José Nacif-Drah is the vice-president of global IT for Centerra Gold.
He shared his journey and challenges in the corporate world as an openly gay man.
“It’s definitely not easy to be yourself,” he said.
Nacif-Drah began by saying that at the start of his career he was comfortable being himself out of the office but struggled to do so within the office.
Throughout his journey, he did meet his husband and the couple moved around a bit until Nacif-Drah started a job at a mining company in Denver.
He talked about his struggles of being out within the company.
He recalled one time when he was pulled into a meeting and told there had been anonymous calls from his colleagues asking for Nacif-Drah to be terminated because he was gay.
To “solve” this, management suggested he did not speak about his family so much in the office and did not mention the fact that he is gay.
“The problem with that was that obviously, I knew everybody else’s spouse’s names, and their kids and what they’re doing on the weekends. So the ask didn’t really feel right. I was being asked not to be myself,” Nacif-Drah said.
This situation affected him and his motivation to go to work.
He said he would struggle to even get out of his car in the parking lot and it changed the way he interacted with his colleagues.
However, when the company was bought by Centerra, the work environment changed completely and he saw a huge shift.
“The culture there is amazing, I can definitely be myself,” he said.
Nacif-Drah said he was able to find happiness when he was truly himself.