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I’m Out and Proud to Be Myself, Olive Garden Manager Says

November 04, 2019

by Gilbert Lucero

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I’m Out and Proud to Be Myself, Olive Garden Manager Says

Gilbert Lucero, an Olive Garden culinary manager in Tracy, CA, is grateful he can be himself at work. Not everyone feels that way, he learned at last month’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Washington, DC. He said Darden’s strong culture of diversity and inclusion is close to his heart.

Photo Credit: Darden Restaurants

I’m Out and Proud to Be Myself, Olive Garden Manager Says

November 04, 2019

by Gilbert Lucero

General Topics:
Brand Categories:

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
      — Oscar Wilde

I’m a gay man who feels comfortable bringing my true self to work at the Olive Garden restaurant in Tracy, CA, where I’m a culinary manager. But not everyone feels so free.

I heard a lot about that at last month’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Washington, DC. Darden chose me to attend along with 16 other LGBTQ+ and ally team members from the company, and I was honored because Darden’s strong culture of diversity and inclusion is close to my heart.

When conference participants spoke about their difficulties coming out in the workplace, I thought back to my first day with Olive Garden in 2015 — I felt comfortable being my authentic self and did not have to hide who I was, then or now.

I attended several conference workshops about how to embrace your true self and how to create a strong culture and inclusive communication at work. When a panel of employees discussed how their organization supported them, it reminded me of Darden’s Pride Alliance and the culture of acceptance in all our restaurants. 

I also learned that some employers don’t know how to support their LGBTQ+ team members. Darden, though, is ahead of the game. The company lives by its core values, cares about its team members and makes sure they feel supported.

I believe everyone should be their true self. If you wear a mask, you will not be working at your full capacity. Don’t be afraid to take off the mask and be yourself! You are great the way you are!