No more secrets

Speechwriter comes out at work—for the second time in her career. "I knew I had to do it," says Kathleen Wyatt.

Speechwriter comes out of closet (again). Kathleen Wyatt is an executive speechwriter at Shell, in London. On the company blog, she writes about recently coming out as gay—for the second time in her career. The first was at The Times of London, where she was a reporter.

But if I thought that coming out once was enough, I was wrong. I realized that, when I started a new career, in a new industry … with 82,000 potential new colleagues.

I have now been at Shell a year and a half—and I have avoided the “partner” topic a few too many times. When I joined Shell, I was introduced to the GTKY culture. … It is short for “get to know you”—and is an acronym that means you can contact almost anyone in Shell and ask them half an hour of their time.

Those GTKYs helped me to make connections, learn about Shell and get a glimpse of how everything fits together. But after my 25th coffee with a new person, I began to dread the personal part.

Energy transition? Gearing? Turbines? How fascinating. My fiancée? Silence. I was wasting my opportunity to really GTKY anyone at all. …

I may have panicked when I was asked to write this blog, but I knew I had to do it. As a writer at The Times, I had to write about it. Now, as a speechwriter at Shell, I have to talk about it. Not just so I can avoid awkward chats, but because I have the opportunity to speak out.

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