An Interview with a courageous transwoman – Celia Daniels. Part 2 of 2

Celia Daniels with the Transgender Pride flag.

Since November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, this is an ideal time to publish this blog.  Do look for a TDOR event in your community!

In part 1 of this interview (link) with the fascinating and courageous Celia Daniels, we focused on her early childhood and initial part of her adult life and career up to the point where Celia determined she needed to move on with her life as Celia. Now we continue to the discussion on the rest of Celia’s journey up to the present day.

STAN: Celia, continuing our discussion where we left off, you rose to senior level leadership at Dun & Bradstreet, and had also realized that being a transgender person was the way you were born and something you could not change. So what did you do next?
CELIA: At this point, I decided to focus on my transition, so resigned from Dun & Bradstreet. I also decided that I couldn’t transition due to various medical conditions. I decided to socially transition instead of medically. Either way I decided to live my life in my authentic gender. It wasn’t easy.

STAN: That’s a great step, practicing self-care and taking the necessary steps to doing what you needed to do in your life. Did you then return to the job market?
CELIA: Yes! But then something had changed. As Daniel, I was a senior executive in other F100 companies that I worked. As Celia, I had a hard time getting the similar jobs with the same resume. I applied for Jobs in companies that had a HRC Corporate Equality Index of 100%. Unfortunately I realized that these companies were pink washing or hiring trans and gender variant folks in junior roles, blue color jobs or individual contributors.

STAN: How did this job search turn out?
CELIA: I decided not to compromise on my 23+ years of corporate experience in Health care and life sciences. These companies liked my professional experience, but they were not ready to hire me at a senior level. One HR manager even told me at a transgender job fair, “We actually don’t expect to see people like you.”

STAN: How did you respond?
CELIA: I was certainly offered positions quite below my experience level, but I was not willing to compromise on my experience. I have built case management business for $30M across the globe hiring doctors, pharmacist and case managers handling adverse events for pharma companies and here I was offered a job as a case manager. It was ridiculous.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2020 recognized the 34 trans people murdered in 2020 (photo courtesy of Elle)

STAN: So then what was next for you?
CELIA: After being marginalized by more than 30 companies, I got tired and started my own consulting firm, Rebekon Consulting, LLC. I started offering management consulting and DEI services for start up, mid to large companies including F100 companies in Life Sciences and Healthcare. I also started offering companywide training and awareness in the various topics including: Building Allies, Inclusive workplace, Healthcare/Mental Health, Gender Non-Binary Policies and Intersectionality within the marginalized communities. And more!

Secondly, I became an activist for full and fair employment of transgender people. I joined the executive board of TransCanWork, Inc. and frequently speak on transgender equity using the session title “Change from the Bathroom to the Boardroom,” both in US, India and across the globe. As a child I dreamt of living in a world, where I can freely express my gender and feel loved and accepted. Forty seven years later, here I am today. Proud of who I am. This is my destiny and will continue to do this as long as I live.

STAN: How can people get ahold of you if they would like to engage you and your services.
CELIA: I welcome you to connect with me on [email protected] or LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/celiasandaniels/) Instagram #celiasandaniels
STAN: Thank you Celia, and I wish you the very best in all your endeavors. You are doing important work and I join you on wanting to see significant progress in this area.

Something Cool and New – Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) – Three Actions

From Trans Pride 2020 in the UK

Did something new start this year, or maybe I just wasn’t aware of it?  March 31st as Trans Day of Visibility. So I had to do my research and found the first time March 31st was celebrated as the Trans Day of Visibility was way back in 2009!

Transgender people are becoming much more visible across the world, but there are also a great number of issues around discrimination that need to be addressed. So hopefully more and more people will pay attention to March 31st.

One annual commemoration I have known about and have blogged about a few times is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, started in 1999, about a year after Rita Hester, a transgender woman and activist in Boston, was found murdered in her own apartment. It is very sad that transgender people are murdered or physically harmed at an extremely high rate compared to the general population, often fueled by hatred of this misunderstood segment of our community. I wrote my first blog about the Trans Day of Remembrance back in 2015.

It is indeed very important to focus on the totally unjustified and horrific killing of fellow human beings simply because of their gender identity or expression, and this needs to be addressed. But very importantly, we must go further. We need to move way beyond simply ending the violence, but also addressing systemic prejudice against trans people in employment, housing, education, sports and more.

And we also need to honor and recognize all the wonderful contributions transgender people have made to our world over time.

Transgender people have made great contributions to society, like Martine Rothblatt, inventor of Sirius Radio

In my 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance blog, I shared several organizational policies and procedures that should be put in place to fully support transgender employees.

Now recently, transgender activist and workplace belonging expert Rhodes Perry (see my blog about his book) sent out an email to his many followers this year encouraging all of us to take at least one of 3 actions throughout the year in honor of TDOV:

1) Self-Educate. Participate in one of the Transgender Training Institute’s virtual webinars and support their sustainability campaign.

2) Change Systems. Commit to building gender inclusive systems, policies, and practices by taking the Higher gender inclusion audit.

3) Invest in Trans Leaders. Donate to the Trans Justice Funding Project, and support trans leaders moving & shaking the world.  (Note Total Engagement Consulting contributed $100 to this project on March 31st)

And I myself also love consulting and training in this area, so please never hesitate to get in touch if I can assist you in anyway in advancing transgender and gender nonbinary equity in your organization.

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Do watch my last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance interview for City of Greensboro’s monthly “One Greensboro” diversity broadcast. The tape is now on Youtube –  the first section is about Native American Heritage Month and then my 9 minute interview around Transgender Awareness starts at the 20 min 50 second mark.