Many have described the diversity and inclusion journey as a marathon rather than a sprint. That's true for us as well. While we've seen an acceleration in effort over the past year, we continue to take the long view as we recognize and support our LGBTQIA+ colleagues in the pursuit for human rights and inclusiveness.
Before the formation of our Employee Community Networks (employee-led affinity groups), several LGBTQIA+ employees created a grassroots forum for sharing resources and community building.
"When I first joined ICF, I had a hard time figuring out whether domestic partners were covered under our health insurance (yes they are, and it's a benefit that ICF has offered since the 1980s). I realized there was a need for an internal group for asking questions and sharing information. So I set up a forum on our internal social network Yammer," explains Maryann Stassen.
"I joined our Employee Community Network because I saw it as the next natural step to supporting LGBT+ peoples within ICF." — Maryann Stassen
Today, our LGBTQIA+ Employee Community Network provides a safe and welcoming environment, support for personal and professional growth, and advocacy for equitable corporate initiatives. It's a group with drive and focus, reminding us that our work is not done.
"We're meeting and advocating for the needs of our LGBTQIA+ employees through our Employee Community Network. And our members are shaping these efforts. It's an opportunity to improve people's lives in a profound way." — Jason Clevenger
While Pride Month may now be known for celebrations and parades, its roots are in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Each June, we remember those lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. And we recognize the local, national, and international contributions and impact of the LGBTQIA+ community. Behind the desire to change the world is great passion. Our teammates in the U.K., including Callum Barr, Kate Ryrie, and Munirat Plummer, created this short video for Pride Month 2019:
"From the classroom to the boardroom, we must continue to speak up for our community and the work that still needs to be done." — Callum Barr
Pride Month 2020 was unlike any before. The global pandemic and uprising against systemic discrimination changed how we live, how we work, and how we interact with each other. And it shaped how we support, celebrate, and uplift all marginalized groups. To help guide us, a team of our ICF Next colleagues, including Callum Barr and Mo Eigen, created a resource guide for our employees. It includes links to biographies, resources, podcasts, playlists, speeches, and recommended readings from the LGBTQIA+ community.
"Education on issues and challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community is vital to ending stigma, tackling bias, and moving towards an equal society. To walk through the world unaware of the adversity faced by certain groups is a privilege not afforded to everyone. The only way to address this is representation and education," Callum shares.
We're full of pride for the work we do for our clients. A groundbreaking surveillance study on transgender women. A survey on the impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community. A study that examines the social position of transgender people across Europe. Together, we're supporting a more prosperous and resilient world for the LGBTQIA+ community.