“I Was Honestly Shocked.” Woman Praises Company After Best Response To Her Tattoos.

As anyone who loves tattoos and has a job in the business world knows, having both requires some compromise. Either you can only get tattoos in areas that a summertime professional outfit would cover, or you have to cover everything year-round.

This is exactly what Jessica Hanzie Leonard did — she refrained from getting tattoos on her legs and made sure to always wear long sleeves to cover her arm tattoos. That’s what she expected to do when she got her picture taken for her company’s website, but then her boss surprised her in the best way! Check out Jessica’s incredible story below!

“I saw your new photo on LinkedIn showing your tattoos…I was a bit surprised. You’re not going to use that as your bio photo in proposals, though, right?”

“Oh, wow! I mean, I don’t have any tattoos. Given my role within the Firm, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to have any…to stand in front of our people with tattoos (laughs)…no one would take me seriously.”

These are just two examples of actual comments I’ve received, amongst others, in reaction to me being a business professional with ink. Ironically, most of the negative feedback I’ve received has been from female leaders who I looked to as mentors.

Fast forward to a month ago…I’m getting an updated professional photo taken for my new role as a Partner at Evolution Capital Partners  to put on our website. I was cautious but asked our Managing Partner if he was comfortable with me getting a photo taken sans jacket for my personal use on LinkedIn, but that we’d use one with the jacket for our website.

His response - “Let’s roll with the tattoos in both! Loud and proud!”

I was honestly shocked. I had grown accustomed to wearing long sleeves in the heat of summer, to tugging on my suit coat sleeves in every meeting, to pulling my hair around my ear so no one would get a glimpse of the small tattoo behind my ear, to avoiding getting any leg or ankle tattoos for fear of never being able to wear a skirt again in a business setting. Very often, I simply felt that I needed to be careful about when I was being too freely me.

But then sometimes, you come across those leaders who not only allow you to show up every day as you are, but they also expect it. Those leaders who have recognized that whether I’m in the jacket or not, I’m the same person, the same business professional…a female leader who will most certainly be taken seriously. So a big thank you to those leaders - it’s because of you that everyone can now find me on the Evolution website, and out in the world, being more comfortable in my own skin.

What a great response from her boss! Jessica’s tattoos are beautiful, and we’re so glad she gets to show them off in her professional headshot. Plus, we’re proud of her for sticking up for herself.

Who knows, maybe her story will make it more acceptable for people everywhere to have visible tattoos at work!

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