DIACC is hosting a series of spotlights showcasing, connecting, and empowering diversity within the DIACC membership. These spotlights will be hosted on diacc.ca and socialized through DIACC’s member and social network.
If you’re a DIACC member and would like us to feature your spotlight, contact us today to learn more!
Tell us about your career journey.
I started my career at a young age. I worked as a co-op student at Ontario’s Vehicle Sales Regulator, and at the end of my placement, I was hired as a full-time legal assistant. After two years in that role, I moved to a different department where I could enhance my people skills. I travelled around Ontario, conducting car-buying seminars for consumers and educational sessions for car dealerships. After six years in the regulator space focusing on education and communications, I moved to my current role at the Canadian Finance & Leasing Association. I now manage the association’s communications and membership services – a perfect combination of my passions.
❝I think an opportunity for the next generation will be normalizing all genders and sexualities in the workplace. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still work to do.❞Scott Long
Prior to starting your career, what was your dream job and why?
In all honesty, I could never settle on a dream job. My friends and family knew that my « dream job » was always a flavour of the month, like becoming a cardiovascular surgeon, because it looked like a cool job on television. Unsurprisingly, my shaky hands and abysmal biology grades shut that brief ambition down. Overall, I just wanted to work with many people in customer service, education, or communications.
How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
Since the pandemic, I’ve found it extremely difficult to disconnect. Work bled into life because it became so accessible. The best way I’ve managed balancing both is by asking myself, « Can this wait until tomorrow morning? » I’ve found that this question helps put things into perspective and realize that there’s more time available than I thought.
As a 2SLGTBQIA+ leader, what have been the most significant barriers and opportunities in your career?
The most significant barrier I’ve faced is a question that I suspect everyone in the community has asked themselves: « What will they think of me when they figure out I’m gay? » It has stopped me from speaking up, applying for jobs, and even engaging in camaraderie with colleagues. Being gay gives you an outsider’s perspective because of the time we’ve spent in the closet, either pretending to fit in with the norm or avoiding it altogether. While challenging at times, the lasting impacts have allowed me to look at things more objectively. This has helped me be more patient and understanding with colleagues and stakeholders. We never know what someone else is dealing with personally or professionally.
❝Inclusive policies and advertising are only effective when they’re practiced regularly.❞Scott Long
What will be the biggest challenges and opportunities for the incoming generation for 2SLGTBQIA+ people?
I think a big challenge will be dealing with tokenism. It’s fantastic to see organizations pay more attention to social issues but can sometimes rely on marginalized staff to provide answers to complex questions. I think an opportunity for the next generation will be normalizing all genders and sexualities in the workplace. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still work to do. More exposure can help our community feel more comfortable without fearing rejection.
Would you like to suggest actions that can be taken to encourage more 2SLGTBQIA+ to pursue careers in the digital identity/tech space?
I’d suggest moving away from corporate-speak, like boilerplate language in job advertisements that only say « equal opportunity employer » or only publishing 2SLGTBQIA+ communications in June. Inclusive policies and advertising are only effective when they’re practiced regularly.
Do you recommend any strategies or tactics to help 2SLGTBQIA+ amplify their organizational voices?
Remember that each time you speak up, it doesn’t mean you have to come out of the closet again. Sexuality doesn’t make you better or worse at your job, so speak to matters you know about. Even if it sounds ridiculous in your head, that could mean nobody has thought about it.
What advice would you give to 2SLGTBQIA+ people entering the digital identity field?
In the grand scheme, digital identity and tech are « new » ideas. Our community has trailblazing experience, so I suggest 2SLGTBQIA+ persons use their unique perspectives to move these ideas forward.