Opening doors: a conversation with Rob Butler
During Pride Month, we sat down with PrideMatters employee resource group (ERG) member and senior vice president, Rob Butler, to learn about how AlixPartners supports LBGTQ employees through PrideMatters, as well as his personal journey at the firm and the impact Diversity & Inclusion programs have had on creating a supportive employee culture.
What measures does AlixPartners take to support its LGBTQ employees?
AlixPartners has supported the creation, development, and growth of the PrideMatters employee resource group (ERG). By having buy-in from senior leadership, PrideMatters has developed into a worldwide organization that has a significant impact on the working environment of LGBTQ employees. Being ranked as one of the best places to work for LGBTQ employees did not come by accident; it is a direct result of the policies and measures taken at the firm to support its LGBTQ employees.
How is AlixPartners celebrating Pride Month in the US and around the world?
In London, we hosted the ”Milk and Cookies” event in early June, which gave employees an opportunity to learn about Harvey Milk, a pivotal figure in LGBTQ history. The event was a success and was well received by the attendees. We also celebrated London Pride Week with delicious Pride brownies and cookies.
Rob Butler attended The Economist's Pride & Prejudice Summit in London.
Why did AlixPartners decide to sponsor the recent Pride and Prejudice conference?
I believe AlixPartners sponsored the Pride and Prejudice conference to show its unwavering commitment to LGBTQ rights in the workplace. By being sponsors, AlixPartners gets the benefit of sending a positive message to both its employees and the external world about its support for diversity and inclusion. I’ve had the opportunity to participate for two consecutive years and it’s one of the most insightful and impactful conferences that I’ve attended.
What has been your personal journey within AlixPartners?
I joined the firm in 2008. At that time, I rarely heard the word diversity mentioned. Since I had no LGBTQ role models in the firm, it was extremely difficult to come out of the closet. I often avoided social interactions with colleagues as I was terrified that they would ask questions about my personal life. Fast forward ten years later to 2018 and AlixPartners is in a completely different place. I’m leading an LGBTQ-focused employee resource group, I’m completely open and comfortable with my sexuality at work, and we’ve been ranked one of the best places to work for LGBTQ employees. We’ve come a long way and I’m very proud to be part of this journey.
Rob Butler at the Stonewall Conference in London.
What do you enjoy the most about working at AlixPartners?
Aside from the work, which I find extremely stimulating, I mostly enjoy the “family feel” at AlixPartners. I’ve never worked in another organization where I often refer to my colleagues as my friends. It’s a very close-knit feeling, which makes coming to work every day a pleasure. The company is also taking major steps in terms of diversity and inclusion which has made me (and many others) feel comfortable being myself at work and maximizing my full potential.
What advice would you offer organizations that are in earlier stages of building their own LGBTQ programs?
The road to complete diversity and inclusion and a prejudice-free workplace is long, but the fight must continue until the goal has been reached.
Don’t give up. Explore every avenue, be creative, and do everything possible to have your message reach a wide audience. Also, do not underestimate the value of allies. They are crucial in spreading the message to the wider firm and also building a critical mass. Lastly, have fun! Network with your fellow LGBTQ employees, share stories and experiences, and learn from each other!