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Jeff Gennette
Courtesy of Macy's, Inc.

Jeff Gennette

Jeff Gennette

Meet one of the artists, disruptors, educators, groundbreakers, innovators, and storytellers who all helped make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ people.

In February Jeff Gennette — the CEO and chairman of Macy’s Inc. — will retire after more than 40 years with the company. A gay man and self-proclaimed “Barbra Streisand admirer,” Gennette came out early in his career and now leads an increasingly inclusive and diverse workforce of more than 90,000 people.

“When I started my career at Macy’s in the early 1980s, I made the decision to be out at work,” says Gennette. “Even though I was working for a diversity-friendly Macy’s division in San Francisco, for many years I was the only out senior leader. My goal then was not so much to be seen and heard but to live [and] work being who I am.”

At the time, Gennette thought that coming out would limit his professional opportunities. “Instead, that freedom gave me the self-confidence to grow my career,” he says. “Therefore, I encourage all our employees to be authentic, to be seen and heard.”

In his role as chairman and CEO, Gennette has been a champion of diversity. Under his leadership, Macy’s launched S.P.U.R. Pathways, an initiative to bring diverse and underrepresented entrepreneurs into Macy’s. “[With S.P.U.R. Pathways], our aim is to form strategic partnerships with more female- and diverse-owned businesses by providing access to working capital and our many legacy resources,” he says. “We want to help spur the next generation of brands and service providers.”

As Gennette closes out his career at Macy’s, he is looking forward to retirement and getting the chance to spend more time with his husband and their daughter. Reflecting on his legacy, Gennette advises people to “be who [they] are.”

“Career opportunities are less restrictive than they were for me when I started,” says Gennette. “I believe living, working, and contributing authentically enriches our communities and workplaces.” @macys


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