At Adaptive, Pride Is in Our DNA
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month: a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, while also remembering the history of Pride and the struggles our community has faced. As this year’s Month comes to an end, I reflect on how fortunate I am to work at Adaptive – a company that proudly supports its LQBTQ+ employees not just for one month, but throughout the year.
Adaptive is committed to providing a culture that empowers, develops, and inspires our employees to bring their whole selves to work. I helped create the Adaptive Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) – an employee-led group dedicated to offering support to our LGBTQ+ employees and fostering inclusion and diversity within Adaptive. Adaptive Pride also participates in community outreach programs that support and uplifts the LGBTQ+ community and allies.
The inspiration for the Adaptive Pride ERG came about from a conversation I had with our CEO Chad Robins during a dinner in San Francisco several years ago. I told Chad that over the years, the fear of rejection has caused many LGBTQ+ people to try to be someone not truly ourselves – both professionally and socially. Instead, we try to be someone we think will be accepted by the people around us. Putting so much energy in trying to be someone you are not can be consuming and exhausting. It’s not productive – not for you, not for the company, not for our society, not for the world.
Chad has always strongly believed in the uniqueness of people – that diversity in thought promotes innovation. That Adaptive should celebrate we’re not the same. We wanted to have a diverse workforce. We wanted to be welcoming, supporting, and respectful.
We started thinking about how we could foster this culture of support and diversity and soon after created the Adaptive Pride and Women@Adaptive ERGs. It was not long before Adaptive participated its first Seattle Pride parade.
The company made a formal statement that there will always be a place for LGBTQ+ people at Adaptive. I believe that, from a psychological perspective, if you are a person who laid low and didn’t feel comfortable talking about your sexual orientation, it is so liberating to hear directly from your CEO that “this company is a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to be whoever you are; just come to the table with your full self, we’re going to be OK with it, you don’t have to pretend to be someone else.”
Chad set the tone and enabled us to begin learning about our fellow LGBTQ+ Adapters. Through events and involvement with the ERG you get to see a different part of someone you might not work with directly. We have created a special community within Adaptive that is supportive and valued.
I’m especially proud that now fellow LGBTQ+ Adapters feel more comfortable sharing openly about themselves. With Adaptive Pride we want to promote that we see you, we hear you, and we’re here to celebrate you and support you in whatever challenge that you have in the workplace and out.
The Work Ahead
Each year Adaptive chooses an organization to support during Pride Month. Last year it was Lifelong, an organization whose mission is to remove health barriers for those living with HIV, since they were on the frontline of helping the LGBTQ+ community impacted by COVID-19. This year we’re back to thinking about what we can do today to facilitate connection and strength in the LGBTQ+ community in the future. For us, that is making sure that young LGBTQ+ people feel safe and supported.
The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. It provides a hotline for youth in crisis, for situations where coming out to their parents didn’t go as planned and they don’t know what to do next. They can also receive counseling and support via text or chat to help navigate the process. This is critically important because LGBTQ+ youth contemplate suicide at nearly 3x the rate of non-LGBTQ+ youth.
Youth are always trying to determine who they are and who are their role models. Visibility and representation is key. Positive coming out stories, from people of all backgrounds, races, and religious beliefs create a path of representation that is critical for our LGBTQ+ youth.
If we can help the young establish connection to a supportive community, we may be able to help some change the course of their lives. With potentially a good experience coming out and the space to be true to themselves, they won’t have to create layers that they will have to undo in their adult lives. They can just grow up as they are, free to reach their fullest potential. That’s how we’re going to develop the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders.
One of the best parts about Pride is that everyone can relate to this special celebration. It is about celebrating not only the LGBTQ+ community, but also celebrating that essence that we each feel inside, that essence that makes us truly unique. I’m glad that over the last several years at Adaptive, we have built a culture within our organization that showcases that we celebrate everyone’s uniqueness. We lift up the members of the LGBTQ community here and our many allies. We foster a sense of belonging where everyone can feel secure and safe to be who we are. We are each not only enough, but we are each also bringing something unique and wonderful to this community. That needs to be celebrated.
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