Welcome to Pride Month! Throughout June, people from around the world will be coming together to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and to raise awareness about the importance of diversity and inclusivity.
The origins of Pride Month date back further than many people realise. The inaugural Pride march was held more than 50 years ago in June 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969. Over time, the march has evolved to become a celebration of LGBTQIA+ culture with a variety of events that culminate in a parade in the final weekend of June. Such events have played an important role in shifting social and political attitudes over the years. As someone who identifies as gay, I’ve also seen a big shift in workplace attitudes – particularly in the past 5 years. I spent the better part of my career being acutely aware that I had to hide my sexuality; particularly within the hyper-masculine environments that were common in the tech world. This changed when I joined Skedulo a few years back and saw a genuine desire to embrace and celebrate diversity. It was the polar opposite of what I’d experienced 20 years ago.
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of working with Skedulo’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Program Manager, Silvia Zhang, and realised how much I also have to learn. Even being in the community there is a lot that I don’t know, which is why I’m so excited about the initiatives Skedulo will be running this month.
Stories from Skedulo’s LGBTQIA+ community
There is more to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community than changing your company logo for a month or posting a rainbow flag on social media.
We believe the best way to break down barriers and drive awareness is by empowering people to share their personal stories. This is why we have invited members of our team who identify as LGBTQIA+ to tell their stories, and I can honestly say the insights have been tremendous.
Partnerships and volunteering
The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation is Australia’s longest-running HIV charity and exists to support people living with HIV, a disease that has until now, largely targeted the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition to volunteering and social awareness, Skedulo will be sponsoring a number of the Foundation’s health and wellbeing programs which aim to help people with HIV achieve a better quality of life.
Our volunteering efforts will also extend to the Frameline Film Festival: San Francisco’s longest-running and largest queer film exhibition in the world.
Education creates change
Education is one of the best ways to combat prejudice. We will be running a social campaign in June to encourage greater involvement from the wider business community.
Internally, we’re also raising awareness among our staff through an All-Hands panel discussion where people can talk openly, ask questions, and share their stories.
At the end of June, we’ll hold a Pride Parade viewing party in our San Francisco office which will be a colourful celebration of diversity and includes an education session about Pride history.
Diversity leads to success
There will no doubt be opportunities for many people to get involved in Pride month celebrations in their local areas – be it community events, public speaking, education sessions or a festival.
I invite every workplace to develop their own initiatives to facilitate greater discussion and awareness. I’ve now been involved with several progressive companies who not only accept but celebrate diversity, and I can confidently say their culture is well beyond what I’ve seen in others.
There are many studies to prove the widespread benefits that diversity has on culture, engagement, retention and even revenue. For example, a study by Boston Consulting Group looked at 1700 companies across 8 countries and found that greater diversity had a direct effect on the bottom line. Companies with more diverse management teams also achieve 19% higher revenue due to innovation.
For anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community who has struggled to find an accepting workplace, I want to tell you that they do exist. Keep searching for a place that makes you happy and aligns with your values, because it will empower you to become the best version of yourself and you will be supported by the people around you.