By Helmut Lucero Domagalski
The realities of starting and operating a business on your own can be a daunting task for anyone. They certainly were for me – regardless of my sexual orientation. I was, as a young man, innately risk averse. Maybe that was because I learned quickly to draw inside the lines – for fear of sticking out MORE; maybe its was because my parents were rule followers – regardless, the concept was foreign and scary.
One of the greatest awakening in my life was attending the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where I received my MBA. My emphasis areas were biotechnology, strategy, and entrepreneurship. And yes, I was a super nerd. I love learning, and always have and always will. I strongly recommend core business classes to any adult – period. My mind was shocked to understand how the finances of a business worked, how power played out in its culture, and how operations and process truly could make or break an enterprise.
I competed and placed in a startup competition! The Kellogg Cup! I loved all of it – developing your problem, creating a business model with a Net-Present-Value, researching end user behavior, developing a team together – it was incredible. Money is what makes the world go round in many ways – and a solid understanding of it will benefit everyone.
One of the wisest things a professor told me was that to DO your job, you MUST be able to leave your job. This has proven true repeatedly. Being plain honest with yourself and with those around you is crucial for a business to operate. How many times have I seen companies fail to deal with fact, with truth? The Truth will set you Free, always. Don’t be scared to see the truth, to call it out, and then to propose ways to fix it and lead people to those solutions. Practicing business, learning it by doing, has been a very important education and one that I am so very thankful for. I learned business by putting my shoulder alongside other work sergeants in the trenches – gay, straight, lesbian – don’t care.
Well I didn’t care. I am CERTAIN that some others did. I am not privileged to be a good-old-boy or a good-old-girl. Instead, I am a good-old-gay, and finding allies and supporters in unique places in a company was a way of life. I am lucky to have come around to my queerness at this point in history. Others have fought the fight so I could at least sashay a little bit. Naturally, I was met with many challenges in work that related to my queer identity. Our battles are not entirely over – don’t let a little bit of gay love in corporate jargon fool you.
But when you are a queer person and see challenges, my advice is to keep forward relentlessly. Taking the time to rage against the system will do nothing for you – keep at it, find the way to make your goals come to fruition for yourself and change hearts and minds in the process thru your excellence.
PRACTICE GAY BUSINESS
Starting The Gayly Dose was a cute idea when I started it, but it is at the intersection of everything that would have made a former Helmut extremely uncomfortable.
Take a risk? Sure – how about funnel hours and hours and hours of your life into something that you have no guarantee will circle back to you? Take thousands of dollars and funnel them behind the hours. That my friend is risky
Am I sure I am gay? Well, if you were not, you better be now. Creating this podcast has squarely made me ask every question that is deepest to the fabric of who I am. Without a religion to tell me, without a parent to tell me, without anything but my own experience. If you weren’t out before, you are now!
A business built with gays? This idea itself is almost insane at times when I contemplate it. I love my fellow gays – but building a company with them can be a lion’s den of emotion, temper, and passion, yet it can be hilarious, creative and beautiful. Anything worth creating is going to be hard to do.
A business for gays though? A business whose cornerstone is the GAY experience – now that is a GAY business. This adventure will grow only if it is serving the COMMUNITY for which it is made. That is a tall order, when you consider how mean, fickle, and judgmental people in the community can be of each other and each other’s successes.
But – it’s all about the Mission!
What I have found that overcome all of these hurdles is that the MISSION of this adventure supersedes the fear or the uncomfortableness of it. To seek to elevate our community – to seek to have discourse and dialog that make us immensely better – to want to help foster and encourage a generation of fathering and mothering gays that care for our own – that build each other up and helps lift our mutual queer heads up to the immense possibilities of the future – that is something that excites me.
This excites me not from the position of fame, or religion that tells you how you MUST behave and act for acceptance, but rather – it excites me because simply asking us to think a level deeper, to contemplate, and then share with one another – this is the only way the Queer Community will accelerate our evolution and growth.
Like straight society – intergenerational integration is critical for our social evolution. But unique from them, for us, it is not driven by childbirth. Rather, we must take the extra effort of adopting “sons” and “daughters” without blood lines – to ensure we are investing in future generations. While these can be peers, mush more informative are the bonds that cross decades of our humanity! This is a meaty and real mission for which a gay business is worth taking on.
I am excited to see its ultimate outcome. What I know today is that I am having such an incredible time delving into our guests, and thinking and dreaming about a future gay world. A world that can exist if we continue to learn to love each other, and foster and celebrate the best kind of outcomes in each other!
Create a business and make it GAYYYYYYYY. This is The Gayly Dose