After giving up her career of 10 years in the medical industry, Katie Perkins took a leap of faith to start her business in educating the workplaces about the LGBTQ+ community. She is the founder of LGBTQ+ Workplace Education Center, an organization that helps businesses of all sizes create welcoming and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ employees by offering them affordable training about the issue.
Growing up, Katie has a childhood full of adventures out in nature. She lived in a rural area, mostly farmland with limited career opportunities. She has also lived in several US states before finally settling in the desert climate of Utah in the Southwest. Alongside her full-time job, she also did LGBTQ+ activism for nonprofits to bring courage and visibility to the community. Katie believes in workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion. She often read business magazines and learned about startups to realize she actually wanted to do something for the LGBTQ+ community. She went back to college at 30 to get a business degree. She knew that with no experience in the business field, she must at least have a degree in the same to be taken seriously by the people. Finally, in 2018, she launched her organization and has been striving to make a difference ever since. Katie noticed the gap in knowledge about the LGBTQ+ culture and workplace. So, she created e-learning courses for anyone to take to better assist, understand, and welcome LGBTQ+ employees in their workplace.
Talking more about her organization, she says, “..We specialize in helping businesses create workplace cultures where LGBTQ+ individuals can thrive. Many business professionals learn about diversity from a macro-level and rarely does any institution teach about how to create equity and inclusion specifically for the LGBTQ+ community”. The courses offered by the organization help the workplaces to create LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and procedures. They give the public access to this education at an affordable price.
She had to make a career transition after spending 10 years in the same field. She volunteered and interned in many organizations to gain real experience and insight into how things work. She considers herself lucky to have found entrepreneurs who wanted to help her and let her ask questions. It was a challenge to build her own business while working full time. Katie reminisces the times she gave up going out to sit behind a computer and work towards her dream. She considered giving up but is glad she didn’t. She still juggles with her work but also stresses on the importance of rest and rejuvenation.
Katie and her organization have received positive feedback from the customers. People tell her that they have been looking for such training for years and their search ended with LGBTQ+ Workplace Education Center. She likes to keep a low profile and lets her work speak for itself.
Katie followed her passion and went ahead with her idea, even if it required giving up on her career of decades. Leaving a message for all the brave heart women out there, she says, “If you have an idea, go for it! You will learn so much in the process of getting that idea off of the ground that you will find some unexpected opportunities. Either way, you will be chasing your passion and that will bring you purpose and excitement. Carve your own path, do not wait for one to be handed to you. When you feel like giving up, take a break for a couple of days and then hit it hard for another two weeks and see how far you’ve come”.