Author: Alex Marcell (she/her), Vice President of Talent Acquisition

In honor of Pride Month, we are sharing this Q&A session with Alex Marcell (she/her), Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Compass Health Center. Alex openly embraces her queer identity and shares her personal journey within the workplace. Alex’s story sheds light on the significance of creating inclusive spaces for everyone and the positive effects of being in an environment that values authenticity and diversity. She also provides valuable insights on fostering inclusivity at Compass and offers advice for individuals exploring their own queer identities.  

What motivated you to openly embrace your identity as a queer employee and share your story within the workplace? 

It took time to get here, but I’m happy to say that I’m really proud of who I am. I’m proud of my identity as a queer person, I’m proud of my marriage to my incredible wife, I’m proud that we’re welcoming our first child to our family in just a few months. And work, for me, has always felt more meaningful when I’m connected to the people I work with. So openly embracing who I am at work feels good for me personally. I’m also fortunate to work at an organization where I know it’s safe to do this. 

That said, when I was early in my career and early in the process of understanding my own identity, I never would have pictured myself being out at work in the way I am today. Representation and seeing other queer people in the workplace was so important to me becoming comfortable in my own skin– so now, if I can be that representation for someone else on their journey, I’m happy to be. 

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How has your personal journey as a queer individual influenced your perspective on the importance of creating inclusive spaces for everyone? 

I’ve been in spaces before where I didn’t feel included or like I could be my authentic self as a non-straight person. Having those experiences has made clear to me the importance and responsibility that all of us have to help create inclusive spaces for everyone. 

I try to create those spaces for my team through vulnerable leadership – I share what’s going on in my personal life; I talk about the things that are going well at work but also the things I’m messing up; I’ll be the first to admit that (especially in pregnancy), I have off days where I’m not performing my best – and that’s all ok! I’m blessed to be surrounded by an incredible team that shows the same vulnerability in return, which I hope leads to a culture where folks feel included just as they are. 

How do you ensure that inclusivity is woven into the fabric of Compass's culture and decision-making processes? 

Working in Talent Acquisition, my team and I are fortunate to take part in the broader work that drives diversity and inclusion at Compass. Over the past few years, we’ve put a lot of work into how we attract talent from under-represented groups, how we practice inclusive interviewing and hiring, and how we create spaces for all staff to feel seen and represented. We’re proud of the growth we’ve seen in these areas and are excited to keep making more progress. 

Can you share a personal experience where you felt the positive effects of being in an inclusive and supportive work environment as a queer employee? 

I remember interviewing at Compass 4 years ago and seeing Pride flag stickers on the windows of people’s offices when walking to the interview room. I immediately felt more comfortable and relaxed heading into the interviews knowing that this would be a place where I would not only be tolerated but would be welcomed. 

Things like this may feel small (and there is certainly so much work that we as a queer community and our allies have ahead of us), but the small things matter too and can go a long way!   

On that note, what can allies do to support their LGBTQ+ colleagues?  

There are so many ways for allies to support us, and we need them more than ever. Like I mentioned before, you can do the seemingly “little” things – put a pride sticker in your office, put your pronouns in your email signature, acknowledge important times for our community like Pride Month, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and Transgender Day of Visibility. And share in our pride! I remember my colleagues were so enthusiastic asking to see my wedding photos after I got married – that simple gesture made me feel so supported. 

Also challenge yourself to do the hard things. Being queer in this country still isn’t easy. Our rights are being actively challenged and fought against every single day and we need allies to help us. Do the research and educate yourself on the challenges and threats that our community is facing right now (especially those in the Trans community) and find ways to get involved. We need you. 

Can you share any advice for other individuals who may be exploring or questioning their own queer identity? 

Be gentle with yourself – there’s no need to have all the answers right away or to explain yourself to anyone. You are uniquely you and all the pieces will eventually come together. If you’re feeling alone or isolated in your journey, know that that there’s a whole community out there who will accept you as you are whenever you are ready! 

Alex's personal journey as a queer individual has influenced her perspective on the importance of inclusivity in the workplace. Through vulnerable leadership and open communication, Alex strives to create spaces within her team where individuals feel included and valued. At Compass Health Center, inclusivity is ingrained in the organization's culture and decision-making processes. Alex and the rest of the team work tirelessly to attract talent from underrepresented groups, practice inclusive hiring practices, and ensure that all staff members feel seen and supported. By sharing her story and being an advocate for inclusivity, Alex continues to make a meaningful impact within the workplace and beyond. 

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