Kirk SnyderKirk Snyder speaks and writes about why organizations under the management of white-collar gay male executives are more harmonious, interconnected, and successful. Best known as the author of “The G Quotient” and “Lavender Road to Success,” Kirk is recognized as an authority on the contemporary workplace and business leadership. Career and money… since these are our two favorite topics here at Queercents, I asked Kirk to shed light on finances, the Fortune 500 and coming out at work!

1. Do you think sexual orientation can be a career asset and is there any correlation with earning potential?
I believe reaching one’s fullest potential can only be achieved when you’re living life as yourself. “The G Quotient” is all about how being gay can actually enhance your career when it comes to being an effective manager. And of course, if your employees are happy, you’re going to make more money because they are also going to be more productive, creative and committed to doing excellent work. While doing research for my first book, “Lavender Road to Success,” I found that the average salaries of those who were out of the closet were fifty percent higher than their closeted peers. It pays to be true to your soul.

2. What is your most significant memory about money?
That it comes in birthday cards! Forget the cake, I remember running for the mail the week leading up to my birthday to see who might have sent me money!

3. What is your worst habit around finances?
Going to Neiman’s last-call sale every year.

4. You wrote at the Huffington Post that some gay business leaders are of the mindset that they are less valuable as human beings due to their sexual orientation. Why is it still a challenge for a gay person to be out and run a Fortune 500 company?
Before we can convince the world that we are just as worthy of success as everyone else, we have to believe it ourselves. The mindset of human beings can be very difficult to change particularly for those folks who were closeted due to necessity when establishing their careers in the 70’s, 80’s, etc. We simply haven’t been in that “out” corporate pipeline long enough to develop out of the closet CEO’s–although I believe we’ll see the first out CEO within the next five years.

The other challenge is that corporate boards are primarily older white conservatives who will never get with the idea that diversity and inclusion are good for business. To be blunt, when they die and are replaced with more contemporary thinkers–which is happening now–the landscape will change.

5. Do you think people assume roles based on earnings in queer relationships?
That’s a great question. I think in any relationship where one partner earns more than the other, the one who is making more money is going to somehow feel they deserve to be more in charge. I think it’s just part of human nature. Maybe even more so for us because we don’t have community property laws to even things out. But I also think that queer relationships today are not necessarily based on traditional male/female roles. The bottom line is whatever works for each couple is the right way to go.

6. Is grad school or an MBA worth the time and money?
I think it depends on your field. Overall, a graduate degree opens more doors by establishing you as a specialist. For many people it’s an issue of self-esteem. For example, I know folks who have a personal need to be able to say, “I have an MBA.” In that context, it’s important because the better you feel about yourself the more successful you’ll be. The big mistake I think is rushing into grad school. Take some time to get your feet wet in your field of choice and then make the decision.

7. How did you learn the value of a hard earned dollar?
Growing up I loved model cars and if I mowed the lawn I would earn enough money to buy a new one. And just so your readers know I wasn’t exactly a macho little boy, I also loved troll dolls!

8. At Queercents, we often write about the need to be out at work and have even quoted you a few times. Why is it important for professionals to come out to colleagues whether they are bosses, coworkers or subordinates?
It’s about education. The more people who get to know us as good neighbors, talented co-workers and company leaders, the less homophobia there will be in the world. Bigotry of any kind is rooted in fear of the unknown, so by coming out and being ourselves, we are changing the world.

9. Why do you think celebrities like Suze Orman and John Amaechi stayed in the closet during their primary earning years? Was it only about money?
I definitely don’t think it was all about money. I think the path to coming out is something unique for everyone and more often than not, highly complex. But in this TMZ world, the more celebrities who come out the faster that education equation will extrapolate out into the world because of the media.

10. Is there truth to the saying, do what you love and the money will follow?
It’s the golden rule as far as I’m concerned. Life is too damn short not to have a good time. If you look at the super-wealthy who earned their money themselves rather than inheriting it”you’ll find people who love what they do and find immeasurable joy in their work. Martha, Oprah, Donald — they all love what they do!

More about Kirk Snyder
Kirk Snyder book Kirk Snyder is nationally recognized as an authority on the contemporary workplace and business leadership. At the University of Southern California, Kirk teaches business communication in both the undergraduate and graduate programs at the USC Marshall School of Business. In addition, he speaks nationally on the subject of business leadership and gay workplace issues.

Kirk’s new business leadership book, The G Quotient, has sparked a national debate since its release in June 2006 on the rising profile of gay executives in Corporate America and their impact on management in the age of communication.

His debut book in 2003, Lavender Road to Success, was honored by Amazon as one of the best books of the year as a top ten editors’ pick. He holds an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Southern California and a graduate degree in communication from Pepperdine University.

Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.