Less than 32% of LGBTQIA+ employees in Australia are out to everyone in their workplace and studies reveal that this number is going down. Out For Australia is one of the few charities in the country that is looking to address the issue with its mentorship programs and targeted support for LGBTQIA+ students and young professionals. Alvi Ahmed had first heard about Out For Australia when he as a Finance Graduate in banking. He signed up for the mentorship program with the organisation in 2015. “At the time, my employer was a partner organisation of Out For Australia and I received an email from the employee diversity group with information about the OFA Mentoring Program,” said Ahmed, who holds a Bachelor of Accounting from the University of Technology Sydney and is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA). “As a fresh graduate, I was passionate about being able to share my experiences with University students to help them get into graduate programs of their own. I was also very much open to finding a mentor who could guide the first steps of my career. All-in-all, the LGBTQIA+ mentoring program seemed like a great way to both personally and professionally develop, as well as give back and get involved in the community.” Following a career break and after relocating from Sydney to Melbourne, Ahmed joined OFA as a full time volunteer in 2019. He held various roles including Mentoring Program Coordinator and Data Analyst, before rising up among the ranks to now taking over as OFA’s Chief Financial Officer. “I felt very privileged to have been supported by my graduate program and felt safe enough to have come out at work, however, I also knew how challenging the experience was in past intern roles and felt like I needed to be part of a movement to support that cause,” said Ahmed. According to Ahmed, OFA’s mentorship program not only enriched his professional life, but also ensured a safe space to be with his LGBTQI+ peers and allies. “As a mentor I wanted to help students who were going through graduate recruitment. I had an intense time through graduate recruitment and wanted to help others in any way I could along their journey. I also felt privileged in being comfortable and safe enough to be out at work and wanted to be a visible role model in any way I could,” said Ahmed.

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