Belton’s story is one that clearly demonstrates attitude is everything, where he goes from college drop-out to Director of cyber security in a global management risk consultancy. Belton’s mother was raised in a convent with nuns in Venezuela before immigrating to the United States and his father was one of three children being raised by a single mother during the ‘Jim Crow era.’
Belton is originally from the United States and was born in Texas where he was frequently the only person of colour. Despite the challenges of growing up in a non-diverse environment, such as being told racist jokes or seeing shocked parents faces when they opened the door to welcome him, he was accepted to Marquette University in 1999, only to drop out after 1.5 years due to finances and personal issues.
For a short period, he was uncertain of his future as he felt like both a statistic and a failure. When he realised he was in control of his life, he returned to Marquette, became a ‘straight A’ student and received offers from three top Global Organisations upon graduation. Belton talks openly about his challenges of being black and gay in a society that was not accepting.
Belton then relocated to London, where he went back into the closet in order not to ‘ruffle any feathers,’ and frequently found himself lying to his colleagues about what he did on the weekend. When he came out publicly, his productivity shot through the roof. Since then, he founded the UK Pride network within his firm as well as Pride in the City – an initiative focused on increasing the conversation of diversity and inclusivity within businesses. In 2017 he was invited by Theresa May to No.10 to attend an LGBT+ reception for his efforts in the D&I space.
Belton is extremely passionate about intersectionality, where he believes it is each person’s role to support other groups who are in the minority – “after all, we don’t want to preach to the converted, we want to educate and inspire people to be more aware and inclusive”.
– Overcoming obstacles
– Intersectionality – being black and gay