Brian Gumbel had a secret that he thought would end his career. But when he came forward with the truth, he found himself surrounded by a supportive community that helped him thrive at work.
In 2010, Brian came out as gay. He says that experience changed how he connected with people and allowed him to be his authentic self. Now Brian is Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at Armis, an industry-leading cybersecurity company valued at $3.4 billion.
We recently spoke with Brian on the Forge Ahead podcast about the importance of being yourself, welcoming diverse perspectives to the table, and practicing equality at work.
1. Be Your Authentic Self
Vulnerability and self-expression are key to building deeper interpersonal relationships. Being genuine with others shows them it’s okay to do the same, which cultivates a collaborative and safe work environment.
“Everybody has their own story,” Brian says. “I think that’s so important. And I tell my teams, ‘Don’t just take off your hat, leave it at home and put on your work hat when you come into the office. Just be yourself. It’s one life and everybody’s going through things. It’s better to be open about things and we can all support each other.’”
Be authentic to create a welcoming work environment conducive to teamwork and growth.
2. Welcome Diverse Perspectives
Hire people from different backgrounds and experiences to bring diversity of thought to the company. Employees who think differently from one another find innovative solutions and drive growth.
“You want to have all different types of cultures [and] ethnicities,” Brian says. “It’s better for the business. It’s different mindsets, it’s different perspectives. And there’s a lot of great talent out there. It’s really important to develop diversity programs and hire diverse candidates, and actively go to diverse schools and create programs at the schools with the guidance counselors and recruiting teams.”
Welcome people from all walks of life to the company to drive growth.
3. Practice Equality
Equality is a discipline that requires intention and a conscious effort. Practice treating everyone with equal respect and dignity. Employees who feel valued are more likely to invest time and energy in their work, which leads to greater productivity and more effective collaboration.
“It’s easy to say that you are an organization that supports equality,” Brian says. “But there’s a lot of companies out there that don’t. And I think if you want to get the best and the brightest [talent], and the ones that will work the hardest, and are driven and collaborate well, you need to be an organization that believes in equality for all.”
No matter what someone’s title is, make the conscious choice to treat them with respect.
4. Lead with Positivity
As a leader, you set the tone for your team. Even in the face of challenges or setbacks, choose to be positive and motivate your team to persevere.
“I’m a big believer in staying positive,” Brian says. “Every day, there are situations at work where you lose a deal, or employees are down, you’re dealing with HR issues, whatever the case is, […] it’s just trying to have that positive energy to turn the situation around and being that driving force, the leadership, to pump up your team and get them going in the right direction.”
Be the one who champions your team to overcome challenges.
Visit the Forge Ahead homepage to hear the entire conversation with Brian Gumbel.