June 26, 2023

Finding My Path: A Recruiter's Journey of Self-Discovery

There are times in life when we have the chance to discover more about ourselves, and we often emerge on the other side with our true colors ready to shine. Olivia, a Sr. Recruiter and Training Manager with TNAA, shares her rainbow of colors with pride, and she’s happy to be able to support the LGBT+ community in her work. 

Olivia has identified as an LGBT+ ally most of her life, but it wasn’t until her 30s that she realized she was in the community herself. That’s when she met her now fiance Christy. Olivia, who’s been with TNAA for more than a decade, met Christy at work a few years into her tenure. 

Olivia and Christy dressed up and smiling

“I’ve always been attracted to various types of people but have only been in heterosexual relationships,” Olivia explained. “When I met Christy, we were really good friends first, and we hung out and had such a good time. Then, I had one particular friend who thought she was cute and said, ‘Oh, you should introduce me to your friend.’ I found myself getting jealous and was like, ‘What is this about? What is happening?’ So that’s where I started questioning what was going on, and that’s where it started.”

Olivia wasn’t expecting to feel this way, and the more she thought about it and talked about it with her daughter, the more she began to learn about herself.  

“When I told my daughter, the more we talked, I was like, I’m in love with this person because of who she is. I don’t care if she was a guy. I fell in love with this person, this soul, ya know?” Olivia said. That’s when her daughter explained that her mom might be pansexual,  “which basically means you love someone regardless of their gender,” Olivia said. 

Olivia and Christy’s relationship bloomed from there, and after five years of being together, they got engaged. While they’re incredibly excited about their future wedding, the planning has also come with its own challenges. When looking for a venue for their ceremony, they’ve run into venues not accepting same-sex couples. After a few venue tours, they finally found one that was more than willing to host their wedding and that connected them with other accepting vendors as well. 

Acceptance & Inclusion 

Back at work, Olivia has been proud to serve and advocate for the LGBT+ community. 

“Within TNAA, I’ve been able to foster those relationships for the gay community with a lot of my travelers,” Olivia explained. “TNAA as a whole – because I was working here when I came out – was very accepting. My boss was fantastic, my VP was fantastic. They were very loving, nurturing, and very supportive, so that has been great.” 

Olivia’s journey has allowed her to connect with and be an advocate for LGBT+ travelers. She strives to guide travelers to assignments where they’ll feel seen, safe, and celebrated. 

Beyond TNAA, she’s also able to serve the community through the dance studio she owns and operates with friends in Charlotte, North Carolina, where LGBT+ members and their allies have a safe space to express themselves through dance. Olivia says it feels like mission work to operate this studio because she provides a space where LGBT+ dancers know they are loved and accepted for exactly who they are.

“As a studio, we’ll represent and go to PRIDE, Charlotte PRIDE, and Charlotte Black PRIDE,” she said. “We’ll dance and have a booth, and it’s really been good to have a safe space for older youth and adults to come and dance and know they’re accepted. They have representation because we have queer instructors as well.”  

Providing this avenue of expression has proven helpful both for Olivia and her dancing students. 

“Movement in itself is therapeutic, especially dance. It helps you express yourself. It helps you get out emotions, sometimes that you can’t articulate through words.” 

Happy PRIDE! 

While there is always work to do and progress to be made, Olivia wants LGBT+ travelers to know that they have a place at her studio and at TNAA. 

“TNAA was and is accepting with me and everyone within the community,” she said. “I love that we have resources, like First Stop Health, especially for our travelers who might be struggling. We don’t just accept people, we try to help them, too. It’s a safe space. I can be loud and proud at work and know it’s okay.”