learn to get comfortable taking risks that I normally wouldn’t have. I also really enjoyed connecting and networking with other LGBTQIA+ leaders from around the United States.

What are some key lessons you’ve taken away from your time with LUFH?

I have really enjoyed learning about my own strengths, and how I can leverage them almost as superpowers. It also made me understand where I can stretch my skills further to make sure that I am growing as a leader.

What have you discovered about yourself as a professional throughout the program?

I learned that I actually had a lot of self-doubt and was holding myself back due to some difficult challenges faced in my career. This program allowed me to put those experiences behind me and continue to focus on my growth in owning my career and leadership.

Why is it important for you to be out in the workplace?

It’s really important for me to be out in the workplace so that I can bring my true self to work. I want to work at a place where I feel l belong, where I am valued, and respected. I wouldn’t be able to commit to my work with emotional ownership if I wasn’t able to be out. I also want to be a role model for other LGBTQ+ professionals. We need more representation and role models in the workplace.

Why is it important for you to be active in LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts?

We know of the many challenges that the LGBTQIA+ community faces both in the workplace and in society. It’s so important for us to work together to pave the way for the future generations in the way that previous generations have fought for us. I want to ensure that I am making an impact on the LGBTQ+ community at work and in society more broadly. We still have so much work to do, but I admire the progress we have made over time.

What have you taken away from your organization’s partnership with Out & Equal?

Our organization’s partnership with Out & Equal really demonstrates the commitment that the firm is making to LGBTQ+ professionals. Partnering with Out & Equal provides our professionals with a community of peers, professional development opportunities, and resources and tools for continued success.

What are your long-term career goals?

My long-term career goals are to find more opportunities for leadership, becoming a people manager and managing a team, helping others to grow, and ensuring growth and success in the organization I am a part of.

In what ways has being out at work progressed you towards these goals?

Being out at work has really helped me progress towards my career goals as I am able to bring my true self to work, which gives me the confidence to lead effectively.

What advice do you have for LGBTQ+ professionals who want to enroll in Leadership U for Humanity?

Make the investment in yourself! It’s not often to be a part of a leadership development program that is built specifically for the LGBTQ+ community.

What advice do you have for LGBTQ+ professionals in general?

We have so much work to do for ourselves, our organizations, and our community. Continue to believe in yourself, be kind to others, and make sure you are spending time working for an organization that values, respects, and appreciates you for you.