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Meet Alan Durand, the power of authenticity

Designed headshot of Alan with text that reads: Kin+ Alan Durand

Our name is intentional. "Kin" refers to family and "Carta" refers to maps. When together, we're Kin + Carta — a group of connected makers, builders and creators, who come together everyday to help our clients build experiences and plot a clear path forward in today's digital world. Carta is what we do, Kin is who we are.

Kin+ is a series that uncovers the experiences, stories and lives of the people who make our collective "Kin" exceptional.

Alan Durand, VP of People and executive sponsor of Kin + Carta's Pride+ affinity group, is a passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ inclusion. His own experiences shaped his commitment to fostering a culture of belonging. Beyond this, his life journey has instilled in him the power of authenticity. This Pride Month, we spotlight some of his story and the impact he's making on creating a workplace where everyone feels empowered to be their authentic selves.
Alan in the office

26 years ago I came out for the first time. I was 16, standing in my childhood bedroom, alone, and looking in a full-length mirror. I said out loud to myself what I had been thinking for a while... I'm gay.

I've probably come out every day since then in some way shape or form. Each time I come out it's different. Sometimes it seems like a momentous occasion, like when I came out to my parents, and other times it seems like an afterthought, like when a coworker asks who I brought to the wedding I attended over the weekend. No matter how many times I come out, every time I do, it comes with some risk.

Living authentically is not for the faint of heart. It requires doing the work to discover who we truly are and then having the courage to unapologetically present that to the world.

When I came out to my parents, one of them shared their fear that my life would be more difficult and yes, my life has been more difficult. Along the way, I have encountered my fair share of people who have teased, bullied, threatened, harassed, became violent, or simply looked down their noses at me. Despite all of that, living authentically has ultimately been my key to unlocking a life that is so much better than I ever could have imagined as a scared 16-year-old.

By being unapologetically true to myself, I've been able to find allyship, sponsorship, and I have been able to give back to others.


College was the first time I truly understood the power of allyship. It was the first few weeks of freshman year, I was standing in the hall of my dorm, and one of my hallmates asked if I was gay. I froze for a second, took a deep breath, and said yes. What happened next was amazing. This person expressed their support and told me that if anyone gave me a hard time they would be there to help. It was like a weight lifted. It was when I knew everything would be ok. A conversation that probably lasted less than two minutes gave me the confidence needed to live authentically throughout my time in college.

Alan in his college years
Alan in his college years


Shortly after college, I moved to Washington, DC and I started working for a large bank.  When I first started, I made the decision not to come out at work. It was the early 2000s, I was new to the corporate world, and I thought that being out would lead to less opportunity. I was wrong. Hiding who I was meant that I wasn't forming real relationships with my coworkers and the time, energy, and effort I was spending to hide kept me from doing my best work. After a few months, I came out, found the bank's LGBT employee resource group, and started building real relationships with my coworkers. That's the point when everything changed. I quickly found incredible support, mainly from senior-level women, who not only mentored me but provided me with opportunities to work on high-visibility projects and take on new tasks that expanded my skills. All of which led to rapid career growth and the opportunity to change departments so I could pursue a career in Human Resources.

Alan during his visit to the Bogota office
Alan at Kin + Carta in his role in Human Resources today

Giving back

By the time I arrived at Kin + Carta, I had worked for 4 different companies. All of which had different cultures. At some, differences were tolerated, at some differences were accepted, but the places where I thrived the most were places where differences were celebrated.  Today, I'm lucky to be able to play a role in creating that type of culture at Kin + Carta. From designing benefits that support different life journeys, to embedding bias education at critical times (like promotion and pay decisions), to putting in place policies, processes, and metrics (like pay equity tracking) that focus on fairness, I am able to help create a more equitable workplace that celebrates and protects all different types of people. This includes those who hold different beliefs and value systems from my own. Everyone deserves to be celebrated, everyone should feel safe to let their magic out, and in doing so create better lives for themselves and better outcomes for our clients.

Alan presenting to his team
Alan presenting to Bogota Kin

At Kin + Carta, I get to be authentically me and I hope that serves as a beacon to others that they can be authentically themselves and, in doing so, will find success and support.

Curious to learn more about the culture influenced by Alan’s authentic leadership?

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