How Monica C. Smith Navigated the Intersectionality of Barriers for Marginalized Groups
In commemoration of Women’s History Month (March 2021), our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality (DEII) Committee organized an event with the goal of inspiring our team, but also highlighting the ongoing fight for equal opportunity and equity for women and other marginalized groups in the workplace. In a moment of shared realization, we decided to have a conversation with our very own Monica C. Smith. Monica is a resolute woman and a proud member of the LGBTQ community, and her story is underlined with anecdotes of combating prejudice, overcoming adversity, and staying true to yourself (especially when it is most difficult).
Monica’s journey is a strong example of the intersectionality of barriers/obstacles and the overlapping systems of discrimination experienced by individuals who fall into multiple marginalized communities. When we initially approached Monica with the idea, she expressed a sense of excitement and a determination to follow through with a transparent and “raw” conversation.
In hindsight, we accomplished exactly that. The DEII Committee had some apprehension about catching Monica off guard with employee-submitted questions. However, as soon as the conversation commenced, I realized Monica was fired up and ready to go. She spoke to the genesis of Marketsmith as well as the initial barriers she encountered as a newly out gay woman looking to start her own company in a male-dominated industry. Monica touched upon the encounters that shaped her with vulnerable honesty and directness, paving the way for the rest of the conversation.
Diversity and Authenticity Drive Forward Progress
In talking with Monica, I gained a bit more insight into the struggles women and members of the LGBTQ community face throughout their careers and daily lives. In detailing not only the challenges she faced in starting her own company, but also how she was forcefully removed from her previous employment, Monica highlights the power of living your most authentic life and staying true to what you believe is right, which is now part of Marketsmith’s overall vision; increasing diversity and inclusivity is directly related to the foundation and curation of equitable opportunities for minority groups. Monica has navigated prejudices and outright discrimination that many women and members of the LGBTQ community continue to face today; her story is a reminder of how talented individuals are often overlooked for simply being true to themselves, and of the work we must continue to do to create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive world.