Making sure the culture was inclusive before signing on
Patricia (Trisha) Raicht didn’t have a dramatic “coming out” as a lesbian. During a childhood living all over the world ( her dad was in the Foreign Service), she says, “I discovered who I was at 13,” when her mother also recognized Trisha’s sexual orientation. After a career in commercial real estate in the Portland, OR, area, she started talking to global real-estate company JLL about a fulltime job in 2011. The people in the local office knew she was a lesbian mom, but she wanted to ensure that the corporate leaders with whom she would be working were also inclusive.
“I really wanted to work for a global company because I wanted to have opportunities beyond my market with potential for work in other countries as my career progressed. I also wanted to work for a firm that was ethical and offered opportunities for all kinds of people. I didn’t want my ability to be my authentic self to be limited to my home office. I interviewed with people in San Francisco, D.C. and Chicago—and they all were very clear about the company’s commitment to inclusion and equality,” she says.
During the interviews with people she hadn’t met before, she didn’t disclose her orientation. But when they told her about their ERGs, including their LGBTQ group, she had a positive feeling. “I was impressed they knew the alphabet soup of LGBTQ back then ... the more you can be your authentic self, the more you can contribute,” she says.
She is very open at work these days. “I moved in and put up my pictures of my kids and my wife. I’m one of those parents. I always talk about my kids (daughters Sprout, 20, and Halle, 12).”
Today, she acts as an ambassador for Building Pride, the LGBTQ ERG, helping prospective and current employees learn how inclusive JLL is. “We hear again and again that people want to work someplace where they feel they are making a difference and can be their own authentic selves. They want to work somewhere where they feel their own values are respected by the company.”
Patricia (Trisha) Raicht