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      Living Authentically & Celebrating Pride Week

      Hey Instructure fam,

      Happy Pride Week!

      I look forward to this week every year because it represents something huge for me personally. It represents my transformation from an insecure person who was unsure what pathway to take in life to a fully-formed human who loves himself and wants to make the world a better place.

      One of my favorite things about Pride Week is hearing stories from my friends in the LGBTQIA+ community about how they came out and, ultimately, came into who they are. Today, I’d like to share my story and thank the wonderful educators and mentors that gave me the love and confidence to do so.

      I grew up in Utah and spent most of my youth and early adulthood in the closet. In fact, I didn’t come out until I was in my mid-30s. This had a huge impact on my growth both personally and professionally because I spent a large amount of my childhood and early career telling myself and others a story that wasn’t true. This inauthenticity made it challenging to make decisions. I didn’t know which classes to take or which major to choose, and I didn’t know what career path I truly wanted. I wasn’t able to be my true self until I came out.

      Luckily I was surrounded by amazing people who helped me through this time. I had amazing teachers, school advisors, therapists, career mentors, and friends that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. During Business School at the University of Utah, I had professors that forced me to think about what I wanted in a career, in life, and as a human. They challenged me in ways that made me look internally at the person that I was.

      I never realized the impact that my schooling had on helping me come out of the closet and become me until I came to Instructure. Today, I use those experiences to shape my role as a leader by striving to create spaces where everyone can be authentic every day, and I hope to be that person for someone else.

      So this week, I want to celebrate the person that I have become, the people who helped me get here, and the company I work for that helps educators and students come together to transform each other.

      Have pride & keep learning,
      Will Spendlove, VP of Product Marketing at Instructure