2021 has seen the creation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan at Stuart, with the aim to:
- attract, develop and retain top diverse talent from different backgrounds;
- create awareness amongst employees with different perspectives and experiences; and
- build policies, processes and best practices to better support employees.
It is at the forefront of Stuart’s values to ensure our employees are treated, and treat each other, with compassion, understanding and respect, no matter what ethnicity, gender, sexuality or other minority they may belong to.
A monthly focus has been around creating awareness and conversations across our offices on topical issues, with ongoing initiatives to support LGBTQ+ and Women’s History Month, Autism Awareness and Pride Month. As part of these initiatives, we have organised events and educational material to learn about and support minority groups. One such initiative, and the focus of this blog, was Pride Month: below you can discover all the inspirational and fun events that took place.
It all started with one of our affinity groups on Slack, called “#rainbow_coalition”. This chat channel was created for all Stuart employees in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as allies, to come together. Through this channel, the idea of panels including internal and external speakers for Pride Month was born. To kickstart Pride Month, an internal global newsletter was sent, highlighting the initiatives upcoming for the month. These included: Pride stickers & Pride-themed cakes sent to all offices, a group interview blog article, two panels with 6 of our LGBTQ+ employees who shared their experiences on Gender, Sexuality & Rights and Allyship & LGBTQ+ in the workplace, and finally an extremely inspirational external speaker, Munroe Bergdorf, who talked about her career as an activist, model and writer, and experience growing up as a trans woman.
Gender, Sexuality & Rights - First panel
Our first panel was on the topic of ‘Gender, Sexuality & Rights’. The speakers were: Head of Agile, Leo Boni, Senior Tech Talent Acquisition Manager, Corbmac McKay, and last but not least, Operations Executive, Nathan Sheldon, all based in sunny Barcelona. To kickstart the panel, the first question of “how was your experience ‘coming out’?” allowed us all to gain an insight and understanding into the struggles of coming to terms with your sexuality and how the people around you react. It was super inspiring to see the openness and vulnerability our employees were willing to share with all 141 Stuwies who tuned in. The question ‘what rights do you have’ was also raised, highlighting the difficulties LGBTQ+ individuals experience when donating blood and the legal differences from country to country in terms of marriage and acceptance. As this is a month of support, celebration and positivity, we also incorporated questions such as “what is the most positive thing you’ve experienced as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?”. Our three speakers collectively shared the same amazing positive feedback—which was having constant support from friends, family and colleagues.
Allyship & LGBTQ+ in the workplace - Second panel
Our second panel was on the topic of ‘Allyship & LGBTQ+ in the workplace’. We spoke to: Mobile Engineer, Mar Barroso, based in Barcelona, Scrum Master, Francisco Morales, also based in Barcelona and finally, Marketing Coordinator, James Scrivener, based in not-so-sunny London. The first question delved into the panelists’ experience of being an LGBTQ+ individual while working at Stuart. It was clear that there was nothing but positivity throughout their time at Stuart, but also raised the question of “what can Stuart do to foster an even more positive environment”. The speakers all agreed that it begins with senior leadership, and ensuring that all minorities are adequately represented. Education was also a topic that came up often, particularly when discussing allyship and how to be the best ally, especially when it comes to the trans community. It was raised that in a 2020 transphobic hate crime report, 4/5 of the respondents had dealt with some kind of transphobic hate crime with 1/4 having dealt with some form of physical assault. These statistics helped demonstrate the urgency of being an ally both within and beyond the LGBTQ+ community.
Munroe Bergdorf - External Speaker
Our third and final event involved an exciting external speaker, Munroe Bergdorf. Munroe is a mixed-race transgender model and activist who believes passionately in inclusivity for all, no matter your race, ability, religious beliefs, sexuality or gender identity. During the 40-minute discussion, Munroe opened up about the difficulties she has faced as a trans woman in both her professional and personal life. It was inspirational to hear from someone who has overcome so many hurdles, becoming the strong woman she is today even through difficult times of hardship. Munroe guided us to amazing charities specifically for the trans community and activists with powerful voices who must be heard.
The aim of these initiatives was education, and it was amazing to see how many Stuwies tuned in to listen to the experiences of their fellow LGBTQ+ colleagues. That is an essential starting point. Let’s continue to push for equality amongst minority groups and constantly challenge ourselves, ask questions and most importantly keep the celebration and support that has been shown in the month of June, all year round. Let’s remember that although there have been extensive steps in the right direction towards LGBTQ+ equality, there are still to this day numerous homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes on a daily basis. However, it was truly inspirational to see how progressive and attentive companies like Stuart are committed to standing against this hate, particularly in the workplace.