Founder, Planet Nation
Naomi runs a community website called Planet Nation which supports a thriving and diverse social community relevant to the women in it. She is motivated by connecting women and collaborating to make things happen. She is committed to diversity initiatives and anything that helps women to be their best and aim high. She prides herself as a networker and a connector.
NAOMI BENNETT | Planet Nation/Dechert LLP
Why you think being out is important
I am a real believer in being authentic in all areas of your life. If you are hiding or withholding anything, other people pick up on this distance and it can cause mistrust. It can make it more difficult to build relationships, and remembering the stories, or de-gendering your weekend plans is tiring and all encompassing. If you can bring 100% of you to the workplace, then you can bring more to the table and add value through knowledge and experience. I couldn't work somewhere and spend 7 to 8 hours a day hiding a huge part of who I am!
How and what was the reaction to you coming out
Prior to joining SPM Group, I have had to come out whenever I started a new company as I do not necessarily look like a lesbian, so it is often assumed that I am not - even when I worked in a lesbian bar! I always wait until I've passed my probation and been told I'm good at my job - that is my personal safety net. I've also always been heavily involved in LGBT and women's networks - all of which I couldn't do if I was out. I took that experience and when I joined Dechert I was out from day one - in fact I was out from my interview!
My experience is that being out has opened up many additional opportunities and also given me much more exposure to senior members of the business, right up to board level, that I wouldn't have otherwise had; which has allowed me to show off my abilities and to maximise my overall value to the organisation.