Philippe Johnston is the CIO of the National Research Council of Canada.
He shared two stories, both personal and work-related.
Johnston described how when he was very young, his mother came out to the family.
“During that time in society, homosexuality was not at all viewed as something acceptable. I actually had to deal with many situations at school as my friends found out about the situation, and it made my life extremely difficult during a one to two-year period,” he said.
Johnston said it was very hard to trust others and share his thoughts with anyone close to him.
“I’m lucky that it [those feelings] only lasted for a short period of time. Most people who are dealing with these issues, are dealing with them constantly and on a regular basis.”
His second story described a time at work in an old job where they did a survey that revealed that almost 20 per cent of people are still not comfortable talking about LGBTQ+ issues with their managers.
This was a fairly surprising result for Johnston.
“I was caught off guard because I thought our teams and our culture had driven an inclusive culture,” he said.
But, the results just proved that the management team needed to take action.
He said they developed a plan with human resources, to try and figure out how they could educate the workplace to feel more comfortable and embrace diversity and inclusion.
Johnston said he wants to be able to do anything he can to help people feel happier and feel accepted.