Tell us about your experience being a member of the VIBE/Pride community at WSP? What difference has it made to you personally by being part of the pride team at WSP?
It has been a very rewarding experience to champion VIBE in Australia. This initiative has provided me with the opportunity to deepen my awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and use these insights in my day-to-day life. This knowledge has also allowed me to grow my understanding regarding the biases, challenges and opportunities that the LGBTQ+ community may experience on a daily basis. Moreover, it has provided me with the strength and courage to bring my authentic self to work - without any questions or doubts. With the support of my colleagues and friends, I’ve been able to open up about myself and have found a new level of confidence and peace that I am now able to bring to the forefront at work.
What are some highlights of your experience within the group over the past year?
Our VIBE in Australia group officially launched in May 2019, in conjunction with International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, which served as a major milestone to our company’s commitment in establishing a diverse and inclusive platform for our LGBTQ+ employees. Our focus started with a two-pronged approach: visibility and education. The overarching goal is to demonstrate to our LGBTQ+ employees that WSP aims to foster a stimulating and safe work environment where our people can flourish personally and professionally, regardless of their position, background or gender.
Some various events and training sessions throughout the year included:
- Supported a national fundraising event for Wear-It Purple, a non-profit organization focused on providing mental health resources and housing to LGBTQ+ youth and their families.
- Sponsoring Pride in Diversity, an organization that provides our employees detailed material on LGBTQ+ issues, challenges and opportunities.
- In 2019, WSP’s business in Australia was the first engineering company to become an official partner with Out for Australia, an organization focused on providing mentorship and educational events.
- Employee participation in large-scale city events including the 2019 Perth Pride Parade and Sydney’s Mardi Gras festivals.
In what ways has your group adapted during the pandemic? What is the impact on your planned celebrations for Pride month? What are you hoping the events will accomplish?
As there are limited opportunities for in-person engagement due to COVID-19; we have promoted content online to our employees. A key initiative we started was “How to be an Ally training”, hosted by Pride in Diversity through online platforms including through a series of webinars and educational talks. In the last few months, it has encouraged many new employees to join, some of whom may have not felt as comfortable attending in-person sessions in the past.