Julie Cosio, Senior Vice President of our U.S. Mobile business in Connected Living, shares her career journey, what inspires her, and what she would tell her younger self.
Growing up, I always felt a little different. There was something about me that set me apart from my friends. It took time, but eventually, I was able to put words to that difference. I understood exactly what that difference was and what I thought people’s reaction to finding out would be. For years I thought I had to keep it a secret. And I did. For a very long time.
By the time I came out in university, I had gone on a journey of acceptance. I learned to love myself. I learned to love that difference. It felt liberating. I felt ecstatic. I was fortunate enough to know that my friends and family loved me just the way I was.
The relief that comes with "coming out" is indescribable. It's like shedding this weight that you’ve been carrying around all your life. It’s like opening your eyes for the first time. It’s like finally taking a full breath. After years of hiding, I could fully embrace and express myself without fear.
As I started on my professional career, I carried that confidence with me. I thought, and felt pretty certain that I would never again feel the pressure I had once experienced. But life isn’t always a straight road or an easy journey. An unfortunate incident at work, in my first place of employment pretty quickly shattered that illusion. It forced me to make a choice: if it wasn't necessary, my sexual orientation wouldn't be something I'd share at work.
It took years and several job experiences to gain that confidence back.
That's why the new Pride@Assurant Employee Resource Group (ERG) is so crucial and comes at such a pivotal moment. Over the last few years Assurant has remained focused on fostering an inclusive work environment, promoting diversity of thought and advancing equality. Our newest group will hopefully be a forum for LGBTQ+ employees and allies to connect, build an inclusive community and make sure that queer voices are seen and heard, valued, and respected throughout our organization and beyond.
By fostering inclusivity and acceptance, companies like Assurant create a ripple effect that extends beyond the workplace. When individuals feel safe and supported at work, they can bring their whole selves to the table. And that’s incredibly important. Because that little thing inside you that makes you feel different, is actually what makes you unique. It’s what makes your voice and all our voices so important. It’s what helps us make a meaningful difference in our jobs. And that’s worth celebrating.
For more information about DE&I at Assurant, visit our Diversity page.