In 2014 Tim Cook wrote an op-ed for Bloomberg in which he publicly came out as gay—arguably the most prominent business figure to ever do so. This week he told the Washington Post what spurred him to write the op-ed:
I was thinking about kids. I was getting notes from kids who knew I was gay, or assumed I was, because of something they had read on the web. And they were kids who were distraught. Some had been pushed out by their families. They thought they couldn’t achieve anything. They couldn’t do anything. They were seeing the national discourse around it and feeling isolated and depressed. And I just thought—I’ve got to do something.
When asked if he thought speaking out would do that, Cook said:
I thought it would minimally say you can do pretty good in this world and be gay. That it’s not a limiter. It’s okay to be. That it’s okay to be honest about it. I figured if I could help one person, it would be worth it.
Speaking to Fast Company, Cook elaborated on companies tackling moral issues. When asked if public outreach on moral issues, such as LGBTQ rights, helps attract employees, Cook said:
I don’t do it to recruit. I do it because I really believe it. Because I deeply believe. My belief is that companies should have values like people do. This company has values. Just like we have to pick and choose what to work on with products, we have to be very careful about what we pick. Because picking [one cause] means you’re not picking something else, and you can’t pick too many and do them with quality.
[Photo:Leigh Vogel/Getty Images]