What does pride at the WSP workplace mean to you and how does the organization put it to practice?
When I think of Pride in the workplace, I think of Manaakitanga, a Maori term for hospitality, kindness, support and respect for one another. Pride at WSP is about coming together to reflect on our journey to date, to celebrate, and plan for the journey ahead. By providing everyone with a platform to share personal stories that have the power to help others, WSP realizes the vital role to play in inspiring future generations to be their authentic self.
Tell us about your experience being a member of the VIBE team at WSP? What difference has it made to you personally?
Over the last six months, I had the pleasure to help set up the New Zealand VIBE community. During this time, I have watched team members step outside their comfort zones to share authentic and powerful stories. It has been inspiring to work alongside a great team that I know has my back and who are the reason behind the early success of this network. Although the VIBE community in New Zealand is still in its early stages, I am excited to see what we can achieve in promoting inclusivity at WSP in the future.
In what ways has your group adapted during the pandemic? What are you hoping the events will accomplish?
Unfortunately, the global pandemic meant that it was not possible to celebrate together across our offices. When the VIBE team switched to a digital Pride campaign, our focus was on three key pillars: visibility, education and celebration. I hope that the events this year will strike a positive tone with colleagues to challenge their own unconscious biases and to speak up when they witness behaviours that are unacceptable.
How has being part of the VIBE team supported you in your professional life?
Being part of the VIBE community at WSP has allowed me to understand
the internal workings of a large organization. It has also allowed me to
develop my soft skills that now complement my professional life and my
ability to deliver solutions to clients. Most importantly, the network
helped me understand the process and systems in place to allow all
employees to have their opinions be heard.
What does it mean to be working in a professional environment where diversity and inclusion are a core value?
Personally, this means I get to be myself every day. If you had asked me two years ago, as an engineering student, if I would be comfortable coming out at work, I would have said there was no way. I still remember after I came out, I was told not to publicly advertise being gay in case a future employer found out. The comment stemmed from fear that if I came out at work, I would be held back in my career progression. At WSP however, I am able embrace my identity and proudly walk around the office with a rainbow pin. All of this was made possible by knowing that I had the support of mentors and leaders at WSP.