PRIDE is about the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of LGBTQ+ community and its allies. At the heart of the movement is the support for people of diverse backgrounds and their recognition and inclusion in society. Within Mastercard we have a strong statement of support throughout the organization that helps to bring together people with different backgrounds and ideas, a powerful belief that our differences enable us to be a better team that makes better decisions, drives innovation, and delivers results that blow my mind away!
Every one of us has something in common: we all want to belong.
With that in mind, we should consider how we can inspire meaningful connections and cultivate a culture of openness and transparency that surpasses the norm. This is especially true in the face of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. Hatred and discrimination come in many forms and is insidious – often systemic.
For those of you who have not seen some of our content around the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I highly recommend that you spend a few minutes to read Mastercards' We stand against racism, Ajay’s statement of support, and Tim’s call to action. Our leaders are committed to motivating true change and we can do our part. Here’s a resource for locating black-owned business in Canada. It’s also important to speak up as you encounter racism or discrimination in any form. For those who think that racism isn’t as prevalent in Canada as in other parts of the world, look at our treatment of black, Asian, Muslim, and indigenous people. It happens here, and each of us needs to stand strong against white supremacy.
I encourage readers to watch What it takes to be an active ally and think about the experience of Minda Harts who discusses her experience of going into the office after Treyvon Martin’s death in 2012. The Leading With Empathy And Allyship series is also a great resource for learning how to be a better ally and advocate. We all have perspectives that are shaped by our own life, which can make it difficult to imagine or understand all of the other viewpoints that exist in the world. As you talk with your coworkers about their experiences with racial inequality, police brutality, or anything that’s top of mind for them, here’s a suggestion: Believe someone when they share their experience, even though you’ve never experienced it yourself.
Vancouver has a business resource group (BRG) focused on women – whether you’re a cis, bi, gay, or trans woman – with a focus on mentorship and amplifying the voices of our female colleagues. Around the topic of “Women In Tech” in particular, I’d like to raise the issue of masking language. This is the behavior where people shut down discussions of systemic bias by claiming the topic is unprofessional to camouflage their discomfort with the topic. If you witness masking language, push back! These conversions are critical to moving forward and creating a more inclusive workplace. Here is a short article on the topic of masking language.
If you’re an ally looking for material actions you can take to sponsor coworkers from underrepresented groups, consider:
- Speaking their name when they aren’t around
- Endorse them publicly
- Invite them to high-profile meetings
- Share their career goals with decision-makers
- Recommend them for stretch assignments and speaking opportunities
If you’re a hiring manager, take a look at your team. Are you doing everything you can to recruit hires from underrepresented groups? Maybe this guidebook would be helpful.
Mastercard is a technology company, so I feel like this would be incomplete without a shout out to inclusive design. Inclusive design is a methodology that enables and draws on the full range of human diversity. We must all do our part to prevent the exclusion that occurs when we solve problems using our own biases. I highly recommend reviewing the resources from Microsoft’s Inclusive Design page.
PRIDE is about diversity and inclusion. As this is PRIDE month, I want to urge everyone to share their stories with their colleagues. For colleagues to listen and consider the emotional and mental labor that those that have faced these traumas and discrimination have to undergo in order to tell their stories. To spark difficult conversations and tackle complex issues head on. We are all one team. If you are comfortable, talk about your experiences with racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. Talk about how you have acted as an ally or even when you made mistakes. We are all human! I would like to hear the voices of all senior leaders join Ajay’s voice on these topics!
I also ask that everyone add their pronouns into their signatures! Even if you’re just reaffirming [she/her] or [he/him], doing so helps to power a transparent and inclusive environment.
If you’re looking for other PRIDE activities:
- Listen in to the Making Gay History podcast: https://makinggayhistory.com/
- Watch Queer Eye on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/80160037
- Read “The Skin We’re In” by Desmond Cole
- Read “Bread Out of Stone” by Deonne Brand
Thank you for reading.