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Casey Conway is the Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Rugby Australia and is passionate about creating a truly inclusive and safe space for all. As one of our Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders of 2020 Casey shares his story as a gay Aboriginal man fighting for an even playing field in sport and Australia.
My LGTBI+ journey: Coming out in a professional sporting setting really set me up for my working career. In my moments of darkness, I didn't see a way out. Knowing that I had great people and support structures around me, I was empowered to be my authentic self, which gave me the confidence to share my story. I had no idea of the impact it would have, and I'm honoured that it has helped others in their journey of acceptance.
On bringing my whole self to work: Not having to self-edit or second guess myself in the workplace allows me to focus on my responsibilities and produce great work. The confidence and assurance that comes with not having to worry about being treated differently because of my sexuality cannot be understated.
Changing perceptions: Through the power of storytelling, people have become aware of the barriers we face in society, whether entering and feeling safe in the workplace, participating in sport or in the many other communities we exist. When everyone is included equally, we all win. LGBTI+ inclusion has a strong business case and is already a focus of most diversity and inclusion work, but we still have a long way to go in addressing access to opportunity and safety for many within the LGBTI+ community; particularly gender diverse people, First Nations peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse people, and people living with a disability.
Advice: When I was starting my career, I was told that my experiences and beliefs are only one of many. I had to listen and learn from others to help make sense of my journey, where it fits, and how I can leverage it to make meaningful and sustainable change.
Reflecting on the past year: 2020 has been a very challenging year and I love that the human spirit emerged to get us through bushfires, floods and a health pandemic that devastated individuals and whole communities in ways we haven't experienced before. With our limited ability to physically be together, we were forced to mobilise differently to support each other. We checked on and supported the most vulnerable in our communities and all played a part in the recoveries. I'm constantly inspired by people that think of others and in moments that matter, act.
Not everyone has the confidence or support (whether that be from family or colleagues) to be themselves at work – what advice would you give to them? Coming out in the workplace can be a very complex experience that is vastly different to coming out in our personal lives. I would say to consider the workplace culture and identify colleagues, who might be LGBTI+ or an ally, that you feel comfortable and safe talking to, be kind to yourself and don’t pressure yourself unnecessarily. Most importantly, be aware of the impacts it is having on you and your work and practice self-care.
Words to describe me: Loyal, honest, determined.
Casey is one of our Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders of 2020 – a list that recognises and celebrates the many LGBTI+ role models in business and across our community. For more on our inspirational LGBTI+ leaders, visit our Outstanding 50 webpage.
Jade Rogers leads communications for Inclusion, Diversity and Wellbeing, within Deloitte’s Corporate Affairs and Communications team. Jade is passionate about storytelling and believes in the power of a compelling story to effect real change.