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Andy’s story: as Alive grew, I think I did too

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Andy’s story: as Alive grew, I think I did too

I hated myself while I was growing up. I knew I was gay but the thought of telling everyone was terrifying – I thought those few words had the power to change the way people looked at me. I’m a very family-oriented person, so it was hard to think about the affect my sexuality could have not only on my parents and brother, but my aunties, uncles and cousins too. Growing up with that on my mind was difficult.

I always thought that if I could just stop myself from noticing men, then my brain would re-wire and I’d start noticing women instead. No matter what I did, all I could think was, ‘Is this too gay?’, ‘Will people think I’m gay if I wear this?’,Don’t say it like that, say it like this!’

I carried these thoughts around with me like an accessory through to my early 20’s. Every time I left the house, I was always checking I had everything I needed with me – phone, keys, wallet and non-gay thoughts. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I thought it would be much easier if I lived the straight life.

 

Being LGBTQ+ at Alive

I didn’t start accepting myself until I started working at Alive. Being surrounded by such wonderful and accepting people made a huge difference. I thought, if these people can accept me for who I am and still want me around, then being gay can’t be bad.

We were a very small company when I joined but as Alive grew, I think I did too. One colleague in particular had a huge impact on my life, not only is she a lesbian and happily married with a family now, but her confidence and attitude towards homophobia is so inspiring. She made me want to be just like her and have the confidence to live the life I wanted to live. I can honestly say that I don’t know what my life would be like now if I didn’t start working with my Alive family – I’d probably still be in the closet feeling unfulfilled, and for that I can’t thank them enough.

 

Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace

My own experiences have taught me that having diversity in the workplace is a crucial part of creating a productive and happy working environment. For some people, being openly gay may not feel like a big deal, but for others it’s a very difficult journey.

“People can’t be expected to give it their all at work if they’re not accepted for who they are. If someone feels like they can’t be themselves, then it can really hold them back from getting involved, progressing and sharing their great ideas.”

 

What non-LGBTQ+ colleagues can do

  • Try to be supportive and include everyone
  • Communicate with people and be open
  • If someone confides in you, respond in a kind and genuine way
  • Reach further than simply being polite
  • Show that you’re interested in the lives of other people.

We all spend a lot of time with the people we work with, so it’s important to create a safe, open and honest environment. For me, working at Alive has enabled me to be my most authentic self, and I hope that other organisations can have that kind of positive and long-lasting impact on people too.

 

Read our stories …

Laura’s story
Cam’s story

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Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“So glad that we chose Alive to create our new website. As well as taking the time to get the visual side of our requirement right, they worked with us to understand us, our business and our clients and reflect this across the site. We loved their flexible approach, which, coupled with the right level of challenge has replaced our old, clunky site with one we can be proud of. ”

Victoria Ford — Perago

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho, Clinical Psychologist — Critical Care, UCLH

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Love it. I will pass to the boss, but I think it's awesome.”

Matt Fletcher — Met Police

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“Boom!
Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

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Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“I have worked with Alive with Ideas for many years now and they are by far the best Ideas and design company I have ever worked with (I’d even go as far as to say the best company of any sort that I’ve ever worked with). They are an incredibly talented and creative team, who are normal human beings, completely grounded, totally down to earth, approachable, friendly and an overall joy to work with.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist — StephTranter.com

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist — StephTranter.com

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

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Gavin Buckle — B&Q