Starting with BuildingPride's Mardi Gras Breakfast through to the final march across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it's been a huge celebration of LGBTQ+ people within engineering, construction and mining.
Todd Nguyen, Senior Transport Planner and VIBE National Chair led the planning activities around Sydney WorldPride.
He says, "Being the 45th Anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and WorldPride, it's a great time for us to champion safe workplaces for LGBTQ+ colleagues. The series of events were opportunities for WSP employees to engage with others and be part of the rainbow fun.
"These events include partnering with BuildingPride to attend their Mardi Gras Breakfast with Holly Ransom, attending celebrations with other transport, buildings and infrastructure professionals in the Sydney office with our own Ian Chase spinning tunes, and 'Cassandra the Queen' joining us, and finally marching in the Mardi Gras Parade."
WSP Australia's Sydney team and Cassandra the Queen enjoying the celebrations as part of Sydney WorldPride
Tomas Beak, Business Analyst and VIBE member, attending BuildingPride's breakfast as part of assisting organising and facilitating visibility and awareness of the Diverse Sex, Sexuality and Gender (DSSG) community within the engineering industry.
He says, "My biggest takeaway was learning how to encourage team members to be aware of DSSG concepts to be active, advocating allies that are both well-informed and feel to proactively champion inclusion.
"It's important for LGBTQ+ to be visible within engineering to ensure that everyone feels safe at work. Without visibility, emerging professionals may feel less confident in their work, especially at the beginning of their career."
WSP Sydney Celebrations
Mardi Gras weekend festivities started off with Friday drinks in the Sydney office hosted by Regional Directors, Dan Cunningham and Renu Steggles. Dan says, “We normally hold a once-a-month Friday drinks but we decided to hold an additional event to align with Mardi Gras. It grew from there to become a wonderful, colourful fun evening that was spectacularly supported by so many people.
“There were many highlights for me including the vibrancy of the room for the week prior and after, the atmosphere on the night, ‘Cassandra the Queen’ was hilarious as entertainment, and we certainly can’t forget our very own Ian Chase as a brilliant DJ.
“However, my favourite thing has been the positive feedback received from countless colleagues thanking WSP for supporting the event and demonstrating genuine commitment and support to the LGBTQ+ community.”
Todd Nguyen, Senior Transport Planner and VIBE National Chair (right) leading WSP Australia activities at Sydney WorldPride
Amy Valentine, Principal Environmental Engineer was part of the parade on Saturday night alongside many other WSP employees across different floats.
She says, “I’ve been to the parade many times since I moved to Australia, and I’ve always found it extremely fun and joyful but also moving. I met a lot of people in the float I was with who were extremely welcoming and very fun. I also really enjoyed meeting people in the staging, everyone was lovely, and the atmosphere was electric. I can be quite shy and quiet, but everyone made me feel welcome and like I was a part of it.
“Although I’m not part of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I believe that an ally is someone who supports and defends others. Changing the world takes positive action from everyone, it’s all our responsibility.”
On Sunday 5 March, Sydney WorldPride finished with over 50,000 people marching across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for global equality and celebrating all that has been achieved and conscious of the world still to be done.
Greg Kane, Chief Operating Officer says he enjoyed swapping his normal Sunday activities to be able to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
He says, “It was great to be able to stand with my colleagues and support the LGBTQ+ community. I had chats with people that I don’t always get to have when we’re in the work environment and increased my understanding the work our VIBE group is undertaking to increase visibility within engineering and construction.
“Diversity is critical in building a culture of innovation, engagement and performance, we want everyone to be able to bring their whole selves to work.”
WorldPride was celebrated in Sydney for the first time in 2023
VIBE is the WSP global network for LGBTQ+ employees and works to influence culture and raise awareness within the firm. In Australia, we work with organisations such as Out for Australia, BuildingPride, Interfirm and Pride in Diversity to deliver events and training.
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