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Columbia College Alumnus. PRIDE ERG Member. Lead Marketing Programs.

Michael O

Name: Michael O.
Job Title: Project Manager, Global Marketing & Marketing Chair, PRIDE Employee Resource Group

How does your role contribute to the company’s goals?

Within Global Marketing, we strive for acceptance—for merchants locally and globally to accept Discover (and our partners) as form of payment. When joining this team back in 2008, this was the challenge I was most excited about—why would anyone turn down a form of payment?

Diversity beyond a marketing campaign

I value and appreciate the diversity here at Discover—race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age (millennials to baby boomers)—I see all these when I’m at Discover. Not only do I see it and value it, Discover, as a whole, also appreciates and values it. Walking through the halls is like walking down a street in Chicago—every type of person is here and welcomed.

The greatest experience I’ve had at Discover has probably been my work within the PRIDE Employee Resource Group (“ERG”) at Discover and marketing our Discover it® Card featuring the pride colors to the LGBTQ community. As a gay Discover employee (and cardmember, of course), I want the whole LGBTQ community to know how much Discover supports us. I really like the authenticity of our LGBTQ marketing—I see it as a FOR US, BY US campaign, LGBTQ Discover employees reaching out to the LGBTQ community. These marketing initiatives and ideas didn’t come from the ‘Big Dogs’ in the corner office… it came from the hearts of the LGBTQ employees.

Value comes from being your true self

Because of the overall diversity at Discover, I felt I could be my true self at the office—that I wouldn’t be judged or graded on for being gay. I’m lucky, even in 2019, not everyone can feel this way. When you walk into work not being your true self, you aren’t WHOLE. Your managers and co-workers, they are only getting maybe 60% of YOU. You don’t present as well, you don’t share your ideas because you’re worried your true self will be discovered and judged. When you can walk into work as your true self, you present better, you think in ways your managers and co-workers may not be thinking. And this is what every company needs—every employee walking in being their true Selves and sharing their ideas.