In honor of Pride Month, we’re highlighting LGBTQ leaders in the nonprofit world. Today, we talk to our own Randall Thacker.
When Randall was a young child in church, he would borrow paper and pen from his mother and spend the service making plans. He had an idea that he’d like his career to somehow involve planning. After spending a year as a high school history teacher, and a few years selling real estate, Randall went back to school for an MBA, with an emphasis on strategic planning and organizational behavior, from George Washington University. After working as a consultant for both KPMG and Deloitte, a partner at Deloitte told Randall “I think you’re actually coaching.” Randall went back to school again and received a leadership coaching certificate at Georgetown. Today, Randall combines his early love of planning and his fascination with what motivates and drives people and leaders as a leadership coach and strategy consultant. Randall trains on leadership topics and facilitates leadership and strategic planning retreats.
Randall describes his ideal client as one who is “ready and willing to change.”
Personal and Professional Combined
Randall is Mormon and in 2010, he became involved in Affirmation, a group that helps LGBTQ Mormons create communities of safety and acceptance. The organization had been around since the 1970s, but Randall felt like his background in strategic planning and organizational development could help bring the group to a new level. He became President in 2012 and is currently in his last year as a board member. Affirmation now has chapters in countries throughout Latin America and Europe and is well-known within the Mormon community as an organization that affirms LGBTQ Mormons. Randall found the experience of helping to grown an organization and seeing tens of thousands of LGBTQ Mormons affirm themselves and live happier lives with less cognitive dissonance incredibly rewarding.
Randall feels that being gay, and his experiences with his family helps to inform his work. Randall’s mother had Polio and used a wheelchair throughout her life. He also has two intellectually handicapped siblings whom he cares for today. These experiences help him to hear people’s stories and see them for who they are as individuals, without jumping to conclusions and judgements.
As a closeted gay man until his late 20s, Randall experienced the “don’t ask, don’t tell” work environment of various companies in the 1990s and early 2000s. During his orientation day at Deloitte there were booths for various Employee Resource Groups, including a LGBTQ employee group. Randall enjoyed being in an environment where he knew being gay wouldn’t be a problem, and from then on has remained out in both his personal and professional life.
Randall says that in the last five years he has run into more and more out LGBTQ people in leadership than he ever imagined. He says that in the 1980s life as a young, gay man was scary. He couldn’t have imagined the world we live in now and he feels fortunate to have the life and career he has.
At Brighter Strategies, we’ve experienced Randall’s empathy, facilitating skills, and non-judgmental approach to people first hand. We’re proud to have him on our team.