Barry Dallman - Workforce Planning Specialist E&R

About the author : Brand and Communications Team
Published on : 7/5/22
  • Coming from a military background that was ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ when it came to sexuality and gender identity, Barry could have never imagined working in a company like Sodexo where employees are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work.

    It was Barry Dallman’s dream as a young person in Midwest USA to be the ‘all American boy next door’. When Barry left high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force (USAF), in pursuit of this goal, as an Airman where he found himself supressing his sexuality to ‘fit in’ and remain ‘fit for service’.

    Fast forward 20-odd years, and Barry is living openly in Perth with his husband while playing an active role in advancing Sodexo’s LGBTQIA+ network and courageously sharing his story with teams as part of Pride Month celebrations.

    "While I normally prefer keep my private life separate to my work life – to be acknowledged for the work I do rather than how I identify – I wanted to share my personal story to normalise and make Pride recognition more relevant to the team,” he said.

    If people don’t understand your experience, they will not understand your perspective or why it’s important to be an ally.”

    As a Workforce Planning Specialist, Barry leads the scheduling department for one third of Sodexo’s mining operations. This means actively liaising between the recruitment teams and Village Managers and Third Party Labour suppliers to forward plan rosters and predict and prevent staff shortages on-site.

    His oversight of these operations, combined with exposure to various positions within Sodexo and his natural empathy, has resulted in an acute understanding of the importance of people management and fostering productive and safe working environments.

    Barry left the USAF and immigrated to Australia after meeting his husband in the Australian Outback in 2013. At this time, while on a working holiday visa he turned to hospitality sector. 

    “We’d moved to Perth because my husband’s family was there. At the time the Perth hospitality scene was competitive, and I would have needed three part-time jobs to make ends meet,” Barry said.

    "While I was looking someone told me about Sodexo and their Fly-In, Fly-Out opportunities, and by coincidence I received a random email address. One thing led to another, and I was hired as a casual service attendant.”

    On Barry’s first swing he witnessed casual homophobic comments from residents who were watching female rugby in the wet mess. Although not directly confronted with this behaviour, as a bystander, Barry considered not returning to his next scheduled swing.

    “For a moment, I thought I would have to spend my entire time with Sodexo in the closet,” Barry said.

    “Thankfully on that swing, however, I did meet people who were out, proud, and comfortable. Their visibility meant that I felt this was something I could do, and my perseverance meant that I was able to progress and support others in the community.”

    Starting in 2016 with Sodexo, Barry quickly worked his way up the ranks to an admin position before stepping into a Village Manager role. There, it was a matter of time before he transitioned into the Perth Support Office.

    It was important to me to foster a culture of belonging, and that is what I endeavoured to do. Over time, with the support of the Sodexo team, I have found a supportive community who encourage me to be my most genuine self at work,” Barry said.

    Coming from a military background that was ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ when it came to sexuality and gender identity, Barry could have never imagined working in a company like Sodexo where employees are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work.

    One of the things I really enjoy about working for Sodexo is that I feel they're a company that doesn't just say they have corporate responsibilities for appearances, but they really do put weight behind their support of diversity, inclusion and equity,” he said.

    “I feel a responsibility within Sodexo to further the inclusion of those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

    “This means going beyond holding Pride events, to making it clear from an employee’s first day on-site right through to ten years with us, that they are safe and have a place here.”

    Barry’s passion for inclusion has seen him take a central role in amplifying the Sodexo Pride Network in Australia in conjunction to his current position. The mission of Sodexo’s Pride Network is to champion acceptance and workplace equality for all LGBTQIA+ and ally team members through employee engagement, community involvement, education and awareness.

    Supported by his colleagues, Barry hopes sharing his experience will encourage others to do the same when they are ready.

    Sodexo would like to acknowledge and thank Barry for sharing his story. As an organisation, we share Barry’s vision of an inclusive, diverse, and safe workplace. If you are struggling with your gender or sexual identity, or feel at risk as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, services are available through ReachOut.



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