Aritra first joined Nielsen in 2011 as a recent graduate and is now a Product Manager in Kolkata, India. In 2018, he helped establish the first South Asia chapter of PRIDE, our LGBTQ+ & Allies employee resource group (ERG), part of a growing network of 24 PRIDE ERGs around the world.
Recently, I was interviewed by someone working on a book about LGBT+ workplace inclusion in India. He asked if I had ever faced any challenges in the office due to my sexual orientation. My answer was quick and short: “No, never!” Surprised, he repeated the question in the hope that I’d reconsider my answer. That time I did spare a few extra seconds to rethink, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, recall a single instance when my sexual orientation had caused me trouble at work. A place where I can enjoy the work that I do without compromising who I am—that’s what Nielsen has given me.
I joined Nielsen fresh out of university back in 2011 as an Innovation Diagnostic Consultant. I was already out as a gay man to my family and friends outside of work, and I had no plans to hide my sexual orientation at work, either. Of course, I wasn’t going to walk around the office carrying a placard proclaiming “I AM GAY,” but I wanted my friends at work to know about my orientation. It was important to me because I knew I would be spending a significant amount of time with them. And, just like other people, I wanted to be able to discuss my vacation plans, how I spent my weekends and with whom, and so on with my colleagues.
My coming out at Nielsen began when I invited a friend from work to accompany me to buy a gift for Valentine’s Day. She didn’t know about my sexual orientation yet, and I was tense thinking about how my co-worker would react when I entered the men’s section of the store. To my surprise, she simply smiled and said, “Ah, it’s a guy! What’s his name?” And just like that, I had my first ally at Nielsen.
Soon after that, I found myself talking about my boyfriend—how he can’t cook and the movie that we watched together and whatnot—with a group of friends (including my manager) during our tea break. Did all of them understand what it meant to be a gay man? Possibly not, and I didn’t expect them to, either. All that’s ever mattered to me is that I’m assessed based on the work that I do and beyond that, I’m just another guy who happens to be gay. Since then, I have often wondered what makes the people I work with more accepting than the society at large. It has to be Nielsen’s fundamental promise to all its employees: that you can Be Yourself.
At Nielsen, “being yourself” goes beyond just feeling comfortable with your gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion. The thing that I most appreciate is that Nielsen supports people in molding their career journeys the way that they want to. By nature, I have always enjoyed creating stuff—be it making soap or trying my hand at terracotta or baking or designing a tool at work—being able to create something has always excited and fascinated me! After spending three years on day-to-day analytics in diagnostic consulting, I really wanted to do some research and development work. Nielsen provided me with an opportunity to join product leadership through one of several leadership development programs. This role was a life-changer; it connected me with Nielsen associates across the globe, exposing me to different ways of thinking, different styles of working, and different cultures. And the more I saw, the more I fell in love with diversity.
In 2018, I told my manager that I wanted to actively contribute to our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) efforts and, once again, I received all the help that I needed. She connected me to the global D&I team and soon after that, I was preparing to launch a PRIDE employee resource group in South Asia. Leading PRIDE in South Asia has made my Nielsen experience even more personal.
Around the world, the experiences of LGBT+ people vary based on their background, the society they live in, and their access to resources; working with PRIDE brings me closer to this variety of people and their unique stories. Today, I can proudly say that my work at Nielsen helps me become a better, more aware, more accepting human being, every single day!