by Erica Allie Mack, Manager, Retail Field Sales

Three years ago, Samsung debuted a marketing campaign titled “Ostrich,” showing the flightless bird who learns how to fly after stumbling upon a VR headset. I watched that video while sitting in Samsung’s annual National Training Meeting and by the end of it was in tears. As I listened to our company’s leadership present about how our company dares to dream, dares to be different and dares to do what can’t be done, one uncomfortable reality overcame me: I have had to spend most of my life doing the exact opposite because I identify as transgender.

Since I was four years old, I lived a life in the comfort zone of valuing acceptance and blending in. I tried to accept the gender identity I was born with in order to survive. I was male, and I thought I had to act like it—especially at work.

A transgender life is certainly not an easy one. It has taken me a lifetime of learning how to accept myself and embrace being uniquely different to arrive at a place where I can truly say, I like who I am. Looking back on that day at Samsung’s training meeting and watching the Ostrich learn to do something everyone knows an Ostrich cannot do lit a fire inside of me. That moment became the final turning point for me to break the boundaries I had set for myself, because of others and society — hiding from the world, fearful and full of shame. Only my family, closest friends and allies in the LGBTQ+ community were privy to my struggles.

Erica Allie Mack

Erica Allie Mack speaking on behalf of Samsung Electronics America’s employee resource groups, the Equality Alliance and Women in Samsung Electronics (WISE) at the company’s National Retail Meeting in Las Vegas earlier this year.

But I found my courage, faced my fears and discovered my voice. I believe that capitalizing on our differences and diversities will lead the way to innovative and creative solutions to the problems we face. My life now is full of possibilities—things that were once impossible are now just obstacles I will overcome and goals I have yet to achieve.

Erica Allie Mack (back row, third from left) gathers with other Samsung Electronics America employees who participated im the Out and Equal conference in Washington D.C. in October 2019.

My name is Erica Allie Mack and I identify as a Transgender woman. In honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility and as a proud member of the Samsung Equality Alliance, our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, I am honored to share my story. I hope this helps just one of my fellow “ostriches” out there find their wings and fly.