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June 15, 2020

We’re Proud of Pride

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Whilst it may feel like we’ve come a long way in creating safe and welcoming spaces for those who identify as LGBTIQA+, recent studies have surfaced some worrying data. A nine-year study by the Australian Workplace Equality Index showed younger employees are least likely to be out at work and more likely to be out to no-one. For information on what employers are doing to support their LGBTIQA+ employees download our report on Pride in the Workplace here.

WORK180 are proud of our Endorsed Employers leading the way with pride and diversity policies, creating workplaces where employees can be themselves. We spoke to 23 employees about a time they felt truly supported and included in their workplace. Their stories are inspiring and heart-warming.

Conor Banks, Marketing Automation Specialist, Abcam

“The work Christmas party in 2019. At a previous organization I had been asked if I would attend a work party dressed as my drag queen persona and hadn’t felt comfortable before. At Abcam I thought I’d give it a go and was naturally cautious on how it would be received by literally the entire office in one room! The response was overwhelmingly positive from everyone and I’d never felt prouder to be part of such a respecting and tolerant company.”

Tracey Elleray, Training and Development Coordinator, Alcoa

“I am extremely comfortable working at Wagerup for Alcoa where I have been welcomed into the training team and location from the very first day. I’d never applied to work at any company before during my entire career that actively supports the LGBTIQA community, it just wasn’t an option until now. Being part of my training team is like being part of an extended family, everyone is happy, you are who you are, and you’re treated as a valued member of the team which is so important in the workplace.”

Tammy Heuych, Senior Tech Sales Manager for Queensland, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB)

“My most proud moment with CUB was this year, during the lead up to Mardi Gras. I was asked to be a part of CUB’s representation at Mardi Gras which meant I was ticking off a personal bucket list item of mine by attending my first Mardi Gras, but then finding out I was bettering it by actually marching with my company was absolutely amazing. In the lead up, I was interviewed internally to share my view of Diversity and Inclusion, what Pride means to me and marching in my first Mardi Gras. I was also asked to open the Pride celebrations for our Queensland office. At this state event, I shared the internal release of CUB’s Pride video and CUB’s Equality video, which each included colleagues across all states and all areas of the business come out about their personal experiences and importance of Pride, and what equality means to them. It was very moving to watch the emotive responses of the attendees and how they engaged with the content of these two video’s. I also disclosed my personal journey as an LGBTIQA+ identifying person, and what celebrating Pride and marching in Mardi Gras meant to me on a personal level. Post this session, I had several people reach out to me to thank me for what I had shared, saying how proud they were to work with me and proud of what I stood and worked for. I don’t think that I could have had that level of vulnerability and personal exposure in any of my previous organization.”

Rachael Law, Senior Lawyer, Clayton Utz

“I can’t pick a specific time I felt included or supported because it was more a matter of, I just felt like I could bring my whole self to work from very early on in my time at the firm. I’ve always been able to speak comfortably with my supervising Partner and colleagues.”

Gina Mills, Operations Director & EY Unity Network Lead, EY Asia-Pacific

“I feel included when people ask me about my wife in the same way they ask others about their family members. It may seem like a very small thing, but being able to talk openly about the mundane, ordinary things in life, without having to hide or disguise parts of the story is so important in allowing people the freedom to be themselves. I’m also always personally touched if people come and ask me for any of our Unity merchandise e.g. stickers, lanyards, pins etc. to show their support. Often, they are allies who are making a conscious choice to be visible and it means so much to see those rainbow symbols around the office, to let us know that we belong.”

Phoebe Lebrecht, Social Media Manager, GoCardless

“Everyday. I can’t think of a specific moment, but I am currently co-chair of Rainbow at GoCardless alongside Hamish Wood and the support we have had from the company has been phenomenal. We’re only a small company, and yet we have the support from our Execs and finance team to lead projects, host events, donate to charities of our choice, celebrate Pride events, create content and have frank and open conversations with the whole company on panels and on stage at internal events.”

“I’m very grateful for the people I get to work with and learn from, and conscious that for others this is not the case.”

Devon Johnson, Head of Assurance, G&W UK/Europe Region companies

“The first day I came to work as my true self, Devon. It had been an open secret for a while that I was transgender, but everyone had been polite and respectful. But on the day I walked into the office, there were more people than usual in there and everyone was so kind and genuinely happy for me, I couldn’t believe it. I still had to take my turn making the tea though, I wasn’t that special even on my Big Day.”

Ashley Bray, Head of HR Operations, Great Western Railway (GWR)

“When our new HR director joined and started to promote I&D within GWR. We had an action planning day, where a large group of colleagues came together to share their views on working at GWR, their ideas for I&D, created our vision statement. The outputs of the session created GWR’s I&D strategy and action plan. Since that point visibility of LGBTQIA+ colleagues have increased and I am open about my sexuality. In addition, I appreciate my position of privilege in the organization, working at a senior level. Being supported at this level to be my authentic self with everyone in GWR, in fact it has been encouraged, has made me feel truly supported / included.”

William Wong, Category Development Manager Employer, Lion

“The beer industry is often viewed as dominated by straight blokey males. Lion is addressing this stereotype by focusing on a range of diversity programs such as setting up a Pride@Lion, a group that will primarily focus on LGBTIQA+. This to me shows that Lion truly cares about their employees. I am looking forward to see Lion evolve in the LGBTIQA+ space in the next 12 months and beyond. I also feel truly supported by all the colleagues I work with and fortunate to feel comfortable to be my authentic self at work.”

Cassandra Jones, Account Technology Strategist, Microsoft (AU)

“For Pride last year we did a full on photo shoot and interviews that were then published on internal social media, published to LinkedIn and printed and distributed across all the offices in Australia. That in itself was grand, but a friend, Darryl, who was working with a partner came to the Sydney office with one of his colleagues, and when Darryl remarked on the photos, his colleague said, “nah it will be just stock photos.” He responded, with “No. That’s my friend Cassie…” That made me feel really included, that Microsoft would help us do that, and be so public was just amazing.”

Mark Maguire, Account Executive D&I, Microsoft (AU)

“We ran a Pride Campaign last year in the lead up to Mardi Gras when GLEAM partnered with our Marketing and Operations team. The campaign included a video shown on our social media platforms and posters shown around the offices and branches asking us “What Pride means to us.” We were then able to share our personal story and our personal message. This level of encouragement and support means we are going above simply having an inclusive environment; it means those of us in the community who at times feel voiceless, were given a voice. At our new financial-year Kick-Off last August, I was given the opportunity to do a speech in front of 1100 Microsoft Employees in the city. The speech was to correlate with Microsoft’s theme of ‘Unlimited’ and what that means to me. It was another opportunity for me to share my story of coming out and finding my own ‘unlimited power’.”

Kerry Hancock, Development Manager UK and Europe, Mott MacDonald (UK)

“I’ve been open at work for about 14 years but at first this was just with my immediate colleagues, for no other reason than I wasn’t sure how people would react. Over the years as I got more confident and as the business has been proactive about promoting our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy I’ve opened up more. I am now happy to talk openly about my partner, Wendy, without any worry about being judged. It’s great when people don’t ‘care’ if you’re LGBT+ (without it being something they pretend isn’t real) and when it’s really just not an issue.”

Lisa Wade, Director Product and Channel Development, Co-Chair NAB Pride, NAB

“NAB Pride week last year, we did a live stream, then I was called out by our ELT in the Town Hall. And hopefully everyone in the Bank felt like that!!!!!!! Not that I really love standing up in front of people AND it is important for people to see LGBTI people stand up and be them and be called out for it, really important, I know if I had of had that my life/career would be very different (not necessarily better I learned a lot) it just would have bene easier.”

John Estell, Case Manager, nbn Australia

“As someone who is openly non-binary in their daily life, I have found my employer to be diverse and inclusive when I want to bring my whole self to work. The first time I came to work as myself was an engagement day at work where my alter ego, ‘Geordie Sparkles’ was able to come to work in full drag and my colleagues embraced this side of me. I found the support of both my peers and management overwhelming and it made me feel proud to come to work as myself. Leading the Ally Network, Learning and Resources pillar within our Pride Committee has shown just how inclusive and diverse we are evolving to become. The Pride Committee themselves come from all walks of life within the business, right up to executive level and to see the network come together to better the lives of ourselves and all employees makes me feel so supported in everything I do. On top of that, my direct leader is behind me on the work that I want to achieve and supports the goals in mind.”

Annie Dow-Durward, Store Technician, OZ Minerals

“As I am relatively new to OZ Minerals, I can only talk about my previous experience. I was involved in a program called Allies, which was to help support LGBTIQA+ employees and educate the work force around some of the myths about LGBTIQA+. This included BBQ’s and wearing rainbow shoelaces to show our support to not only LGBTIQA+ employees but all of the work force.”

“Within the OZ Minerals company I have felt very welcomed and included particularly within my direct team. I am looking forward to being involved in OZ Minerals’ initiatives.”

Chris Parkes, Photographer Consultant, Reward Gateway

“It’s fair to say that I feel that way most of the time at Reward Gateway, and am supported when I create that environment for others.”

Alyssa Warland, Project Officer, RMIT University

“I am very lucky that I feel included and supported in my workplace on a regular basis. I work with an incredible group of people at RMIT who are from diverse backgrounds, which I believe has allowed me to grow as a person and flourish professionally. When I was able to take part in the DGSS course, I felt validated in the content that was being presented and saw the course as an opportunity for my colleagues not in this community to understand to some extent the lives of LGBTIQA+ people.”

Lucinda Mathieson, Senior Advisor Learning and Teaching Quality – College of Business and Law, RMIT University

“It has been very helpful to have someone to talk to whether that be my Manager or a HR Ally when I have needed to talk about something that is important to me. I know I can do so in confidence, and that makes me feel supported, and no different to anyone else.”

Josephine Weller, Ticket Office, London, Southeastern Railway

“I love going to the monthly LGBTIQA+ Colleague Network Group meetings, they’re the time where I have the most freedom I feel to explore my identity at work (as I don’t find it comes into my day to day work in the ticket office personally). One that stands out for me is working with Southeastern and the TSSA (for whom I am an Equalities Representative), to hold two outreach and education days during LGBTIQA+ History Month where we had over 60 people sign up to the Stonewall No Bystanders Pledge to stand up against Bullying and Discrimination in the workplace, including a number of senior and higher level management in our head office. It was wonderful to see people from all backgrounds committing to something which will ultimately improve the lives of LGBTIQA+ people in the workplace.”

Laurence Coles, Commercial Guard, South Western Railway.

“I felt supported when I was nominated for LGBT+ rep at my branch by other members. It was liberating to think that I could be who I wanted to be without facing discrimination.”

Andrea Newman, Partner Account Manager, Splunk

“I feel that leadership comes from the top and there is nothing better to make you feel supported than seeing our Global AVP, Simon Eid wearing his SplunkPride T-Shirt on stage at our annual SplunkLive event last year. It was also wonderful to have a shout out on our ANZ call last month to announce my engagement to my partner alongside all the other engagements, marriages and births!”

Rachel Mead, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Woolworths Group

“In 2019 Woolworths Group participated in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade for the first time. The feeling of pride and inclusion I felt as I danced my way down Oxford St surrounded by my teammates was incredible. It’s definitely one of the highlights of my career so far.”

Jodi Rosenthal, Global Head of Customer Success, WORK180

“I feel supported and included every day at WORK180, but the most recent example is actually working on this wonderful feature for Pride & Diversity. In addition to being a group of incredible and hard-working people, our WORK180 marketing team demonstrated genuine interest and empathy in wanting to understand how to present this feature in a considered and supportive way. We had some wonderful conversations around language, impact, visibility and delivering content that would be respectful and empowering. The other way I feel supported is by being in this feature! I am extremely passionate about being a leader who is out and proud and hope that this inspires others to pick up that fabulous rainbow flag and do the same.”


For more on what employers are doing to support their LGBTIQA+ employees download our report on Pride in the Workplace here.

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About the Author
WORK180 promotes organizational standards that raise the bar for women in the workplace. We only endorse employers that are committed to making real progress so that all women can expect better.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.