06 Jul 2023
I’m Craig – a partner to a wonderful guy, a dog dad, a best friend, a life-long learner, a passionate advocate for equality, an executive coach to talent and start-ups, and I love my work … but is it even work if you love it? For my day job, I feel fortunate every day that I get to work at Google. I lead a large business development, consulting and customer marketing practice in EMEA focused on accelerating long-term growth for large businesses in the Apps, Gaming, FinTech and Digital Platform industry verticals. I also lead all of our internal and external Pride and campaigns work for our Pride@ Employee Resource Group at Google.
I started from very humble beginnings. I grew up on a council estate with my mum and my brothers, and really had no idea about what possibilities life held and what my future might be like. I was fortunate enough to love learning, and somehow found my way progressively doing better and better at school, meeting more and more people, and getting more and more inspired. I was the first person in my family ever to go to university, and I’ve had the love and support of my mum and closest friends every day – including when I came out at 14.
After university, I spent many years working across marketing and digital communications agencies for some of the world’s biggest brands – Apple, Facebook, Accel Ventures, Samsung, Motorola, HP, Philips, and P&G, and then finally moved client side to be International CMO and Digital Lead for one of the world’s biggest gaming and interactive entertainment companies. I spent a week a month for 6 years travelling to Los Angeles (so will spend the rest of my life looking jet-lagged), and two years studying part-time at Columbia Business School in New York and London Business School for my Executive MBA.
I’m a believer in lifelong learning and growth, always looking to raise the bar for yourself and your team, always being authentic and open-minded, challenging and championing, and hiring people who are much much better than me and making sure they shoot for the moon (and reach beyond it). In my earlier roles, I benefited from sponsorship and mentorship from kind-hearted leaders who were always ready to lift me, let me grow, and help me when I was sometimes in over my head. Those mentors literally changed my life and gave me some of my biggest opportunities – they were almost always strong female leaders who themselves were challenging the status quo and trailblazing their own paths. I owe them a debt of gratitude – and they taught me a lifelong lesson, leave a trail of success stories behind you wherever you go, and invest as much time in growing others (especially those who need and deserve it most) as you can, the world will be better for it.
Working in entertainment, media, agencies and technology, I’m really fortunate that my sexuality has never been an issue. As far as I know. Coming out so early also meant that it was kind of ingrained in who I was before I even left secondary school or got to university, and I have never felt that I have to hide it. I’m not saying every day was easy – but I am grateful for the chance to be my authentic self EVERY day.
Pride means so much more to me than just a series of celebrations. It is a time to reflect on the progress we have made, acknowledge that we are still far from equal in many places, and recognise the work that still needs to be done. It is a time to come together as a community and show the world that we are proud of who we are and we are proud of each other.
I’m fortunate that at Google I have never felt more included, supported or that I belong. I also have the power to spend my time advocating for making our communities’ lives and rights better – across EMEA, globally and with the teams I work with every day. We massively support Pride – locally and regionally, and work with many Pride associations to ensure they can march, protest and influence the world we live in. We work with many Pride NGOs, local charities, and education initiatives, support our communities and actively work to create a world where everyone feels safe and respected, regardless of who they love or how they identify.
I believe that it is important for businesses to get behind Pride because they have a powerful voice – and shape the landscape we live in. Pride is a way to show our support for the LGBTQ+ community and to help create a more inclusive world. As a leader, I also don’t think we can separate how we show up on basic human rights – I want everyone I work with to feel like they can be themselves, feel safe, grow and thrive. Pride is more than just a party. It is a movement for equality. And it is a movement that businesses can and should support.
I think we’ve made a lot of progress – We have seen same-sex marriage legalized in many countries, and we have seen an increase in the number of companies that are actively supporting their communities, offering LGBTQ+-inclusive benefits and lending their voice to support Pride and bigger DEI and inclusion/equity goals. And there is still more work to be done. BUT, that progress is not distributed equally around the world, and all of that progress is not guaranteed – even now there are rights that we take for granted in many countries (UK and US included), which are rolling back or moving in a worrying direction.
One way to promote support, inclusivity, and education on LGBTQ+ communities in the workplace is to have open and honest conversations about these issues. This can be done through employee resource groups, training programs, leader-led discussions and other initiatives. It is also important to create a workplace where everyone feels safe and respected, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The most fundamental ask to every company, leader and member of a workplace would be to get involved in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality in your community. Ask questions, listen, show your support, give your time, and show up however that person or community needs you to do.
As a leader, and as a business, you have the power to amplify and lend your voice and resources where they are most needed. That’s a privilege, a gift, and a force for good in the pursuit of better equality for LGBTQ+ and all communities who are needing support.
This is the question of the moment, everyone has a role – whether you are a member of the community, any ally, an executive, or someone just trying to make a positive impact on the world and those around you. My main suggestions would be:
Every single person has a role to play, and we can all make a difference in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. We can all help to create a more equitable, inclusive and loving world for everyone. Doesn’t that sound like a world we all deserve to live in?
– Craig O’Boyle – Industry Leader & UK Business Director at Google
© Propel Together 2022. All rights reserved. Recruitment Website Design by Ph.Creative