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Taking pride in being unique

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28 June 2019

An inclusive and tolerant environment in organizations, where one’s talent is valued regardless of identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, is something we expect without question. The equality of the LGBT+ community already forms part of the DNA of many companies and is included in their code of ethics in most cases. Despite this, being openly LGBT+ in the work environment is not always a viable option, sometimes out of fear of prejudices and of feeling rejected.

At everis we have a philosophy, “if you can believe it, you can make it happen”. By believing in diversity, you promote diversity. Sometimes it’s just a case of raising your hand or having a leader or manager that is open about being LGBT+. However, reality casts other figures and it is estimated that more than half of LGBT+ professionals, both in Europe and USA, rather not reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace.

We have sat down with three LGBT+ professionals from everis for them to share their own experience at the company. They are 3 unique stories among 21,000 that give an inside view into everis’ reality. 

Sandra Verónica Bravo is a psychologist, she has worked in the People department at everis Mexico for 2 years and is behind HR initiatives, strategies and policies that help make everis a better place to work.

“Since the first ever meeting I went to with my team, I introduced myself and had no problem with being open about being my sexual orientation. It’s not that I go around telling everybody I’m gay, but you spend a lot of time at work and I felt it was important to share. This is what we need, people who are prepared to talk about it. Many people hide the fact that they’re gay and that’s not positive.”

Sandra explains that being one self is beneficial for the company, it helps people be more productive, happier and to work without fears or pressure. She also lays out the fact that some countries are more sexist than others and there are more fears where the LGBT+ community need to stick together even more.

Sandra also puts out two important messages. On the one hand, uniqueness guarantees happiness and that’s why it’s important to remember that “you’re not a shiny gold coin that everyone is going to like”.

 

“People hide because they are afraid of being rejected by people, not the company”

Jonathan Jesús Albinagorta also has his own unique story. He graduated in Business Administration and is passionate about transformation. He likes art, dancing, singing and collaborates with an NGO that organizes activities to build awareness and help prevent HIV.

He joined everis a year and a half ago, and works for a project in the financial sector at the everis Hub in Lima. Jonathan explains that his experience at everis has been very positive, and has always been given carte blanche to share his ideas. In Peru, a network of employee climate influencers was created, promoted by the People department, with leaders that help boost HR initiatives among their teams and provide feedback to Management.

 

“People hide out of fear they will be rejected, but this only increases their fear. It’s important to be open-minded”.

Trainings, workshops and initiatives that promote diversity are a good practice.

 

“There’s not enough empathy”

The third story belongs to Cilas Warne Silva. He’s married to Flavio and is planning on adopting a child. He’s a BPO Manager in Sao Paulo and his mission is to lead HR and finance operations. Cilas speaks openly about his life and sexual orientation, and highlights the mission and values that everis has.

From a business point of view, Cilas thinks it’s important to provide information and training, and carry out efforts to raise awareness. Although he is open about his sexuality, he knows other people who don’t feel as comfortable about opening up to others. In this sense, it’s important to organize events that help raise awareness about the diversity that surrounds us; gender, race, nationalities and cultures. This also helps strengthen relationships.

As for homosexual women, he agrees with Sandra: “it is more difficult for them in general, and particularly in more conservative and sexist countries. There is a cultural stigma when a woman says she is a lesbian to think that she is declaring to be less feminine or that she hasn’t met a man who makes her feel like a woman. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Cilas goes on to say that “there is a lack of empathy and a need to put ourselves in other people’s shoes for one day. This begins with self-respect, and in the case of Brazil there are still many prejudices.”

Cilas has a clear message for the LGBT+ community, “conquer your space”. Respect yourself and everyone else will respect you. With respect and empathy, people see each other for what they are and not based on stereotyped differences.  

For Sandra, Jonathan and Ciles, visibility is vital for different reasons; to portray sensitivity, boost the development of talent and growth, and to be seen, because what can’t be seen doesn’t exist.

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