My name is Gabby Matthews (She/Her). I’ve worked out of PRA Health Sciences’ Wilmington, North Carolina office since November of 2020. One of the main things that drew me to PRA was the genuine people-first culture that the company embodies.
While doing research before applying to PRA, I remember seeing the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion page on the PRA website. In this section, it says “Everyone has a unique story. We’re committed to elevating the voices of our people and creating opportunities to share these stories and better understand the human experience.”
I knew right then that I had to be a part of the PRA team. I wanted to be a part of a company that accepts peoples’ differences and experiences and uses them to better their work environment.
In past jobs—and my everyday life—I was fearful to come out and be true to myself. I didn’t want to be judged by who I loved, but instead by my work ethic and ability to perform at the highest level. I have worked in environments where people made passive-aggressive comments about members of the LGBTQA community. I felt uncomfortable and full of shame. I couldn’t stand having to spend eight hours a day working in this type of oppressive environment, knowing I could not be a true representation of myself.
I find it so admirable that PRA embraces diversity and provides such a welcoming and inclusive work environment. Everyone is free to bring their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. I truly feel that when an employer is dedicated to providing a diverse workplace where employees feel accepted and valued, it increases morale, efficiency, and overall job satisfaction. I’ve never been part of a company that was so open to hearing the voices of those who are a part of the LGBTQA community.
On my first day at PRA, I was learning the ins and outs of PRA’s intranet. I was looking for more ways to connect with other PRA employees since I started during the COVID-19 pandemic. I came across a Teams-Employee Networks page and discovered there was an LGBT Allies PRA page. I immediately joined the group, and from that moment, I decided that I didn’t want to hide myself anymore. In conversations, I would slowly test the waters when coworkers would ask me about myself. I had just gotten engaged in July 2020, so I would always slip that in, and when talking about my fiancé, I would say “she” and just hold my breath worried about what was to follow. The only reaction I ever received was congratulations—followed by a bunch of much-needed wedding suggestions.
I met my fiancé Bryson (She/Her) in April of 2019. She is a big part of where I get my strength and courage to be my authentic self. I have been out with friends and family since my senior year of high school. My brother and parents have been nothing but supportive. When Bryson and I first started dating, I was the first women she had been with, and I was so nervous for her. All these emotions and fears came back to me about when I came out and how I lost several family members. I remember her telling me about talking to her parents and how loving and accepting they were, and I was so happy about that. I think that is the most important thing any Ally can be. We got engaged in July of 2020 and are getting married Oct. 23, 2021, and I could not be more excited to start this new chapter in my life.
When I was given this opportunity to tell my story, I knew I had to seize it because I think it is important for everyone to feel safe and secure as themselves. For me, PRIDE means being able to authentically love myself without shame or fear. It means fully accepting that our differences are what make us unique and give us the ability to stand out.
I celebrate PRIDE by living true to myself and getting involved in LGBTQA related groups in my community, and of course going to PRIDE parades—because who doesn’t love a good parade?
I am PROUD to say that I am out and accepted at work.
I am PROUD to say I am a part of the PRA team.
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