During Pride Month at Pega, we value the opportunity to commemorate and celebrate LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) activism and look inward to evaluate our own efforts to foster a culture of inclusion and diversity. As the executive sponsor of our Global Pride@Pega employee resource group, I am personally committed to expanding our existing base of allies to the LGBTQIA+ community, thereby adding to the energy, connections, and passion for the future of a more inclusive workplace.
Here’s why allyship with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues is important to me
I understand that my advocacy as an individual in a non-marginalized group – and especially as a person in a position of power and privilege – is an essential part of creating a more equitable and inclusive community both inside and outside of the office. It’s important to me for a number of reasons:
First, there’s strength in diversity. Being an ally means not only supporting inclusion but also taking action to make a difference in behaviors and decisions that adversely impact individuals or the community as a whole. We recognize we are all unique individuals with talents, experiences, and ways of expressing ourselves that enrich our living and working communities. By noting and celebrating our differences, we’re building understanding, acceptance, and trust between each other, which in turn, gives us safe harbor to think creatively and work collaboratively. It’s a mindset that is absolutely critical for innovation.
Second, listening and learning – important parts of allyship – fuel the emotional and intellectual growth needed to develop real, empathetic connections. When we are open to listening fully to the experiences and perspectives of our LGBTQIA+ colleagues, we are actually increasing understanding and helping break down biases. If our point of view is clouded by a lack of empathy or our lens distorted from bias, the world becomes a very constrained place – one in which we don’t see the inherent goodness, value, and potential of others around us.
Third, it’s just the right thing to do. We live in a multi-cultural world surrounded by family, friends, colleagues, clients, and customers who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. We should understand, value, and celebrate that. I’m also passionate about allyship because, as a father of two teenagers, I want my kids to live in a global community where every single individual on the planet is recognized.
Together, we’re capable of achieving more
Real change is effected when large groups of people begin to shift their behavior, which is why we continue to champion diversity and inclusion every single day in every area of our company and global communities. As part of the leadership team at Pega, I’m proud we're a company that values open, honest, and respectful discourse. We strive to be welcoming, safe, open, inclusive, and diverse for all dimensions of identity, including gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion, national origin, language, physical ability, role, and appearance, among many others.
We’ve made some good strides in strengthening our Pega community: establishing resource groups to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities; updating our communications and internal policies to promote gender-neutral language; providing diversity training for all people managers; and incorporating a program on allyship into our training. But we also recognize that we still have work to do, and it requires effort from all of us. Let Pride Month inspire us to listen without judgement; reflect on our own privileges; and speak up or take action when we see inequality or exclusion.