What it Means to Empower the LGBTQIA+ Community at 4 Local Companies

Employees from four local organizations share the initiatives and events their employers host to celebrate and advocate for LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Jun. 03, 2024
What it Means to Empower the LGBTQIA+ Community at 4 Local Companies
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Chicago is the home of pride; pride for local sports teams, historical landmarks and, above all else, identity. 

Since hosting one of the nation’s first Pride parades in 1970, Chicago has carried on its tradition of celebrating and empowering the LGBTQIA+ community. That’s why you’ll find many of the city’s tech companies striving to amplify the voices of LGBTQIA+ individuals. 

iManage’s Dominic Signorelli — who helps lead the company’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group, iMProud — shared that he and his peers are hosting a series of events to honor Pride Month, including virtual trivia hosted by a drag queen. According to him, these efforts reflect an overarching commitment to fostering a culture that uplifts individuals from all walks of life. 

“Creating this sense of community is critical to fostering a sense of belonging and maintaining an inclusive work environment at iManage,” Signorelli said. 

At Intelsat, Isaac Zhodzishsky and his peers strive to build a sense of belonging through their work with the company’s LGBTQIA+ ERG, PRIDE@Intelsat. Whether they’re hosting happy hours or partnering with local organizations, Zhodzishsky shared, he and other members of the ERG are always looking for ways to ensure everyone feels seen and heard. 

“Regardless of the time or place, the PRIDE@Intelsat ERG is striving to empower our community, its allies and the communities we work for as a whole,” he said. 

Read on to learn how iManage, Intelsat and two other Chicago companies uplift the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month — and all year long. 

 

Isaac Zhodzishsky
Software Engineer, Satellite Control Systems • Intelsat

Intelsat’s inflight broadband connectivity technology makes it possible for airlines to offer internet and entertainment services. 

 

How is Intelsat celebrating Pride Month?

At Intelsat, we’re always striving for a culture of equality and belonging. The PRIDE@Intelsat ERG has been a leader in empowering employees at every level across our international organization. Our efforts are defined by the ERG’s pillars: recruitment and diverse hiring, visibility and support of LGBTQIA+ employees, education and awareness, networking and development, and a safe and inclusive environment. These pillars are the foundation for what and how we do things. 

 

“At Intelsat, we’re always striving for a culture of equality and belonging.” 

 

At the end of May, PRIDE@Intelsat will be hosting its first anniversary and Pride Month kickoff party. In addition to celebrating the community, both in-person and remote participants will have the opportunity to participate in the Letters to SAGE program, through which heartfelt letters will be sent to LGBTQIA+ elders and pioneers living in New York City.

 

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

In the 11 months since its inception, the ERG has hosted a plethora of events for ERG members as well as the entire enterprise. These events have included internal trivia competitions and happy hours in addition to participating in local events, such as the Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk in Washington, D.C., and the Luxembourg Pride Run. Beginning earlier this year, the ERG has also begun to plan local coffee chats hosted by company executives who want to more effectively connect with their employees.

 

Beyond events, how does Intelsat support or advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community?

We’ve transformed our job description template to be inclusive and without bias and we publish “PRIDE profiles” throughout the month of June, spotlighting the amazing LGBTQIA+ community members we have at Intelsat. In addition, we’re publishing monthly blog posts, where our members’ voices and opinions can be heard. Such education and awareness is supplemented with online courses and in-person seminars from community leaders around the world. 

 


 

Dominic Signorelli
Talent Acquisition Senior Associate and iMProud Leader • iManage

iManage’s AI-powered platform enables organizations to easily access and activate knowledge within business content and communications. 

 

How is iManage celebrating Pride Month? 

We’re continuing the tradition with our third annual Pride-themed global virtual trivia, hosted by Whaddayaknow Trivia. This is a way for our global employees to connect, create teams and battle it out for a chance at the crown with LGBTQIA+ historical and cultural trivia questions. This year, we’re attempting to try something new with our virtual trivia event and hire a drag queen host to spice up the competition.

The next event that we’re hosting is our iMProud bingo happy hour held in our Chicago headquarters. We’ll be ordering food and treats from local LGBTQIA+ owned businesses, such as Lexington Betty Smokehouse and Jennivee’s Bakery. 

Lastly, iMProud is excited to collaborate again with iMBlack, our ERG for Black employees, on a fundraiser for a South Side Chicago-based nonprofit called Brave Space Alliance. BSA is a Black-led, transgender-led LGBTQIA+ center dedicated to “creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming and services for LGBTQIA+ individuals on the South and West Sides of Chicago.” This has been a fantastic way to engage and challenge everyone in a charitable mission to serve the communities in which we work.

 

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

iManage does an excellent job at empowering all of our iMProud ERG leaders to come to the table with initiatives, events, education, employee programs and more in order to make iManage a great place to work. 

For example, iMProud leaders recently met with our people operations benefits specialist to learn more about our health insurance offerings and how we can create some guidance around LGBTQIA+ specific concerns, such as hormone therapy coverage, IVF complexities and more. We were able to create a plan on how we can start to bridge some of the gaps that might make it difficult for LGBTQIA+ to find a trustworthy provider, receive specific coverage for prescriptions such as PrEP or even just navigate healthcare in general. We’re excited to continue collaborating on this piece throughout the year to find ways to make our employer-sponsored health insurance more equitable for our LGBTQIA+ employees.
 

“iManage does an excellent job at empowering all of our iMProud ERG leaders to come to the table with initiatives, events, education, employee programs and more in order to make iManage a great place to work.”

 

Beyond the month of June, how does iManage support and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community?

Beyond the month of June, it’s still vital to iMProud leaders and members to host engagement opportunities, whether virtual or in-person, for our community and allies to come together and connect on a more personal level. For example, we recently hosted a guest speaker event with Gillian Power, a transgender woman who’s the CTO of Lambda Legal and an iManage user. She spoke about the complexities, challenges and joys of being a transgender woman in the legal industry and how companies like ours can support the LGBTQIA+ community and other marginalized groups. 

We also share content consistently throughout the year as it relates to different celebrations and visibility days within the LGBTQIA+ community, such as Transgender Awareness Week, Lesbian Visibility Day and National Coming Out Day. Being able to amplify each other’s stories and share news, sentiments and media with our community can make such a huge difference in someone’s work life, whether it’s a new hire or someone who has been with the company for over a decade.

 

 

Caroline Skaret
Senior Technical Writer • Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union offers online, mobile and phone banking services. 

 

How is Alliant Credit Union celebrating Pride Month?

We’re still finalizing all the details, but some of the things we’re looking forward to include remotely attending a happy hour hosted by CU Pride, an organization dedicated empowering LGBTQIA+ individuals in the credit union industry, in addition to celebrating Pride with a trivia night social in Chicago with other Chicagoland LGBTQIA+ ERGs from Publicis Groupe, United Airlines and TEK Systems. We’re also planning to celebrate together at Chicago’s Pride Parade on June 30th and hold an in-office potluck to celebrate our favorite foods and represent our diverse cultural backgrounds.

 

How does Alliant Credit Union support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team? 

Our fully-funded ERG, ALL, amplifies the LGBTQIA+ community and supports its allies. ERG-hosted events have been widely attended by staff from all levels of the organization, including members of the leadership team. Pronouns have been added to our email signatures, and our generous employee benefits extend to domestic partners.
 

“ERG-hosted events have been widely attended by staff from all levels of the organization, including members of the leadership team.”

 

Beyond the month of June, how does Alliant Credit Union support and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community?

Alliant Credit Union holds regular in-person and virtual events to support and celebrate the community. Recent events include an “ALL Calls You in for Conversation” panel event, a “Paint and Sip Celebration” and an in-person, hands-on history event with the Gerber/Hart Library, where we also took part in a paid volunteer day. 

 

    Virtual Talks Spotlighting LGBTQIA+

    According to Skaret, Alliant Credit Union has held virtual talks that spotlight the LGBTQIA+ community, including: 

    • Jeffrey Marsh on transvisibility and pronouns
    • Chris Rollins on his “Ripple Effect” leadership philosophy
    • “Let’s Talk Mental Health” with Mary Voigt
    • “Perseverance in Moments of Adversity” with Madam Nymphadora

     

     

    Erika Madison Williams
    VP of People and Culture • GoHealth

    GoHealth’s health insurance marketplace platform is designed to help Medicare consumers find a plan that fits their needs and budget. 

     

    How is GoHealth celebrating Pride Month? 

    In 2023, as we moved into our new space and welcomed people back to the office, GoHealth made a conscious effort to focus on culture and our commitment to DEI. That includes focusing on all aspects that create a culture of inclusivity and belonging and celebrate the differences that make up both our richly diverse employee population and the consumers we serve. 

    This month, we celebrate Pride month. Our GoPRIDE ERG will focus on highlighting the diversity within our LGBTQIA+ community to emphasize equity, promote the benefits of professional development, welcome allies and recognize the unique needs of our consumers. 

    For Pride month, we will host a panel discussion moderated by employees and representatives from local organizations that support LGBTQIA+ employees to generate curiosity, awareness and support. For our employees, GoPRIDE will also highlight the importance of allyship to support members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our aim is to showcase the diverse voices of our employees and to promote understanding, belonging and inclusion. Leaning into empathy as one of our core values, we strive to create safe spaces where everyone feels comfortable sharing their authentic selves and enriching us with their unique, varied and shared experiences.
     

    “Leaning into empathy as one of our core values, we strive to create safe spaces where everyone feels comfortable sharing their authentic selves and enriching us with their unique, varied and shared experiences.”

     

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

    This year, we established three ERGs, including GoPRIDE, which supports and empowers the LGBTQIA+ community and allies within our organization. GoPRIDE will hold its first charter meeting in June to formalize its mission, objectives and goals through active member participation and discussion. 

    We recognize the importance of education and awareness, and we aim to help each GoHealth employee feel that their dimensions of diversity are appreciated and utilized throughout the workplace. Our goal is to continuously enrich diversity awareness and inclusivity experiences and training throughout the employee lifecycle at GoHealth, from onboarding to ongoing development, to foster a culture of understanding, empathy, inclusivity and belonging across our organization.

     

     

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

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