Veena Sethuraman brings a unique blend of professional expertise and personal advocacy to her journey. Initially involved with the LGBTQIA+ community as an ally, Veena is now dedicated to amplifying the voices within the queer community. In a candid conversation with us, Veena shares the details of her coming out journey, revealing how the self-realization of her bisexuality became a pivotal point in her life. She also talks about how she contributes to the corporate spaces she is a part of.

I did not come out to make a statement but to understand what it would mean for me and my life’s journey.

In 2021, during a course exploring spiritual psychology, Veena discovered that she hadn’t entirely understood her sexual orientation for over 40 years of her life. At the age of 42, she realized that she was bisexual.

Coming out was a profound experience for Veena, marked by conversations with her husband of 17 years, her 13-year-old son, and her mother. The support she received, especially from her immediate family, was essential in empowering her to navigate the uncharted territory of her newfound identity.

Veena's professional roles as a psychotherapist and a leader in learning and development played significant roles in her decision to come out. Driven by a commitment to authenticity and a belief in practicing what she preaches, Veena felt compelled to align her personal journey with her professional values, and this realization fueled her courage to embrace her identity openly.

If leaders can start with curiosity as a space, empathy can be an integral part of professional spaces.

As a thought leader in the corporate space, Veena offers insights on fostering genuine allyship and solidarity. She advocates for leaders to cultivate curiosity, encouraging them to understand the unique challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community, emphasizing the importance of avoiding hasty conclusions and adopting an open mindset to foster genuine empathy. In her view, creating a supportive organizational environment goes beyond token gestures. She insists leaders must authentically commit to inclusivity, moving beyond performative actions. This commitment involves a sincere effort to understand and support individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

Veena's perspective emphasizes that true inclusivity requires more than just policy changes. It demands a fundamental shift in mindset. She challenges leaders to engage actively with the real experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals, making inclusivity an ongoing journey rather than a checkbox on a corporate agenda.

Striking a balance between the strategic and the emotional side of inclusion is crucial.

In a world where DEI initiatives often prioritize analytical metrics, Veena calls for a balanced approach that engages both the head and the heart. She urges leaders not to shy away from emotional conversations and stresses the importance of confronting biases even in informal settings. Veena recounts an incident where casual homophobic remarks made her question the efficacy of DEI initiatives when the leaders themselves perpetuated harmful stereotypes.

Reflecting on successful initiatives, Veena highlights her current organization's approach. While not explicitly driven by a formal strategy, Inmobi has seamlessly integrated inclusivity into its culture. Veena applauds the organization's decision to offer same-sex partner insurance without fanfare, exemplifying a genuine commitment to creating a welcoming environment.

Contrary to attributing the success solely to a formal strategy, Veena attributes the organization's effectiveness to its soulful approach. She highlights a crucial aspect of her unlearning process, noting a prevalent tendency to overemphasize strategies with predetermined outcomes. Veena points out the potential loss of a broader perspective in pursuing numerical goals without considering the altruistic intent that should underpin such initiatives. She advocates for a balanced approach, urging organizations to integrate altruistic intentions alongside numerical targets. She recognizes that true success lies in a harmonious combination rather than a singular focus on either aspect.

Veena Sethuraman's journey serves as an inspiration for those navigating similar paths. As a professional, advocate, and author, she continues contributing to the ongoing dialogue around mental health, LGBTQIA+ issues, and the importance of genuine inclusion in all facets of life.

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