myGwork spoke to the Inside Sales Manager at RS America about LGBTQIA diversity in the workplace
BY DYLAN MANN-HAZELL
“I started from the ground up, and that was a pivotal moment for me – just being able to be recognized. I always had a voice, but I never felt like it was heard until then.”
Bliss Anderson, Inside Sales Manager – National Accounts at RS Americas, spoke to myGwork about the impact her unique upbringing had on her passion for inclusivity. Discussing the gradual realisation of her identity, and the importance of keeping an open-minded social circle, she describes how RS Americas has been a consistent pillar of support throughout her career.
An immediately noticeable characteristic in Bliss Anderson, evident within seconds of meeting her, is the undisguised positivity and openness with which she leads her life. As she relayed what many would describe as a difficult childhood – losing her mother at a very young age and dealing with an absent father – she did so with resilience and optimism, describing the incredible role her great-grandmother played in her upbringing. With no one else to take her in and look after her properly, Bliss’s great-grandmother stepped up, providing an almost century-long gap in life experience. Typical assumptions would point towards this resulting in a rather conservative upbringing, but Bliss described how any differences they had merely opened her eyes to various life perspectives. With her great-grandmother passing away by the time Bliss turned 21, she looks back on this time with fondness and great appreciation for her guardian.
“My great-grandmother was definitely my saving grace; she was my hero,” Bliss reminisced. “I probably put her through the wringer a lot, as we do as children and teenagers, but I appreciate her more now in my life than ever. And I know she’s my angel watching over me, and I hope she’s proud of me.”
After experiencing an unsuccessful marriage in her early 20s, it took a while for Bliss to feel comfortable exploring new relationships without the memory of her ex-husband impacting her confidence. However, after a few years, she began going on nights out with friends to LGBTQIA venues, being properly exposed to the community for the first time. Here, she discovered the depth of her feelings towards women and entered her first queer relationship. Though it didn’t last, they remained friends, and Bliss expressed gratitude for being introduced to a community of people who finally, truly understood her.
“This world was so vibrant and so loving, and I just loved it. I love the feeling I had when I was around these people.”
Throughout her work life in the sales industry, Bliss found comfort in the social aspect – making connections and meeting new people. This natural knack for adding a personal touch to her work allowed her to excel in her application for electronics distribution company RS Americas (previously Allied Electronics). Starting in 2011 as an Inside Account Representative in what they called the National Sales Center, then advancing to the Fort Worth Branch as an Inside Key Account Manager, excelling to end up in a hybrid role in domestic and export/international sales.
Though she was enjoying her career, and her newfound expression within the LGBTQIA community, there were still aspects of her life that inhibited her enjoyment. Feelings of abandonment and the betrayal she had experienced throughout her life left her feeling guarded and cautious when it came to romance. However, just one week into her new job, Bliss met the woman who would become her wife – and everything changed.
“I never thought I would go down the path of being married and having children with a woman,” Bliss said. “I’d felt like everything was going downhill and I started seeing myself drowning. But when I met my wife, it was like everything made sense. I dropped all my walls; every single one I’ve had in my life. She opened my eyes and we just connected.”
In 2021, she landed herself in a conversation around the opening of an Inside Sales Manager role to manage a newly created Inside National Account Managers team. Despite a lack of experience in management, the interview process went incredibly well, and a combination of her existing knowledge and expertise, as well as a personable aspect of what she could bring to the team, landed her a role as the Inside Sales Manager – National Accounts at RS Americas.
“I took a leap of faith and just said, ‘This is not a bad thing’,” she said. “So, I started from the ground up, and that was a pivotal moment for me – just being able to be recognized. I always had a voice, but I never felt like it was heard until then.”
The relaxed and inclusive culture at RS Americas allowed Bliss to talk openly about her relationship without any fear of discrimination or judgement from colleagues. An essential part of coming to work for her is being able to feel like she can be her authentic self and not be wary of how she may be treated. This confidence was also built through the help of other LGBTQIA people at RS Americas who were out and proud in the workplace.
“If I’m amongst my peers, I can say ‘my wife’ and I actually don’t hesitate like I used to. Watching other people be able to do it made me feel more confident that I can, and that’s exactly the culture we want to build.”
Looking to the future at RS Americas, Bliss has nothing but admiration for how her team handles matters of diversity and inclusion. Her main concern now is maintaining that support net for employees, and encouraging others to live authentically.
“I love my job, I love the company I work for, and I love everybody there. We just need to continue to go down this path of being vocal as an organisation, and continue our support.”
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