Washington Business Journal: Stephanie Turner “My Story”
Stephanie Turner, MITRE’s vice president of inclusion, diversity, and social innovation was recently featured in Washington Business Journal’s “My Story” series.
I grew up in one of the Whitest, wealthiest towns in the United States: Lexington, Massachusetts. As a young girl, I had no idea how privileged I was until I became a young adult. The family business was academia, so my two younger sisters and I were surrounded by Black undergrad and graduate students, professors, and college administrators throughout our formative years. To this day, when I hear people say they “just can’t find any” with the skill sets and capabilities, I think, “Really? Where are you looking? Because we are out there.”
I was always proud of my family, and I also knew I was different in so many ways. As the only Black student in my grade from Lexington for most of my elementary through high school years, I quickly learned and experienced what being different felt like.
Struggling with my self-identity when I was young led to my being depressed and wanting to fit in or assimilate. Without fully understanding it, I built up layers of protective veneer: a Black girl who could make it in a White world. And that girl had to be smarter, more outgoing, and more successful at every level just for the price of entry.
What’s more, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that another part of me was revealed. At Motorola, I was working with our LGBTQ+ business council and someone asked me why I never came to the events with a date. Someone else put it to me directly: was I gay?