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Blog | Apr 7, 2021

Pride in Our People

A Q&A with LGBTQ+ HITT team members Meshal Alenezi and Henry Nguyen

HITT is proud of our LGBTQ+ team members and their individual experiences. With nearly 6% of Americans identifying as LGBTQ+ in a recent Gallup poll, it’s more important than ever to recognize, learn about, and elevate their personal stories. We’re excited to spotlight two LGBTQ+ members of our team, Project Manager Meshal Alenezi and Associate Henry Nguyen, as part of Celebrate Diversity Month. We sat down with them both to hear more about their unique stories and perspectives.

Meshal (left) has been with HITT for three years in our New York office, working on such projects as Adobe’s Times Square corporate office interior. On the weekends, you can find him hiking, biking around New York City, or enjoying brunch with friends.

Henry (right) joined HITT in 2019 and works at our headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia on the corporate accounting team. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends, cooking Vietnamese food, traveling, working on DIY home projects with his husband, or doing nail art as his creative side gig.

Q: At HITT, we strive to create a workplace where people can bring their whole selves to work. What are your thoughts on the importance of people, LGBTQ+ or otherwise, being comfortable with who they are in the workplace?

Henry: Being comfortable and being yourself at work is a big part of morale. If you can be yourself, then your commitment to your job and overall job satisfaction is greater. Also, the workplace is all about building relationships. Trying to do this when you can’t truly be yourself can be stressful and affect job performance.

Meshal: People thrive when they are comfortable in their own skin, and their creativity flourishes when they don’t have to hide behind a false facade. I am 100% myself at work, just as much as in my personal life, and that helps me grow as a person and contribute positively at work. I am extremely grateful to work at a company like HITT where this is possible!

Q: From your perspective, has the workforce—within with architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry particularly—changed over the years for LGBTQ+ individuals? If so, how?

Meshal: I believe it has changed a little, but not at the same pace as other industries that are more progressive. However, with more members of the LGBTQ+ community making themselves visible in our business, it will help bring change and acceptance to the hearts and minds of people in the AEC industry. 

Henry: I have only been working in the construction industry since joining HITT, and initially, I perceived it as male-dominated and conservative. While I still believe the industry overall may be like that, at HITT there are many amazing leaders (especially our CEO) who are helping to create and foster a more diverse team! From my own experience as part of the LGBTQ+ community, I have never felt out of place at HITT. From my department teammates to the colleagues in the offices I support around the country, everyone has always been supportive and respectful of me.

Q: How can we be better allies to LGBTQ+ individuals?

Henry: There are many ways someone can be an ally to LGBTQ+ people:

  • Take part in—or help raise money for—LGBTQ+ causes in the community.
  • Speak up if you hear inappropriate jokes or behaviors from others about the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Offer support to your LGBTQ+ co-workers whenever you can.
  • Don’t make assumptions and use correct pronouns when talking to or describing LGBTQ+ teammates.
  • Encourage inclusive work-related activities, such as recognizing Pride Month.

Meshal: Simply treat us just as you would treat anyone else. At the end of the day, we all just want to be treated fairly and feel a sense of belonging. Our orientation is an important part of our identity, but it’s not the only thing that defines us. I also encourage people to speak up when they see someone being treated unfairly due to their skin color, orientation, religion, etc.

We’re so appreciative of Meshal and Henry for sharing their perspectives, and we’re proud to call them members of our team. To learn more about the employee experience at HITT, visit our Careers page. Read more about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at HITT here.

Follow along as we celebrate HITT team members’ stories all month.

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