Empowering LGBTQIA+ people in Stem

November 18th, marked International Day of LGBTQIA+ People in STEM. The day shines a light on those often underrepresented fostering a continued effort to create an inclusive work environment across the industry.

Cherice Thomas, Associate Director, Site Reliability Engineer, Kyndryl: “November 18th  is an important day. It is important to me to see a reflection of myself and other “out” colleagues in the places we spend so much time of our life, in roles we aspire to, skills we wish to develop, and our personal and familial aspirations. As a young person I never imagined that I could work for the largest bank in the UK or one of the most influential multinational technology companies. I hadn’t seen anyone who reflected my culture, values and beliefs in these roles. Now, with experience at Lloyds Bank, IBM and Kyndryl under my belt, I am part of programmes in my company (Race & Ethnicity KIN Core team and a member of the LGBTQ+ and Women’s KIN) that tells anyone who will listen that ‘You Belong Here’. The out programmes we embrace at work reflect the true world that we live in today. They focus on forming the digital world which will be inherited by our children, and work to resist complacency – one of the biggest challenges facing LGBTQ+ people and our allies. 18th November is a day to remember that we are all different in some way or another, but this is what makes us stronger together.”

Gary Halpin, Senior Lead, Infrastructure Specialist at Kyndryl: “It’s hard for a lot of people now to understand how different the world was twenty years ago for LGBT+ people. Coming out in a large corporate environment was like painting a pinkish scarlet letter on your forehead. No one wants to feel like they are alone and no one wants to feel they have to hide a secret to protect their career or reputations. It takes a lot of courage for anyone to live their authentic self, so seeing Out role models across the industry and in your workplace can help people find courage in themselves when they need it. It can be easy in metropolitan cities to think that everyone is free to come out to be themselves, but that is not always the world we live in. From a business perspective, it is simply not productive for closeted LGBT+ professionals to waste energy pretending to be someone they are not. Talented people want to work somewhere where the corporate values support them, and where they feel safe. The Out Role Models Program is a small part of how my company, Kyndryl, attracts, recruits and retains LGBT+ staff and is a practice that should be reflected across the STEM industry. It is important for businesses to understand that, if companies do not cherish diversity, or provide somewhere where employees feel secure and valued – they will never excel.”

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    6 December 2023


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