Welcome to Pride Month, a time to celebrate the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world as well as recognize the progress that still needs to be made in the fight for equality. This year’s observance is particularly special because it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, an uprising that is generally regarded as the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement.
The Pride celebration has already kicked off at Staples and festivities are being led by our employee-driven resource group, Out At Work. We sat down with Inclusion & Diversity Leader, and Out At Work member, Tom, to hear how he and the group are celebrating this month.
What is the goal of Out At Work?
Out at Work is a network for members and allies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. The group not only functions as an advocate and resource for employees, but also as a trusted advisor to the business from an LGBTQ perspective.
How will Out At Work be celebrating Pride this month?
We kicked off June with the annual raising of the Pride Flag in front of our home office. At the event, our CEO, Sandy Douglas, spoke about his passion for inclusion and our commitment to the LGBTQ community. Throughout the month, many employees will be proudly wearing Staples rainbow shirts at work and as they march in various Pride parades across the country. This year at Boston Pride, we anticipate having our largest number of Staples participants ever. I also want to give a special shout-out to employees from Orange City, Iowa (Cody, Allie, David, Abby and Michael) who have received multiple honors for the work they’ve contributed to their local Pride. Wrapping up the month, we’re hosting a Pride Field Day at our home office, complete with lawn games and ice cream. We recently enhanced our benefits program’s definition of eligible dependents to include domestic partners and their children, so there’s lots to celebrate!
How did you get started in inclusion and diversity (I&D)?
After college, I worked in the entertainment industry for six years and wasn’t feeling fulfilled with my contributions to society. I then moved into the field of higher education and was lucky enough to fall into I&D related work in student affairs. Each day, I was able to have a direct impact on the students, faculty and staff. I eventually obtained a doctorate in organizational leadership and began focusing on the corporate world.
What led you to Staples?
It was clear to me the company was positioned perfectly to build an incredible I&D program from the ground up. The opportunity required a bit of strategy, creativity, best-practice implementation, and rolling-up-of-one’s-sleeves, which is the perfect combo for me. I’m honored to be at a company where there is so much commitment and excitement around I&D.
What impact have you seen an inclusive and diverse workplace have on an office culture?
An inclusive and diverse workplace produces more satisfied employees and incredible results. People want to come to work and do their best, let creativity and innovation flow, share ideas, and celebrate each other’s wins. By providing an inclusive and diverse environment, office culture improves, you build a stronger brand image, have access to top-talent, improve performance and productivity, and lower employee turnover. At the end of the day, all of this leads to increased profit for the company, so it’s a win-win for everyone!
At Staples, we aim to foster an inclusive community that empowers our employees to be their true selves. Experience our culture of inclusion and join our team – view our available opportunities today.
Happy Pride from Out At Work and the rest of the Staples team!