Why Tim Cook's Coming Out Matters

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Apple CEO Tim Cook's announcement in Bloomberg Businessweek that he's "proud to be gay" makes him the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to publicly come out. Cook claims that he's not an activist, but marketing strategist Dorie Clark, author of "Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future," told Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson why this is significant in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Interview Highlights: Dorie Clark

On why Tim Cook coming out matters

“It actually makes a huge difference. Up to now... there were zero Fortune 500 executives who are openly gay. He has shattered the so-called pink ceiling, and it’s a very big deal for diversity and equality."

“Ninety-one percent of Fortune 500 companies had anti-discrimination policies that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and yet, nonetheless, out of 500 Fortune 500 CEOs zero felt comfortable coming out as gay? There is a kind of cognitive dissonance there, and so with Tim Cook stepping forward, it makes it OK. People now realize coming up through the ranks, you can be successful as a CEO and openly gay.”

On the cultural impact of Tim Cook’s announcement 

“If Tim Cook, the leader of one of the most respected companies in the world, is able to do it and show he’s a great CEO then I think it opens the doors for just about anybody to say, ‘That could be me.’”


This segment aired on October 31, 2014.


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