Diversity & Inclusion leadership
Meet Filip Nemeth
"We spend a lot of time at work and for some people, work can be the only place where they don’t encounter discrimination." Building on his own sense of belonging here, Filip is a leader of the firm's PrideMatters employee resource group.
Belonging at work: AlixPartners employee stories
Living our diversity commitment
What is the true test of a successful diversity program?
I have always prospered the most in my career when I felt I belonged. Today I am completely out to my colleagues and I feel accepted and respected. That sense of belonging is really the best success metric. We must ask ourselves, has this initiative or program helped people feel that they belong so that they can be their true selves? I believe you can only be successful at work when you are truly yourself with your colleagues—when you can bring your whole identity to work. This is a feeling that many take for granted, but I know what it means not have that sense of belonging. That is the main reason I am involved with diversity initiatives and why I lead PrideMatters here at AlixPartners.
Why is diversity and inclusion important for a management consulting firm like AlixPartners?
Consulting is a people business. Our people are how we deliver exceptional results for our clients. We are all dependent on building strong relationships that help us learn and grow. It takes a lot of effort to hide who you really are, and so I believe we need to create a safe space at AlixPartners where our colleagues don’t have to worry about being out or being non-majority in any way. We spend a lot of time at work and for some people, work can be the only place where they don’t encounter discrimination. Not every LGBTQ colleague has a family who accepts them for who they are and for those people, work becomes the safe place.
How has your leadership of the AlixPartners PrideMatters employee resource group influenced and affected your approach to daily work-life?
One recent topic we’ve been trying to address is self-identity, not just sexual orientation, but specifically being transgender or non-binary (having a gender identity that is not exclusively masculine or feminine). We’ve all seen this in the news recently. In just one example of personal influence, I added the identification he/him into my email signature. By doing this I hope to show others it is okay to express their identity whether is it he/him, she/her or they/them. At PrideMatters we continue to educate ourselves. We can then continue to influence our internal policies and practices, benefits packages, inclusivity in leadership and recruiting, and stay informed about issues that the LGBTQ community faces. I want to continue to increase awareness and promote an environment where everyone can be their true self. Not only regarding sexual orientation, but also self-identity.
What has your professional journey been like?
I am a cis gay man who grew up in Slovakia. Fifteen years ago, being gay in my country was a taboo, and so I know how it feels to be different, to be excluded, and to not be respected. Throughout my career, I have experienced various levels of acceptance. The environment at my undergrad was different than my business school, and working in Europe was different than working in the US. All of those experiences had an impact on my personal and professional life. We do some amazing work at AlixPartners and I believe we have a very inclusive and open culture. However, we can’t stop moving forward. We must keep learning about others and talking about acceptance and inclusion.
What progress have you seen toward workplace “acceptedness”?
Someone once told me they felt their sexual orientation was a non-factor at their workplace. This stuck with me and I do believe being LGBTQ at AlixPartners is a true “non-factor.” I have never felt treated or looked at differently than any of my other colleagues because of my sexual orientation. I often talk about my husband and bring him to firm events. Today we are all working on driving inclusion and diversity across our offices, but I want to build an AlixPartners culture where all those identities—being gay, being trans, being non-binary, being YOU—will truly be a non-factor. All colleagues deserve to work with dignity and without stigma.