Last week, our Employee Resources Groups (ERG) hosted our first ERG Summit. We listened, we learned and we committed to continue to make Intelex a place where everyone can be their true, authentic selves.
Our ERGs worked hard to bring Intelexians informative and interactive sessions. As we continue our diversity, inclusion, and belonging journey, these sessions were a deeper dive into topics and discussions.
Our Persons with Disabilities ERG kicked off the week with a presentation on the importance of accessibility, and how we need to create tools to be accessible. By creating tools for the “average user,” we can miss a large proportion of those with mobility, cognitive, hearing and vision impairments.
“Software Accessibility 101” was presented by Michael Harshbarger, of Deque Systems, Inc., who reminded the group that disabilities come in many shapes and forms, but not all of them are noticeable:
- 74% of people who have disabilities are dealing with conditions you wouldn’t be aware of unless they told you.
- There are 1.3 billion people around the world who identify as having one or more disabilities. When you include their friends and families, disabilities touch 53 percent of the population, making it the largest emerging “consumer” market.
- Everything you can interact with using your mouse or your trackpad must also be doable using basic keyboard keys.
- Native HTML elements – when used according to specification – have keyboard accessibility baked right in.
The Womxns + Allies ERG collaborated on their session to bring awareness to the experiences womxn face on a daily basis. They promoted the message that men need to use their privilege as a spotlight to help womxn and empower womxn.
“Text Me When You Get Home” focused on important discussions around personal and workplace safety and how men can become better allies.
Are you looking for ways to help? Read below for key takeaways and highlights from this session
- Womxn globally are speaking out against the violence inflicted on womxn, often where they should feel safest.
- Womxn are demanding more protection, and much of the conversation has centered around what men can do to help make womxn safe.
- 97% of all womxn in the UK aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed.
- 736 million womxn globally have been subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
What allies can do: Intervene when womxm are being objectified or harassed, By saying nothing, you are condoning that behavior.
The Visible Minorities ERG hosted a panel with Intelexians on the third day about how to overcome career barriers by building networks, increasing self-promotion and continued conversations with co-workers. The day focused on staying humble and being true to who you are as a unique, contributing employee.
The session, “Overcoming Career Barriers,” featured Intelexians Lorenzo Carlo Tennant and Hassan Joseph, who discussed how their career paths led them to their current roles, the obstacles or challenges they faced along the way and how they overcame those barriers.
“’Canadian Experience’ on my resume was an initial barrier to the jobs I wanted, but I kept going and followed my passion,” Tennant explained.
The primary message of the session was that we all need to be our own advocate. “Know yourself and understand what you want from your career, be your own advocate. If you aren’t comfortable advocating for yourself – this is where allies need to step in and be an advocate for you,” said Joseph.
The takeway was that for organizations that don’t have ERGs, they should. ERGs are a great starting point for providing a safe space to have challenging or sensitive conversations.
We finished the Summit off learning about Trans lives and how we can support them through inclusion practices in and outside of the workplace and learned how small tasks such as adding your pronouns to your email and social media handles is part of being an ally.
The LGBTQ+ ERG presented “Trans 101” with guest speakers from the Get REAL Movement. These motivational speakers shared their inspirational stories on Trans lives and provided a deeper understanding of gender identity through open and honest story sharing.
Trans means that you do not identify with the gender you were assigned at birth. “Transitioned” is the term for describing the process a trans person may undertake to be recognized for their authentic selves. Gender expression is how you want to express yourself on the outside and however you choose to express yourself is beautiful.
Want to be a better ally? Learn more by checking out the key takeaways and highlights from this session:
- Listen to voices of marginalized community members
- Stan up to oppression
- Own your mistakes
- Recognize and utilize privilege to create change
For those who showed their support by attending these events, thank you.
We encourage everyone to continue these important conversations and for every individual to continue to listen, educate and advocate.