I am a happy, proud, out CBS employee.
But I wasn’t always.
I was hired in 1999 as a producer for the network’s overnight news broadcast, CBS NEWS UP TO THE MINUTE. And for the following decade, I grew as a producer, became a father, became a senior producer, and became managing editor of THE EARLY SHOW. Wow – what’s better than that?
And then I became unhappy.
A should-have-been-fatal car accident during a car service ride woke me up to my mortality and to my unhappiness. My initial solution to my discomfort was a career change. Twenty years in TV news was enough for anybody, right? So I went into PR.
Except that didn’t quite do it.
After a good deal of soul searching, I finally accepted my truth and came out as a gay man. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done.
Embracing my new path in life, I called friends and former colleagues – including those with whom I had worked at CBS – to tell them. Coming out to them felt good because:
1. It was 2010, not 1980.
2. These were my friends.
3. It wasn’t like I was going to be seeing them every day, right? What did I care?
But a year later, having realized my first answer to my unhappiness was wrong, I returned to news and returned to CBS. And I returned to all those former colleagues I thought I wasn’t going to be seeing every day.
And you know what? They welcomed me back as if I had never left and nothing had changed.
CBS News has an incredible legacy – a history rich in journalistic leadership and excellence.
But this company’s brand is not its greatest asset. Its people are. By far.
As Steve Hartman’s CBS EVENING NEWS franchise used to say, everybody has a story. My CBS story is one of acceptance, respect, journalistic excellence, professionalism, and support (and Oxford commas!). You are a part of this same, amazing family. Yes, like every family, we have our disappointments and disagreements. But every day, we come back together.
Embrace every resource you can to make YOUR experience here suit YOU. If you’re LGBTQIA+, there’s the newly renamed CBS PRIDE employee resource group. There are also employee resource groups for veterans, women and multi-cultural employees. There are also external groups of which CBS is proudly very supportive of, including NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA… there are others like you who want to connect with you and help you grow.
This month, CBS Corporation is sponsoring the World Pride celebrations being held in New York for the first time to coincide with the 50th anniversary of The Stonewall Riots. Come to the march. Look at the colors – not just of the Pride flags and the rainbow CBS-eyeball logos on our shirts, but of the faces of those who will be marching. Those faces will be white, black, brown, Asian, Latino, LGBTQIA+… they will be CBS. They will be US.
If you work for CBS, you know the strength of your coworkers.
Embrace your truth. Embrace what makes YOU proud. And speak up. You have many supportive ears listening.
I’ll end this the way I began it: I am a happy, proud, out CBS employee.
Happy Pride, everyone – for whatever it is that makes you proud.