Pride is more than just a month on the calendar, a parade, or a festival downtown. Pride is the celebration and support to bring your full self with you where you go, without shame or insecurity. Pride as a celebration started decades ago, but in the workplace, it has only recently started being embraced to give people the space they need to bring who they are to work.
At LaunchCode, we started Code With Pride to encourage people in the tech industry (and beyond) to show their True Colors (thank you Cyndi) in their daily lives. In addition to marching in the local community Pride Parades, LaunchCode hosts workshops, symposiums and panels to help encourage and enliven people to feel empowered and encouraged to be their best selves. Here are a few Q&A’s from our panelists to help support important conversations and build better communities.
“I want to be able to go to work and see people that I identify with as a gay man, I want to feel included but I also want to see other people of diverse backgrounds thriving at work. I want to see them in positions of leadership, leading ERGs or other things. I look for diversity and people being true to who they are,” said Sam Thompson, developer and industrial designer at VMLY&R.
“[When job seeking, my advice would be to] look for companies that find value in what you bring and what you care about - You as a person. Your whole person enriches the company.”
“Be really true to yourself about what kind of life will make you happy, know what kind of job you want, and go into the interview process having faith that there's a company that's ready to support you. A lot of people feel like they have to hide parts of themselves or compromise parts of themselves in order to just get the first job. I urge you to know that there's a company out there that's ready to support you fully,” said Ketsia Ellis, design engineer at MiTek USA.
“ERGs are a huge step forward. Being a part of the company and seeing a shift that was supp - having that representation across your teams, whether they are queer or an ally can be an opportunity to grow community.” - Ketsia Ellis
“Queer leadership is knowing that my unique ideas are heard and are being used as an opportunity to facilitate change within the workplace, and other queer employees have the same platform,” said Niquelle Johnson, business operations specialist at Boeing. “Being a queer leader is setting the example for my colleagues to show up as their whole selves. To help build programs, drive new initiatives and awareness surrounding LGBTQ issues in the workplace.
“Look at the company, and benefits such as IVF benefits, fertility benefits and look at the language of their leave. Is it maternity leave, or is it parental leave? And is adoption included in that? Be very granular with knowing what is really important to you and only move forward with the win-win.” - Laura Tromben, talent acquisition lead at 1904 Labs.
“I think a lot of people, especially people that are interviewing have this mindset that they're auditioning for this company. But in reality, the interview process should be moving forward mutually. It should include you getting all the information you need to make sure that this is the right move for you.” - Laura Trombern
“I think doing self-reflection, like what are your must haves when looking at opportunities and making sure that you're hitting on each part in the interview in the hiring process to really feel that's what you're getting in that next employer.” Christine Foderaro
Even though Pride 2022 has come to a close, it’s important to remember these things, and continue to work together to build a better workplace, a better community and a better world.
“Code with Pride exists to help our tech community at LaunchCode to be their truest, fullest selves,” said Clark Roman, senior candidate engagement manager and coordinator of the Code with Pride 2022 symposium. “Our work goes beyond Pride Month - we work all year to make sure our candidates, students, and community know that there is a place for them - that they never have to hide the most important parts of themselves to be accepted and valuable.”