In true LWT fashion, we have to start out this blog with a ✋! As part of Pride Month, I had the honor of attending one of tech’s most highly anticipated annual events, Lesbians Who Tech #PrideSummit2022, which was held virtually from June 6 – June 10.
Actian is a proud sponsor of Lesbians Who Tech, as they embody what it means to hold space, amplify underrepresented voices, and shine a light on crucial issues the LGBTQIAP+ community faces as it relates to the tech industry and beyond. As an early attendee of the LWT Pride Summit, I realized Lesbians Who Tech and Actian would be a perfect pairing as Actian looks to expand our own diversity and inclusion efforts to support our large base of LGBTQIAP + employees.
Lesbians Who Tech Pride Summit is an event I look forward to all year, and this year was no exception. With a stacked lineup of speakers discussing topics ranging from political issues to creating inclusivity within the tech industry, I was excited to dive in and learn how to best advocate for positive and impactful change for the LGBTQIAP + employees within Actian.
This year, with the main conference held virtually, I was able to attend a wide variety of sessions and workshops. Without further ado, here are my highlights from Lesbians Who Tech Pride Summit 2022 and key takeaways on how we can all become more involved!
Implementing Gender-Affirming Care Offerings
Due to the current political climate, many speakers focused their sessions on advocating for trans rights in the workplace.
Heidi Schriefer, Vice President of People & Places at Grindr, delivered a superb presentation on how Grindr developed their Gender Affirming Care Benefits program, which is one of the most progressive and inclusive benefit packages for trans and queer employees I have seen. Grindr has committed themselves to providing expanded access to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to their transgender employees as well as establishing a Gender Affirmation Fund, which eliminates financial obstacles to surgical, social, and legal care.
What stood out most about Heidi’s presentation is how strong of an ally to the LGBTQIAP + community she is, and how she feels empowered through her allyship to enact momentous change within her company – allowing trans employees to receive the care they need and deserve, as well as often overlooked disparity of benefits for LGBTQIAP+ employees. Grindr is an excellent example of how companies can be doing more to support trans employees as they embark on their transition journey.
How to Own Your Career Authentically
Another standout session I attended was that of Keshona Lawrence, Platform Support and Experience Manager at Twitter. Kenosha’s speech focused on “only-ness” that many minority queer employees can experience in the workplace.
She explained how oftentimes minority and queer employees can feel as though they are the only person in the room, with no other employees who can relate to the struggles of being an intersectional queer employee. Dealing with this “only-ness” can cause many to minimize, tone-down, or shy away from their authentic selves in the workplace.
Kenosha shared her own personal struggles with “only-ness” and detailed that by holding her employers accountable and requiring them to create space and inclusive policies for those who feel underrepresented, she finally gained the courage to step into her own power and make her voice heard.
Learning Your Work Love Language in the Workplace
One thing I love about the Pride Summit are the engaging workshops offered throughout the course of the conference. A workshop I found extremely interesting was held by Brittney Aston, Community Manager at NextDoor, which explored employees’ different love languages within the workplace. We learned how to identify a person’s love language and develop effective cross-functional communication methods based on each love language category. This workshop was a great learning opportunity for myself, where I discovered tangible solutions that I can apply in my future work at Actian.
With so many amazing discussions, workshops, and networking events, Lesbians Who Tech #PrideSummit 2022 left me feeling well-equipped and ready to apply what I learned to future DE&I policies at Actian to better support our employees. With this in mind, here are a few things I took away from the conference and how we’re looking to implement further change at Actian in the future:
Have more informed conversations with our insurance brokers on how we can address some of the key areas noted across discussions on trans healthcare
As we continue with forming our DEIB Council, things to keep in mind to ensure equitability
Review opportunities create more inclusive naming policies and practices – decades old language defaults in tech are problematic and can introduce harmful microaggressions
With the benefit of sponsoring the event, Actian had the opportunity to meet a number of qualified candidates. We are excited to have been able to onboard following those connections and look forward to supporting and enabling their success here at Actian!
One reason I love working at Actian is their continuous commitment to better themselves as a company and to always provide their employees with a work environment where they feel safe and supported. I am thrilled to work for and partner with a company committed to supporting our LGBTQIAP + employees to ensure their utmost success and happiness while working at Actian.
Are you ready to make an impact on the world and change the face of data management and integration? Join our team of enthusiastic, talented minds in a diverse, collaborative environment where you can thrive and grow. Learn more about our career openings at https://www.actian.com/company/careers/.