November 18, 2015
Earlier this month, ING Italy celebrated the start of its own LGBT employee network, GALA Italy. The launch was organized with support from GALA in the Netherlands, management, HR and Communications at ING Italy and Corporate HR. The launch is a great best practice for globalizing LGBT inclusion in a multinational organization.
LGBT inclusion at ING
ING’s GALA LGBT employee network was launched in 2004 at the Amsterdam head office. ING is a founding member of Workplace Pride and has communicated its LGBT inclusion message both internally and externally since 2006. A great example of the latter is the pink ATM, designed for Amsterdam Gay Pride.
It started with the initiative from ING’s Head of Risk in Italy to organize an LGBT event at ING Italy. There was a strong support from management, and within 3 weeks, Gala Italy was born.
Gala Italy co-founder Alessandro Milanese: “Italy’s lack of legal recognition does not incentivize LGBT people to be out at work. Having a local LGBT network at ING Italy sends a strong message to ING employees that diversity has added value for our business”.
At the LGBT unconscious bias workshop held to launch GALA Italy, LGBT employees and allies shared their stories and experiences. According to ING GALA global chair Martha McDevitt-Pugh, “something special happens when LGBT people share their experiences about coming out at work. It creates intimacy and opportunities to connect and know each other a little better.”
The event was supported by the communications department, who made a video of the event with an interview of ING’s Global Head of HR, Hein Knaapen, recently included in the Financial Times OUTstanding Top 100 LGBT Executives list.
A big challenge for the new network is where to start. Luckily, they can share best practices with GALA Netherlands. Milanese: “Our aim as GALA Italy is to support our company in creating an even more inclusive environment and to ensure our employees are empowered in their performance and careers.”
In expanding to Italy, GALA expects ING will gain positive exposure internally and externally as a leader in LGBT inclusion. McDevitt-Pugh: “LGBT inclusion impacts our work culture and makes our people – LGBT and straight – proud to work at ING.”
November 10, 2015
On Friday November 6th, Young @ Workplace Pride organized it’s first mentorship session open to all young professionals of Workplace Pride members.
Held at PwC’s offices in Amsterdam, the number of participants for the session exceeded all expectations; one of the factors leading to the great success of this first gathering. Representatives from ING, ABN Amro, Shell, Accenture, IBM, Gemeente Den Haag, Arcadis, KPN, UWV, Achmea, Booking.Com, Elsevier and PwC were all present, allowing the meeting to become a true networking and learning event!
Janet Visbeen, partner at PwC and the featured speaker at the event, was the first senior LGBT executive to volunteer to be part of the Young@WorkplacePride mentoring program. As a role model for young LGBT professionals, Janet shared her thoughts on how being LGBT has played a role in her career. She also advised the young LGBT people present how to face their own, similar, dilemmas in the workplace. Some thoughts she shared:
– Be true to your ambition, not tomorrow but today! Do so in everything you undertake.
– Develop your personal brand.
– Invest in yourself.
– Look for a hotspot environment where innovation thrives.
– Stop searching for more, and instead realize what is really important to you: always ask yourself “why do I want this, is this me wanting more or am I true to myself?”
– Make a difference
Janet related how starting a relationship with a woman made people view her differently, and how it stimulated her to stop pleasing everyone and become who she really is. She concluded that, in fact, it has also made her unique and stronger.
The organizers of the Young@Workplace Pride would like to thank Janet for sharing her story and being a rolemodel the world needs; not only for those present during the session but also for those in the additional work she does, including for the UN.
For questions regarding Young @ Workplace Pride’s mentoring program, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
November 9, 2015