Beyond Pride: How Companies Support LGBTQIA+ People in June and Year-Round

These Colorado businesses know that their employees need support all year, not just during Pride month.

Written by Avery Komlofske
Published on Jun. 01, 2022
Beyond Pride: How Companies Support LGBTQIA+ People in June and Year-Round
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Happy Pride month! It’s the time of year when corporate social media lights up in rainbows, parades featuring LGBTQIA+ people hit the streets and employers put together a buffet of Pride-themed activities. For thirty days out of the year, the LGBTQIA+ community lives in a world that shouts its celebration of their identities from the rooftops.

In order to truly care for the community, however, it’s important for companies to recognize that their LGBTQIA+ employees, clients and community members do not stop living in these identities once the celebration dies down. They continue to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual, and they still need dedicated support to thrive in their workplace. That support, unfortunately, isn’t a given — The UCLA Williams Institute reported in 2021 that 50 percent of LGBTQIA+ workers surveyed were not out to their current manager, and 34 percent have left a job due to discriminatory treatment by an employer. 

Pride is a magical, inspiring time to be a member or ally of the LGBTQIA+ community — the celebrations revitalize people and bring them a new sense of solidarity and confidence. But those June experiences cannot be the only steps taken by business to support their workers and clients if they are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Fortunately, though, there are quite a few companies that do support their LGBTQIA+ community year-round, and Built In Colorado sat down with three of them for an extended conversation. Leaders from Neat Loans, Uplight and Melio shared how they celebrate Pride, along with what they do to support the community once the rainbows come down.

 

Jen Farmer
CMO • Neat Loans

 

Neat Loans is a fintech mortgage lender.

 

How is your company celebrating or recognizing Pride throughout the month of June? 

As Neat’s CMO and — as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community myself — I’m so proud to work for a financial tech startup that has strong ethics around diversity and inclusion. We’re a small team based in Boulder, Colorado, but we do some fun things to celebrate Pride — including the Pride 5k in Denver as well as a Pride-themed happy hour. We also get involved in podcasts, webinars and organizations who are doing their part to educate the community about homeownership, financial planning and real estate.

 

Beyond the month of June, what are some examples of ways your company supports or advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community?

Neat Loans is a fintech mortgage lender, so we’re well-positioned to make a difference in the LGBTQIA+ community year-round. Historically, the LGBTQIA+ community has faced an uphill battle when it comes to housing — they’re 73 percent more likely to be denied a home loan, even though they are not at higher risk of default. Due to the traditional process for buying a home requiring loans, our community still fears discrimination in their future home buying process — especially in cities that are not particularly friendly. Because Neat provides the same equal access to home loan rates and programs to qualified buyers no matter who they are, the community can easily compare mortgage situations and decide what fits their financial goals without the bias of a person involved. At Neat, we’re doing our part to make the home-buying experience a great one for our LGBTQIA+ clients.

I’m so proud to work for a financial tech startup that has strong ethics around diversity and inclusion.”

 

How does your company support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team?

As a fintech mortgage lender, we serve a diverse community — and we want our team members to reflect that community as much as possible. We care about the experiences, perspectives and ideas that make up our internal team at Neat Loans, and we’re committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do.

Even though we’re a small team, we have topic-specific breakout groups that meet regularly. Our “Women at Neat” program is one new initiative that helps women at Neat, especially the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ women, have extra support and empowerment both personally and professionally. We discuss everything from networking and career pathing to negotiating techniques and navigating cultures in more traditional tech and finance companies. 

Neat Loans is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, political views or any other applicable legally protected characteristics.

 

 

Lauren Yoder
People Business Partner • Uplight

 

Uplight provides end-to-end technology solutions for the energy industry.

 

How is your company celebrating or recognizing Pride throughout the month of June?

Uplighters are very excited to be participating in the Denver Pride Parade this year, led by our incredible employee resource group PRISM (Pride, Raising Awareness, Involvement, Support and Mentorship). We’re excited to invite Uplighters and their loved ones to march as one team and shine light on our LGBTQ+ members and allies.

We’re hosting in-person office gatherings with decorations, rainbow cupcakes and snacks at our offices in Boulder, CO and Boston, MA. We’ll also offer virtual pride trivia for our remote team members to promote education, connection and good fun.

We’re also creating spaces where LGBTQ+ members, allies and the broader Uplight community can connect in other meaningful ways. One way is by hosting dedicated discussion sessions with a focus on the intersection of marginalized gender experiences, imposter syndrome, psychological safety and socializing actions we are committing to doing to improve our company culture. We are also creating a resource list where employees can find organizations to network with, volunteer at and donate to  — organizations whose mission is to positively impact LGBTQ+ persons, specifically supporting transgender youth.

 

Beyond the month of June, what are some examples of ways your company supports or advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community?

At Uplight, we’re committed to fostering a diverse workforce of happier and healthier employees where inclusion, respect and belonging are foundational to our mission in creating a sustainable future. Throughout the year, we partner with our people team in developing a pragmatic DEI strategy, and hosting events to promote awareness and education for our leaders, managers and team members. We have various Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that offer a unique, employee-driven way to add value to our company culture and employee engagement.  

PRISM promotes an inclusive community for lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer employees and allies. We partner with fellow ERG team members on Organized Marginalized Genders (OMG), which offers support and community to employees who identify as a marginalized gender. We work closely with our PRISM executive sponsor, Chief Operating Officer Angela Tucci, who champions our mission by serving as an advocate, provides strategic advice to align our goals, and boosts outreach to build support for the activities we put together. 

Throughout the year, we partner with our people team in developing a pragmatic DEI strategy.”

 

How does your company support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team?

This year we are excited to connect our PRISM group with our executive leadership team in a facilitated conversation to talk about the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ team members at Uplight. The purpose is to socialize on important topics such as manager and colleague support of our experiences, ask questions and share how managers can be allies with our ERG mission and goals. Engaging with our executive leaders is an important way to build community and trust and advocate for changes in our systems and processes. Together we can enhance inclusion, equality and belonging at Uplight. 

Additionally, our ERGs create safe spaces for folks where they can find community and work together to maintain a focus on the LGTBQ+ and gender-based work experience at Uplight. To promote psychological safety in our discussions, we kindly ask that cis, straight men act as listeners. We ask tough questions while keeping our community’s best interest in mind. Uplight understands that diversity, inclusivity, equity and belonging for LGBTQ+ folks require continuous learning from all of us.

 

 

Melio team members wearing tutus with rainbow colors
Melio

 

Roohi Ahuja
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager • Melio

 

Melio is an accounts payable and receivable solution for small businesses.

 

How is your company celebrating or recognizing Pride throughout the month of June?

The TeaMelio has a lot of fun activities planned for Pride month. We are doing everything from drag Bingo in the office to having our employees lead open conversations about what Pride means to them along with sharing their journey. As Melio focuses on small businesses, we are also highlighting LGBTQIA+ businesses in the community to support. And on top of that, we are also utilizing as many LGBTQIA+ vendors during the month of June to further highlight and support Pride.

 

Beyond the month of June, what are some examples of ways your company supports or advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community?

We foster a team that is welcoming to everyone and anyone at Melio. Outside of Pride month, we have an LGBTQIA+ ERG that has members of the community along with allies. Melio has an open-door policy to discuss all things that could impact our team, and we create a safe space by keeping conversations going and providing resources throughout the year. We encourage our employees to provide their preferred pronouns throughout the different technologies we use so that everyone is represented exactly how they want to be.

We are constantly providing our team with tools to support and empower our LGBTQIA+ members.”

 

How does your company support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team?

DEI is something that Melio takes very seriously. We are always diligent on hiring within diverse communities, but also on empowering our current employees in all ways. We take a huge stance on providing equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their race or sexuality and provide our team the tools to foster learning and development in all aspects of DEI. Whether it is a training on bias or a speaker series from an underrepresented community, we are constantly providing our team with tools to support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of the Melio team.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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