Thankfully Nicolas never felt like he needed to be in the closet when at work. In a period when the majority of students go back in the closet when they start their first job, Enterprise works hard to provide an open and inclusive working environment where employees can be their true selves at work. Nicolas tells us about his diverse career with Enterprise, spanning two continents and three countries, and how he has always been welcomed with open arms wherever is career with Enterprise has taken him.
Nicolas Al Maalouf
What is your role at Enterprise:
I provide support to our franchise locations across Europe.
I have worked in Florida, France and the UK with Enterprise.
Why do you enjoy working for Enterprise?
There are so many opportunities at Enterprise for progression. No matter who you are, everyone has great job prospects, giving us all a bright future. It is also a company that places great value on allowing others to feel comfortable about sexual orientation, which is so important to me.
How does Enterprise support LGBT+ employees and allies?
Enterprise do so much to support its LGBT+ employees! We participate in fun community events all around the world, such as pride events, and we also have diversity committees that meet regularly to discuss internal initiatives and raise awareness around homophobia.
Tell us a little bit about your career with Enterprise. How did you start and how did you get to where you are now?
I’ve moved around a bit during my career with Enterprise, which has been so fun! I first started working in one of the Disney branches in the Orlando area as an intern. After a few years I moved to Lyon in France to be a Branch Manager. Then 3 years ago, I moved to the UK to work in our Franchise team. One of the best things about my job is that I “live” in the UK but all of my work is on the European continent, so I travel a lot — I guess I have the best of both worlds!
Did you feel you needed to come out to your colleagues? How did they react?
I came out as gay to my colleagues only a few months after accepting it for myself because it felt right. I was expecting it to be difficult and to shock so many people but the reality is that my sexual orientation did not matter to them — I think that is exactly how it should be.
What has been your experience with being out? Have you ever had a particularly bad or good experience because of your sexual orientation at work?
Most of my colleagues know my husband and whenever I get invited to something it is always for the two of us. It is a great feeling to be respected as a gay couple. Sometimes working in different countries can be tricky because not everywhere is as gay friendly as the UK. I remember one time I was speaking to someone in Greece about my husband. He kept asking me where “she” was from. I told him it was a man and continued my story, but he kept asking me about “her”. It was funny for me because part of it was a language issue and the other part was the cultural understanding of homosexuality. I ended up showing a picture to him, so he could fully understand what I was trying to say.
Who are your LGBT role models in business? Who do you look up to? How have they helped you?
When I joined the Franchise department I learned that the head of the department was a gay man and I didn’t realise this until it came up in casual conversation. When a senior officer of the company is openly gay it sets a great example for anyone who has any concern about how one’s career prospects will be impacted if they choose to be who they really are at work.
What changes or improvements would like to make within Enterprise in order to make us a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
The work that Enterprise does for diversity and inclusion is amazing. I think we just need to continue to work very hard to ensure that when people join the company they don’t go back in the closet.
How would you compare Enterprise to other companies you know or have worked for as a diverse and inclusive workplace?
I ask myself this question a lot but since this is my first job out of university I can not make a true comparison. What I can say is that I have a friend in the UK who is not out at work because he does not feel like it is anyone’s business. I am not sure if this is because of the company he works for or if it is a personal battle he is fighting, but all I know is that Enterprise have never felt like I needed to be in the closet. Enterprise always encourages their employees to be their true selves at work.
Want to join a company that has made a true commitment to recruiting, developing and retaining the best talent, regardless of sexual orientation? Search for our latest graduate jobs and internship opportunities in your area and see where your career could take you.