Visibility and Equality: What Being A Part of AppianPride Means
Talking about what makes a workplace inclusive is personal. Everyone has a very unique experience and it can be difficult to describe what that looks like without hearing real people’s stories.
AppianPride aims to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ community members and allies. What does being part of AppianPride mean to you?
We asked Rebecca Rosalia and Mike Todd who shared their experiences with AppianPride, the impact they see across the company, and top resources to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.
Meet Rebecca Rosalia.
- Workplace Experience Manager
- Based in Virginia, US
- Co-founder of AppianPride
Back when Affinity Groups were fairly new Appian, it made sense to have a Pride group. We were a growing company and needed to have representation and to create a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. I co-founded the group with Courtney Connolly and when we proposed the idea to HR they were quickly on board.
AppianPride membership is a little different than some of our other groups because it’s very often invisible and up to individuals if they feel comfortable self-reporting. Employees can join as LGBTQ+ community members or as allies but I think there’s a higher level of confidentiality around a group like this that’s crucial in creating a safe space.
Inclusion is a personal experience.
I came out midway through my employment here. I just started bringing dates to events and nobody looked twice at me or said anything. Nobody cared and I appreciated and respected that. My orientation has nothing to do with how I’m received by other people. It’s never changed anything at work.
It’s hard to explain what inclusion means to me. I can only speak to my personal experience and how it feels to be part of a place where you feel valued and welcomed to be yourself.
So much of your workplace experience is dependent on your manager and your direct team. Even if people work for the same company, they can experience a very different environment and culture being on another team. That’s why it’s so important to have Affinity Groups focused on creating change and inclusive policies throughout the company. It needs to be intentional or it’ll slip through the cracks. AppianHeritage and its work creating an inclusive culture is another crucial piece of this work, and there’s always more we can do to create safe spaces for people.
Why Affinity Groups matter.
I’ve worked at Appian for 14 years and we’ve changed and grown a lot, but the open and accepting culture here has been consistent. It was never a surprise that AppianPride was welcomed, it made sense and we had the initiative to start it.
People here are good humans who want to do the right thing. AppianPride is focused on community, engagement, and education and this translates into leading many initiatives throughout the year.
I knew we were an open and accepting organization. Being part of campus recruiting events and sharing stories of AppianPride made it that much more powerful. So many people have been hired because we talk about AppianPride and our Affinity Groups at campus job fairs. It matters to people. They want to be part of an organization that values and prioritizes creating safe spaces like this.
Meet Mike Todd.
- Based in Sydney, Australia
- Lead, AppianPride APAC (Asia-Pacific region)
The Appian team in Australia is a close-knit small group so often everyone gets involved in our AppianPride events. We celebrate Mardi Gras in February, host happy hour socials, lead training sessions, and partner with LGBTQ+ charities.
For example, our AppianPride group recently organized a team event going to the Sydney Comedy Festival! A bunch of the festival themes were about LGBTQ+ topics and it was a fun event to get together outside the office. Coming up for Pride Month, we’re leading a team event where we’ll do the iconic Bondi-Coogee coastal walk to raise funds for a local charity.
AppianPride organized a team event going to the Sydney Comedy Festival.
Rewarding to see impact.
Being part of AppianPride has given me something at work beyond the day to day job I’m contracted for. I’ve shared ideas with people from other parts of Appian in Europe and the US who I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and it’s exciting to be part of creating this larger community.
It’s rewarding organizing AppianPride events and then hearing from people that they are learning and gaining exposure to diverse topics. What’s common knowledge for me may be totally new for someone else and creating a safe space to ask questions is what we aim to do.
I hope this encourages people to feel more comfortable within the company and to come to work more authentically. That's what I hope is the real impact.
3 Ways to learn about Pride this month.
While it's great to be a part of training sessions and Pride social events, it really hits home when you hear someone’s story. Whether that’s through a conversation or hearing a real person’s perspective in a movie or book. It's important to actively seek out those resources.
If you’re looking to learn and find some of these stories, here are 3 ways to start:
- Browse the PFLAG blog. AppianPride has hosted trainings with PFLAG, an organization that supports the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the US through education and advocacy.
- Read Honeybee by Craig Silvey. It’s a book about an Australian transgender teen and their experiences and friendships. I read it and personally had never thought about many of the topics they discussed. . Reading this book about the life story of a transgender person was really powerful.
- Follow Matt Bernstein on Instagram. On a lighter note, Matt’s account is a fun way to keep up with current events in the queer community, with a bit of comedy too!
There’s an overwhelming amount of resources out there online, but I hope these 3 help you learn something new! A big part of AppianPride is getting together as a community, and learning and sharing experiences. Creating a safe space means listening without judgment and always being open to learning something new.