At Broadgate, part of Trinnovo Group, we have been shining a spotlight on the inspirational LGBTQIA+ leaders in our community, highlighting their thoughts on the importance of Pride, what it means to them and how we can do more to empower this community in the workplace.
We have been sharing some of their impactful answers on our social channels throughout June, but want to take the message beyond simply highlighting the importance of Pride, but also share the stories and sharing the insights of our network of inspirational leaders, enabling our community to learn how we can do more to act as allies and advocates for our LGBTQIA+ community.
Stefania Chaplin currently serves as a Solutions Architect at GitLab, she works with organisations about how they do DevSecOps and help them to improve their operational efficiencies in order to deliver better software faster, with reduced security and compliance risk. Stefania also founded Women at Sonatype and worked to improve diversity from 4% to 11% in just two years, helping to shape their global recruitment strategy.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is an opportunity to be my true self! Pride is an opportunity to be proud of who I am without feelings of fear or judgment. There’s a lot of history in pride, sometimes people get caught up in rainbow logos and think pride is just an excuse to party and forget about the protests/riots of the past and how being gay used to be illegal until fairly recently.
What makes you feel empowered in the workplace?
Autonomy! GitLab is great, we are all remote and have a 'manager of one' policy which means I am in control of my workload. Also, transparent communication, collaborating on projects and generally feeling in control.
What can colleagues to do be allies in the workplace?
Listen, really listen, and speak up when you see or hear injustice! Also checking in on colleagues and seeing if they're okay. A great recommendation I saw on social media recently 'do you want comfort, a solution or a distraction'. I think one way to be an ally in the workplace is to understand and respect that people will have different struggles or problems than you that may be hard for you to understand, but that doesn't make them less important or false. This of course is relevant for more than just LGBTQIA+. For example, I would say most allies do not generally have to be concerned about whether they can pee in peace.
What can businesses do to empower the LGBTQIA+ community?
Create a safe space for your team members, allow autonomy for members of lgbtq groups to communicate, don’t force it but definitely support it. Does your company offer employees the ability to volunteer time to their local community? Does your company support charities? Trevor Project is a great place to start. If you have team meetings / offsites are they safe for LGBTQIA? For example: bathrooms, changing rooms, are appropriate options available for all employees?
Who is your role model, and why?
Lara Croft / Tomb Raider! (The 1997 PS1 one #OG). She is a woman in a man's world who uses her strength and problem solving abilities to achieve her goals and get what she wants!
Elle Woods from Legally Blonde! She taught me I could be pink and professional and it inspired me to go into Computer Science and stay my true self even in the face of adversity
Advice to your younger self
Don’t be afraid that you are the only woman in the room. Use your superpowers! Everyone is different and brings a different set of skills.
At Trinnovo Group as part of our Pride campaign, we are raising money for Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), a non-profit member-driven organisation that was founded in 2006. TENI has a vision for a world where all people, regardless of gender identity or expression, enjoy full acceptance, equality, and human rights.
Please feel free to donate to the cause here.