Louise Ah-Wong, Senior Partner – Digital Transformation at Agilisys considers why now, more than ever, it’s time to get behind the Pride Month theme of You! Me! Us! We!
You! Me! Us! We! – the main theme of this year’s Pride in London campaign – is incredibly relevant right now. As well as Covid-19, which is affecting communities everywhere, we’re also watching closely the response to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota – as a business it is important to me that we are supporting our BAME colleagues at this difficult time.
While these stories are rightly commanding media attention, less is spoken about the impact of global events on LGBTQ+ communities. The current lockdown has had a profound impact on these communities; many people will be working from home without the support of families, many will be a long way from home (I speak from experience) and many people will be in already marginalised communities. You! Me! Us! We! really resonates as a result and it’s something we all need to take to heart.
From an Agilisys perspective, when I think about why I chose to lead the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee this year, it was really about trying to ensure people take responsibility in our organisation for creating inclusive environments for each other, regardless of our visible or hidden differences.
In terms of my own identity I am a lesbian, from an ethnic minority who has overcome social mobility challenges to get to where I am today. I am also the proud mother of a baby son who suddenly finds herself with new caring responsibilities. I am out on the senior leadership team, talking openly across the business about my challenges, my family and my identity.
I do this because I want to ensure I can be authentic in the workplace and provide the support mechanisms for others to do the same. If it so happens that others see me as any kind of role model then that is an added bonus. We’re all part of our community and we can all be a role model in our own ways.
People need sponsorship, they need support. They need, people to listen to them, so they know they have a voice, a rightful place and, above all else, they understand they’re safe and respected. Those role models can (and should) be present across all levels of the organisation. If you can be a role model by providing a voice and listening to those in need throughout your whole career, whether you’re at the top or starting out, you can really make a difference in helping people reach their full potential.
In tech and the sectors we serve, the need for the LGBTQ+ voice is even more important. If we’re not aware of our differences and how tech can be divisive and biased, then we’ll be part of a system that is building greater barriers for people to overcome. That’s why I’m inspired by groups like Lesbians Who Tech and others who are really championing the LGBTQ+ voice and narrative in our sector at all levels. It’s just as important to champion talent coming through as it is to support leaders.
Taking this thinking a step further, it’s crucial that, if role models are to be supported and talent championed, more is done to create workplaces that are safe environments. Places where people know they’re not going to be stopped from fulfilling their potential because of who they are. That requires strong allyship within LGBTQ+ communities and beyond.
You! Me! Us! We! – it‘s an ethos we should all attempt to live by.
Read more thoughts from across Agilisys in another of our series of interviews to celebrate Pride.
We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Read the first in our blog series where Louise Ah-Wong, Senior Partner – Digital Transformation, details how Agilisys is committing to support staff and fight racism.