Years ago, while working to obtain his engineering degree, John DeRosa sat down with a career advisor to align his resume with his career dreams. He was ready to showcase his well-rounded education, experiences, and volunteer service to the world. He was not ready, however, to compromise who he was to increase his chances of landing a job in the engineering industry.
As a student, John participated in a multitude of organizations and extracurriculars. One of his proudest accomplishments involved regular community outreach and public speaking to educate the broader community about the diverse identities of LGBTQ people. The involvement took a significant amount of time and was an area that John was passionate about. It also allowed him to hone his skills in communication, leadership, and emotional intelligence.
When meeting with a career advisor, reality hit in discussing if and how this volunteer experience should be presented. The fact of the matter was that some employers or hiring managers would view John’s involvement with LGBTQ education as a negative. If specifics of this outreach were disclosed, then unjust biases or prejudices could impair his chances during the job application process.
In facing this dilemma, John had three options to consider: 1. Include the experience but keep it vague in both name and description. 2. Remove the experience from the resume altogether. 3. Proceed with the name and detailed description, understanding that it may limit opportunities.
John’s decision to showcase the entirety of the experience on his resume rested on his values, recognizing he would much rather work in an organization that was accepting of his truth as a member of the LGBTQ community than in an organization that was unwelcoming.
In May 2016 John joined BC as an intern and, four years later, he has now grown to a senior staff environmental engineer. Nowadays he spends his time working primarily on infrastructure projects for various clients to solve complex water and wastewater challenges. He also continues in his work to create a positive, more inclusive environment in the engineering industry. It has always been especially important to John to create a place where everyone is respected and valued.
“I am passionate and still actively devote my time and energy to create a more inclusive space because everyone deserves to live and embrace their truths. My hope is to contribute to a world that allows people to thrive and succeed.”
In 2019, John worked with BC to create the LGBTQ Community & Allies Employee Network Group (ENG), aiming to provide support for both employees and allies of the LGBTQ community by promoting a culture of openness and inclusion. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response since formation of the ENG, engaging employees throughout the company and country. During this year’s Pride Month in June, the group was key in leading the company to honor and recognize the importance of Pride. Throughout the full month, the group hosted several activities to engage and involve employees. The successful ENG continues to positively impact and grow with hundreds of members joining across BC.
In addition to his dedication to the LGBTQ Community & Allies ENG, John has supported those around him by mentoring BC interns; supporting Rising Professionals in BC’s Mid-South area through an extensive professional development program; volunteering at the annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day; and helping guide local middle school students through an annual two-month-long Model Water Tower Competition.
On weekends, John loves getting outside to play tennis and to take day hikes. His love for tennis sprouted from it being his family’s favorite sport activity during his childhood. Growing up with two older brothers and an older sister, John has been playing tennis since about the age he could pick-up a tennis racket. Apart from tennis, his most recent weekend adventures have included hikes to visit local swimming holes in the North Georgia mountains. When he cannot find time to travel away from the city on hikes, John also enjoys running to clear his head.