A businessman sits in silhouette on a rainbow against a complex sky, contemplating coming out at work

An Investor’s Lesson to Entrepreneurs

Business has the power to impact society for the better. But that doesn't mean entrepreneurs can't go wrong—and investors know that. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Doug Mellinger shares some tips for realizing meaningful change.

Investing & Diversity: The Changing Faces of Venture Capitalists

Is the venture capital industry embracing diversity in investors? Watch global venture capitalists from around the world discuss the state of things and what needs to be done for a more inclusive future.

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Strategy: Creating Value Inside Your Company

Have you ever wondered why certain companies are more successful than others? The answer is strategy: internal processes that control costs, allocate resources, and create value. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can give you the tools you need for that strategic edge.

Strategy: Understanding the External Environment

To plan strategy on any level, you need to understand your company's external environment. In fact, your level of understanding can impact hiring, budgeting, marketing, or nearly any other part of the business world. Want to learn how to do all that? This course from GLOBIS Unlimited is the perfect first step!

Using Japanese Values to Thrive in Global Business

Japanese companies have unique cultural, communication, and operational challenges. But they also have values that have led to remarkable longevity. Check out this seminar to hear how these values help earn trust from overseas head offices and develop employees.

Turnaround Leadership: The Differences Between Japan and the West

What's the best way for leaders to communicate a shift in corporate strategy? How do you even know when it's time for such a change? This course explains how Japan might have one answer, Western companies another.

Conflict Management

Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. But they can lead to positive outcomes if they’re managed well. Check out this online course for a two-step process that can help you manage conflict successfully.

Evernote Founder: How Tech Startups Can Break through in Japan

Can startup models from Hollywood and Silicon Valley succeed anywhere? Phil Libin, cofounder and CEO of startup incubator All Turtles, explains how AI can solve everyday problems to bring products to market.

Women Empowerment: Lessons from Cartier

How can women overcome gender inequality and reach their leadership goals? Cartier Japan CEO June Miyachi shares her secret in this special course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Marketing: Reaching Your Target

Every company works hard to get its products into the hands of customers. Are you doing everything you can to compete? In this course, you’ll find a winning formula to turn a product idea into real sales. Follow along through the fundamentals of the marketing mix and see how companies successfully bring products to market.

Marketing Mix

Seeing good products into the hands of customers is no easy task. The marketing mix can help. It's a collection of strategies and tactics companies utilize to get customers to purchase their products or services, and is an essential part of the overall marketing process.

The Principles of Negotiation

With the proper skills and attitude, anyone can become a successful negotiator.  But first, you'll need to learn the basics to prepare for, assess, and respond to offers for the best results. GLOBIS Unlimited can help.

Negotiation: Creating Value

Want to create more shared value between yourself and your negotiation opponent? Discover how cognitive bias affects the judgment of others. Try this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to master the value of negotiation.

Finding Your Life Purpose with Ikigai

Ikigai can guide you in your quest for self-discovery. Listen to Japanese brain scientist Ken Mogi explain why and how.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Want to leverage Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a leader? Try this short course to see how the theory can be applied in practical work scenarios.

Confirmation Bias

We all subconsciously collect information that reinforces our preconceptions. It's natural . . . but it does lead to a kind of flawed decision-making called confirmation bias. To become more objective and impartial, check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

An Investor's Lesson to Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have the power to transform societies for the better. But how do you attract investors to start or grow a business? Or to sell one? Check out this seminar for the answers to these and more, straight from a master venture capitalist!

Managerial Accounting

Managerial accounting is a powerful way to measure progress, identify problems, and meet your goals. Check out this course to learn how data-backed decisions can help you run your business.

Finance Basics: 1

For a healthy mix of quantitative planning, evaluation, and management, you need solid decision-making. And finance is the secret sauce! Get the essentials of finance in this two-part course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

Want to compare your performance vs. a competitor? Or evaluate a potential vendor? Then you'll need to conduct a financial analysis. This course will teach you how to use three financial statements and evaluate financial performance in terms of profitability, efficiency, soundness, growth, and overall strength.

Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

Digital Marketing Psychology to Transform Your Business

How does digital marketing really differ from traditional marketing? How is social media changing things really? And what's going on in Asia?

Pyramid Structure

Having the pyramid structure in your communication toolkit can not only help you approach a problem, but convince others that your solution is valid. Break away from linear thinking and test your logical thinking with this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

Finding your kokorozashi will unify your passions and skills to create positive change in society. This GLOBIS Unlimited course will help you develop the values and lifelong goals you need to become a strong, passion-driven leader.

AI First Companies – Implementation and Impact

AI is changing the way companies operate. How do you structure teams to increase efficiency?

Technovate in the Era of Industry 4.0

Is Industry 4.0 is the next step of human evolution human civilization? Dr. Jorge Calvo seems to think so. Join him to learn how the past can help you set goals for an exciting future of digital innovation.

Technovate Thinking

Business leaders of tomorrow need to harness the power of technology and innovation. That means understanding algorithms and how they drive business results. Discover opportunities to make technology work for your competitive edge.

Product Life Cycle

Every product takes a natural course through the market—there's a how, when, and why customers adopt products at different stages. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to find out how a product you use every day is part of this cycle.

Logic Tree

Logical thinking is the most valuable asset any business professional can have. That's why logic trees are such a valuable tool—they can help you identify a problem, break it down, and build it back up to a solution.

MECE Principle

Using the MECE principle can help ensure you categorize without gaps or overlaps. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited for a practical demonstration of how it works!

Joining a new company is always exciting. You have an opportunity to start fresh, wow people with your accumulated knowledge, and upgrade your skills.

But how much of your authentic self can you really show at work?

Fitting into an office culture, even when you’re not new, comes with obstacles. Some rules are written; others are subtext. And if you’re part of an underrepresented group, such as the LGBTQ+ community, things only get more complicated. Even companies that try to embrace DEI don’t always know how to create an environment of psychological safety across cultures, genders, sexual identities, and generations.

Olivier Fabre has enjoyed a long career in media, working with respected outlets such as Reuters and Nikkei Japan. But as a gay man, he’s also experienced self-doubt, discrimination, and systemic inequality. Now he works with Pride House Tokyo Legacy, a hub of NPOs, activists, corporations, and embassies that want to create a safe space for an LGBTQ+ community with much to offer.

We spoke with Fabre about how he found the courage to come out at work across multiple time zones and the obstacles that remain for Japan, Asia, and offices across the world.

Image of Mr. Olivier Fabre
Olivier Fabre

“The moment I actually said it out loud, I realized…”

Insights: To begin, can you tell us how you approached coming out at work? Did you feel it had to be an announcement?

Fabre: I actually came out to the people in the office before I came out to my friends or my family. But I had to come out to myself first.

I was working in Singapore, at the Reuters regional HQ. That was the first time I saw openly out LGBTQ staff—one of them was my boss. She had a girlfriend on the desk, someone on the camera crew was gay, and the engineer was gay.

Then I took a weekend trip with a lesbian camera operator I worked with. We were having beers on the beach, watching the sunset, getting a little tipsy, and I thought to myself, “She’s a lesbian. I can probably talk to her about it.” And so I turned to her and said, “You know, I think I might be gay.” And the moment I actually said it out loud, I realized, “No. I am gay.”

It was a big moment for me, but she just kind of shrugged and said, “Yeah, all right. Good on ya, mate!”

Insights: So it helped to be around coworkers who were part of the LGBTQ community?

Fabre: Yes, but actually, I think what was really important for me was hearing the other non-LGBTQ people talk to their LGBTQ coworkers totally casually.

Once I’d given myself permission to be gay, I started dating guys and found Singapore was, surprisingly, a very easy place to be gay. Then one day I came to the office after a date, and somebody just said, “So who’s the lucky girl or guy?” And that was the moment. It was like an invitation to actually be honest. And that was it.

Next Article

Kan: An Authentic Role Model Taking on Psychological Safety

Psychological safety in Japan has a long road ahead. But public figures like Kan aim to change that by becoming relatable role models for the LGBTQ+ community.
Smiling image of Kan, a Japanese gay man striving to become a role model for psychological safety in Japan

7 Actions to Better Support the LGBTQ+ Community in the Workplace

We finally seem to be entering an era where more people at different levels of influence have the common goal of making their workplaces more welcoming. Here are seven actions to question, improve, and reframe company policies to better support the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace.
A businessman and member of the LGBTQ+ community shake hands over a background with the colors of the transgender pride flag

“In Japan, in those days, it was fine to be gay if you were flamboyant, funny, and foreign. But that wasn’t who I was.”

Insights: Coming out at work in Singapore sounds like it went pretty smoothly, but you’ve also worked in Japan. Was the experience different here?

Fabre: Tokyo was a bit different. It was still fine in the end, but it was something I had to tell people.

In Japan, in those days, it was fine to be gay if you were flamboyant, funny, and foreign. You had to be the entertainer, the comic. And that wasn’t who I was. After Singapore, I came out in the Tokyo office, and it was like, “I’m gay!” . . . met by silence. But it wasn’t a big deal, either.

Insights: Do you think it would’ve been a bigger deal if you were Japanese?

Fabre: At that time, possibly. There were some gay people I worked with in Japan—from the older generation—who were really over the top, to the point where it made other people uncomfortable. And I think, for them, it was a protective shell. A lot of funny people do that. They are self-deprecatingly funny, and it’s fun until you realize they’re trying to protect themselves from somebody saying something really hurtful.

I met some of these people outside of work, and when they were around other LGBTQ people, they behaved much more normally.

Insights: Nowadays, is that pressure to conform to a stereotype fading?

Fabre: It is. For the new, younger generation, I definitely think so. The older generation is still stuck in what I think of as the old OS. We haven’t upgraded.

In Japan, it’s still about baby steps. One thing I’ve noticed is that Japanese people really want the official stamp on things. So once you have the government saying same-sex marriage is OK, it’ll be fine for a lot of people because it’s legal.

“We’ve got a generation of young Japanese LGBTQ people who are politically savvy and media savvy.”

Insights: Why do you think so many people find coming out at work so difficult? Is it pressure to conform, or something else?

Fabre: The best explanation I got was that, particularly in Japan, a lot of people move around within the same company. So they’re concerned that, even if their section of the company now is accepting, the next place they move to might not be. It might follow them, and they won’t have the choice of going back into the closet.

If you try to change companies, it might also depend on the industry. Media, in particular, is a small industry. People usually know each other.

Insights: Is that still a concern for members of the Japanese media?

Fabre: It has changed a lot, but it’s still a concern. There’s a Japanese word taikaikei, which means “sports club.” You’re all in a club together and fighting hard. It’s extremely macho, whether you’re a man or woman. You’re expected to be part of the team and work hard and be as macho as possible. That has changed a lot—some media companies have LGBTQ+ employee groups and even openly out broadcast reporters, but it’s all very recent.

Insights: What triggered the change?

Fabre: It really all started in 2015 with Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward becoming the first in Japan to recognize same-sex marriage. I think we’ve got a generation of young—and when I say “young,” I mean thirties and forties—Japanese LGBTQ people who are politically savvy and media savvy. The previous generation of Japanese LGBTQ activists were more intellectual. They wrote books and magazine articles, but they didn’t have the experience of the bigger corporate world.

Next Article

How to Be an Ally If You’re Not an Activist

You don’t have to be an activist to promote diversity. Everyone is different and can contribute to diversity in small but meaningful ways.

“The moment you confine an identity to a label, you lose the beauty of it.”

Insights: Coming out at work could label you as, say, “the gay guy.” What’s your perspective on labeling identities?

Fabre: Labels are tricky. It’s hard to be the lone voice, and that’s why labels are important. But we have to also be careful that labels don’t confine us. I’m gay, but that’s not all I am. I’m also a third culture kid, also French, also Japanese.

We were recently interviewing these nonbinary Japanese people, and one of them said something interesting about what it means to be nonbinary. We often think about having a line between male and female. But for them, it was more like having red water and blue water separated by a wall, and then having that wall lifted so the waters were mingling.

That’s how I feel my cultural identities are. It’s not French here, Japanese here. There’s a bit here, a bit there, some parts stronger than the others. I think that’s what identities are. But the moment you confine them to a label, you lose the beauty of it.

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