Celebrating Pride Month at UKG: Stories from Our LGBTQIA+ Community

This Pride Month, UKG is proud to spotlight the voices and experiences of our PRIDE employee resource group (ERG) members.
 Three UKG employees, Tom M., Jennifer G., and Marco E., are featured in a photo celebrating 16 year

This Pride Month, UKG is proud to spotlight the voices and experiences of our PRIDE employee resource group (ERG) members. We engaged with three inspiring U Krewers who shared their unique journeys within the LGBTQIA+ community, highlighting their experiences with allyship, representation, and the challenges they have faced.

PRIDE is dedicated to uplifting our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, non-binary, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) employees at UKG. Our mission is to cultivate a safe, inclusive, and supportive workplace where every U Krewer feels confident and valued in expressing their true selves each day. And this year, to make Pride Month even more special, PRIDE is celebrating its 10-year anniversary!

Images of Jenn

Jenn G. (she/her), Lead Software QA Engineer, Lowell, Massachusetts

 

Why is it so important to be able to be your authentic self at work?

UKG is where I started presenting my authentic self to the world. I am a transgender woman. The difference before and after sharing who I am is like night and day. When I wasn’t presenting as myself, I struggled to get through the day, let alone be effective. After? I can bring a mix of passion and joy to my job that makes me effective and inspires the people around me — it’s a kind of magic.

What do you wish more people realized or knew about the LGBTQIA+ community?

This is a scary time to be transgender. The media is full of hate speech and lies that have people, who have never met anyone trans, believing things that are not true. As a transgender woman I wish I could sit down with anyone who doesn’t know me, to let them understand me. I am not what the media makes me to be, nor is the LGBTQIA+ community. As a community, we just want the same things anyone else wants — to live fulfilling and happy lives, quietly and peacefully.

What do you appreciate most about UKG’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEI&B) initiatives and why?

The positive impact they make on UKG’s culture can’t be overstated. I see our culture of trust, respecting, and caring as coming directly from our DEI&B initiatives. I don’t ever feel like I must hide who I am, or the fact that I’m transgender. Just the opposite, I feel I am celebrated for being me.  

Why is representation in the workplace and beyond so important?

There is a thriving community of trans, non-binary, and parents of trans/non-binary folx inside UKG. When someone new is brought into the circle, there’s a moment of joy for the new person—“wait, I am not alone?”. It is special to see. When you see others who represent who you are, you realize you are not alone. You realize you can thrive anywhere, not just the workplace, as your authentic self.    

There is a thriving community of trans, non-binary, and parents of trans/non-binary folx inside UKG. When someone new is brought into the circle, there’s a moment of joy for the new person.

Jenn G.

Lead Software QA Engineer

Tell us about someone who has shown up as an ally in your life.

Hard question! I have so many people giving me support, choosing just one is tough. My most improbable ally is Leslie, my electrologist. We share details of our lives. We laugh a lot, which says something about someone zapping my face. She gives me criticism as well as support, I appreciate that. Leslie’s taught me more than I could say. She does a great job on my face. Added bonus? Occasionally I show up for a session and she’s got pizza waiting.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling with their LGBTQIA+ identity in the workplace?

I look back on the time I was struggling with who I am and how do I tell people. I spent a lot of time and energy building complicated scenarios about what might go wrong if I told anyone about myself. I realize now that same effort would have been better spent elsewhere. My advice would be to not let yourself get caught in a spiral of negativity. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – even a little – to find allies and community.

How has UKG's PRIDE ERG evolved over the years?

UKG’s ERGs are open and inclusive spaces – anyone can join any ERG. I notice how more people are joining PRIDE to learn about the community. I’ve had more than a few U Krewers tell me they joined to “become a better ally.”

Images of Marco

Marco E. (he/him), Solution Consultant, Montevideo, Uruguay


Why is it so important to be able to be your authentic self at work?

If we could not be our authentic selves at work, we would not develop a sense of belonging and our productivity would stagnate. To validate my point, imagine if you were not your authentic self at work. How much energy would you have to spend on hiding your identity? This would not only take a toll on your mental health, but it would impede you from giving your absolute best at work.

Now, imagine how different this situation would be if we are allowed to be authentic. Instead of focusing our energy on hiding, we can be more engaged, innovative, and productive. Allowing employees to be their most authentic selves makes for a great place to work.

What do you wish more people realized or knew about the LGBTQIA+ community?

I wish that people knew that not all members of the LGBTQIA+ community are the same. Sexuality, gender, and expression are not a monolith, but a spectrum. The LGBTQIA+ community thrives on being different and being authentic, we do not need to fit in any sort of boxes or definitions. To sum up, throw your assumptions out of the window!

What do you appreciate most about UKG’s DEI&B initiatives and why?

What I appreciate the most is that they stretch beyond just emails or messages. UKG is truly trying to create an equal opportunity workplace, whether it is through training, resource groups, or policies; a positive impact is actively being achieved, which I value.

Why is representation in the workplace and beyond so important?

Being part of a minority, representation is the most candid way in which a company shows us that they will allow us to grow and expand our opportunities. For me, it reassures me that our workplace is a safe place. Besides work, representation makes us visible, and it also sends a powerful message: you belong, and you are valid.

Tell us about someone who has shown up as an ally in your life.

My biggest ally has always been my mum. Growing up in the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay with an older Latina mother, I was always afraid of coming out. But from the moment I expressed my authentic self to her, she has become the most reassuring, welcoming, and accepting person I know. Thanks to her I am who I am, and thanks to her, I know that I will always have a place where I will feel validated and included. In my opinion, she sets an example for everyone. Now I see that personal beliefs, age, or other personal identifications don’t have to impact your acceptance of others’ identities.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling with their LGBTQIA+ identity in the workplace?

If you are struggling with your LGBTQIA+ identity in the workplace, I would like you to know that you are not the only one going through that situation, you are not alone. My advice would be to find support networks, partner with other LGBTQIA+ individuals, and befriend them. Create or find groups where you can share time and space with your community peers, because they will give you an opportunity to express your identity, hopefully within the group first, and then within your workplace or even other spaces.
 

If you are struggling with your LGBTQIA+ identity in the workplace, I would like you to know that you are not the only one going through that situation, you are not alone.

Marco E.

Solution Consultant

 

Images of Tom

Tom M. (he/him), Sr Technical Training Specialist, Sydney, Australia

 

Why is it so important to be able to be your authentic self at work?

There are many reasons. The one that stands out to me is the variety of opinions, ideas, and individual experiences we all have as our authentic selves. Bringing our differences to the table in an environment that is accepting and open means each stakeholder benefits. U Krewers benefit because their lens of ideas and opinions are heard, debated, and actioned. Customers benefit, because UKG becomes a better solution provider meeting market needs. And the community benefits through UKG’s forefront leadership of encouraging everyone to be their authentic selves at work. The more the merrier!

What do you wish more people realized or knew about the LGBTQ+ community?

People in the LGBTQIA+ community are just living normal lives. Of course, to certain degrees of fabulous, but for us it is our normal life. So, our sexuality is our sexuality. What we wear is what we wear. How we speak, where we live, and who we love, these are all parts of our normal life. Part of what makes our community so special is the differences that come with each individual and their unique personality. So next time you meet someone from the LGBTQIA+ community, realize they didn’t come from a cookie cutter of what we’ve seen depicted on TV or social media. They are just a person living a normal life.

People in the LGBTQIA+ community are just living normal lives. Of course, to certain degrees of fabulous, but for us it is our normal life.

Tom M.

Sr Technical Training Specialist

What do you appreciate most about UKG’s DEI&B initiatives and why?

UKG’s DEI&B initiatives have a global reach across the organization. In the ANZ SEA region, having access to the same initiatives as my colleagues in the United States and elsewhere, means I have the same opportunity to grow and develop as a person. I also have the same opportunity to help and support others with a stronger together approach. Many challenges faced in one area of the world are the same in other areas. And if not, we can lean on each other for support. With global inclusion in initiatives, we can all network and foster valuable relationships. Plus, you may get to meet a bunch of Aussies at the next Drag Bingo.

Why is representation in the workplace and beyond so important?

To be safe, you need representation. There is safety in numbers. When someone who you feel represents you is in a role that influences a decision-making process, it means outcomes are less likely to be ones that marginalize or disadvantage you. Having representation in leadership shows everyone both inside and outside the community that being your authentic self is accepted and judgement is made on merit, not on who you are.

Tell us about someone who has shown up as an ally in your life.

In the last year, my partner and I moved out of Sydney to a country town in Australia. One of our considerations and concerns when we moved was, would we be accepted?

Fortunately, we found an ally almost instantly in the local coffee shop owner. She accepted us into the township as another piece in the tapestry. Making sure we were introduced to all the ‘cool kids’ in town, so we had friends everywhere. Now affectionately known as ‘the boys,’ we feel right at home here with a fantastic bunch of people who have all accepted us for who we are.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling with their LGBTQIA+ identity in the workplace?

Find something you are confident in, and channel that energy when thinking about your workplace identity. At UKG there are PRIDE Chapters around the world that you can join who accept your LGBTQ+ identity. You will meet friends, community members, and allies through networking opportunities. If you are unsure or nervous about coming by yourself then BYO ally! Have someone you already know join alongside you for that extra support in opening the door. PRIDE at UKG is open to all and you do not need to identify as LGBTQIA+ to join.

How has UKG's PRIDE ERG evolved over the years?

The last 12 months of being part of the PRIDE ERG Chapter in ANZ SEA has been a whirlwind of growth and development. Our Chapter is small in comparison to the wider PRIDE ERG group, but our growth of community members and allies has been amazing and inspiring. With this progression has come more opportunity to host events where our members bond, develop, and learn. New fresh ideas about how to attract others into this exciting space are actioned and PRIDE will only continue to grow at UKG.