Caitie, Assurance Manager, on going against the grain of assumptions

June 01, 2022

Sometimes it feels like people have preconceived notions of what it “looks like” to be a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community. I often have to clarify assumptions because I don’t fit some of the stereotypes.

I started my career in Toronto at PwC Canada as a summer student, and I eventually came on full-time as an associate. In university, I met my now-fiancée, who is from Calgary and works in the energy industry. I had always hoped to move west, so eventually I asked for a transfer to Calgary within PwC Canada and was approved!

Caitie, partner and huskies

Over time, it’s become easier to come out to my colleagues. My sexuality never came up in Toronto, and I wasn’t sure how and when to bring it up. But when I moved to Calgary, I was able to make it an organic part of conversation, and this felt easier for me. When people asked me why I moved to Calgary, I could say, “My girlfriend is from here.” Every so often I have to correct assumptions, but I’ve been met with open arms at the firm. My leaders and teams are inclusive, and they make sure I feel that I’m included and that I belong.

But when I was promoted to manager last year, my role became more external-facing, and I’ve struggled navigating when to tell clients or when to correct them. For example, in polite conversation, if I say “my partner,” it’s often assumed that I’m talking about a man. When people see my engagement ring, they sometimes ask, “What’s his name?” This can be challenging to navigate, particularly in a professional environment. As a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, you’re never finished with coming out.

When I moved to Calgary, I became a member of our PwC Canada SHINE Inclusion Network. I wanted to meet others from the LGBTQ2S+ community and also thought it would be a great way to meet new friends in a new city. The network consisted mostly of allies, not members from the LGBTQ2S+ community. I got more involved because I felt more of an LGBTQ2S+ lens was needed—and I knew I could bring that.

I’m now one of the co-chairs of the Calgary network, alongside another LGBTQ2S+ manager from Consulting. We’ve held a lot of great events: walking in the Calgary Pride Parade, virtual trivia hosted by a local Drag Queen and even a “Rainbow Masterchef” series in which partners hosted virtual cooking sessions live from their kitchens and people cooked alongside them from their own homes. It’s been an incredible experience to host successful events and see the support from such a broad range of allies and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community as we’ve grown the network.

Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community or an ally, consider getting involved and joining your own local network so you can find a supportive community and expand your network.

Caitie is a manager in the Calgary Assurance practice.