Hi! My name is Héctor Solís, I am 39 years old and I have a bachelors degree in Business Administration from the Autonomous University of Coahuila State in Mexico. I currently lead the Global HR Services PMO at Schneider Electric and am a proud and visible gay professional and current global LGBT+ Ambassador and part of the Global LGBT + community at Schneider Electric.
What can I tell you about my journey of being my unique and empowered self? Well, here the story begins…
A long and challenging journey
It has not been an easy journey. It has been full of fear, uncertainty, and anguish. However, with the love of my family, friends, and the power and support of LGBT+ community, it has become a true blessing.
I was raised in a Catholic home, with loving parents who raised me to the best of their possibilities and knowledge and who supported me by having pursued a professional career that I am proud to develop today.
Then I started to realize something was different in me. What I felt inside was also felt by many people, that I was not the only one with these feelings as well as the incredible fear to show it. I was close to people that helped me to find the courage to “come out” (as we say in the community) and to be true to my convictions.
I started to find out when you are a free and “out” person, there could be promoters and detractors of what you are and how you perform. I focused mainly on the positive aspects of my coming out, where there is a community of people with your same story, and the same fears, and experiences.
I decided to make new friends, spend time with a family that helped empower me to be free and that I was OK and that nothing was wrong with me. Then I got to the point that it was time to come out to my parents and siblings in 2003. The relationship with them was somewhat fractured for 14 long years (from 2003 to 2017) which, despite the sadness and pain caused, made me realize how much I loved myself and helped me to gain resilience and empowered me to live an honest, open, and free life, one without lies.
A path of resilience and strength
Starting 2003 and until 2007 my life was full of ups and downs (sometimes feeling guilty and sometimes empowered). The companies I used to work with did not have a holistic and well-structured Diversity and Inclusion strategy and support, besides I was working in an environment where the possibility of coming out was just not even possible for me.
Then in 2007, I met my husband, a wonderful man who gave me the opportunity to love and be loved in the most beautiful and mysterious way. His support and love gave me the opportunity to decide to live with integrity and I started to be open at work without losing sight of the possible consequences this action may carry on which were more positive than negative.
By 2012, 5 years later, my now-husband and I got engaged and married at a lovely ceremony in Mexico City (where same-gender marriages were allowed back then) with only two witnesses and a lot of love and dreams ahead. By then, I had already joined Schneider Electric, and I realized the company was supporting diversity and inclusion. I knew I made a good choice because Schneider allowed me to make a REAL change for our community. The fact that I had spoken the truth about my marital status made me take the first step to come out at work and be visible and support others.
I started to be open about myself when it was clear that the company promoted respect for different ways of thinking, has a code of ethics, and principles of responsibility. I began to receive support and affection from my leaders, and I was finding colleagues who have become my friends and allies, which gave me the opportunity to meet more LGBT + professionals who were looking for the same thing as me; being accepted, respected, included and valued as human beings.
Diversity and Inclusion at Schneider Electric
In 2018, I was invited by Gladis Juarez, Mexico, and Central America VP of Human Resources to collaborate as a speaker at the first Diversity and Inclusion Forum in Mexico. This event was a watershed for me as it helped me to give a voice to all Latin-American LGBT + employees by sharing my experience as a visible and openly gay professional. As an ambassador for diversity and inclusion, the event was marked with enormous support on social media, and many employees felt identified and supported, something that my heart longed for. After being empowered enough by letting my inner thoughts and fears go away something really wonderful happened in my life, an incredible act of love from my parents. They were able to express their unconditional love and started to build a new and better story and we were able to reconcile.
Today, with a new and rebuilt relationship with my family, and the support of all leaders in Schneider Electric which have given me the opportunity to empower myself and continue to move forward and help our LGBT + community to be visible, respected, and valued. I have been able to contribute with my story and best practices as an International LGBT+ Ambassador for our LGBT + community and being able to be a champion and global leader.
Mexico has connected to Pride Connection organization
This year, we have taken a huge step forward as a company by seeking accreditation as a diverse and inclusive company in the Pride Connection Mexico group. This group seeks to integrate local and transnational companies, as companies that promote diversity and the inclusion of LGBT+ professionals. They promote inclusive policies and practices that support the various internal and external movements, such is the case of the LGBT+ pride parade in cities such as Monterrey and CDMX, with the Schneider Electric brand as an inclusive and diverse employer.
This entire journey has been wonderful, and I am very proud to share in this post by continuing to raise awareness that we are all valuable human beings and promoting that the LGBT+ community deserves equal opportunities. It is an important community that deserves to be heard, valued, respected. The role that allies play in the community and in the company is fundamental for the promotion, support of all employees.
Thanks to Schneider Electric for allowing me to continue supporting and managing this beautiful diversity journey, where our employees can have the same opportunity as me to be who they are, without fear, without uncertainties or anguish of being mistreated. Thank you for implementing inclusive policies and processes such as the Global Family Leave, which includes LGBT + professionals and their partners in Primary care, Secondary Care, and other HR programs as well as for promoting a culture of inclusion in local benefits programs.
I am ME, I am UNIQUE, I am Schneider Electric.
This blog was originally shared on our Spanish blog page, to read it, click here.
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