Celebrating Diversity Awareness Month is something that any individual or group can do. Each of us is capable of taking action that can advance diversity awareness whether it’s through large initiatives or through the personal steps we practice to be an advocate for diversity. The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter how you choose to recognize Celebrate Diversity Month as long as the goal is to grow the ability to foster connections through conversation and action. As an example, just the existence of V+ Pride and all of the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a testament to how we drive and celebrate global diversity all year long. ERGs provide a safe space for underrepresented groups because they can create relationships with other team members with common identities.
I believe our ERG has created an environment where people can come together and learn about people or topics that they may be unfamiliar with or new to the participants. The work that each of us does in our V+ Pride allows for the discussion of tough topics without having the fear of saying or doing the wrong thing because everyone in attendance is there to learn and embrace each other.
V+ Pride is that ERG helps to cultivate spaces where team members are able to build new relationships and connect through shared experiences. As each of us faces unique challenges inside and outside of the workplace, it is important to see representation and feel a strong sense of belonging. I love learning about the many experiences and challenges that other people have had as they navigate life because it reassures me that I am not alone. This is something that I carry with me as I think about diversity beyond the visible aspects of culture and ethnicity and how intangible attributes can add to the uniqueness of individuals and the many diverse communities at Vonage.
The best way that I can promote diversity awareness in my everyday life is also through visibility. I make a point of bringing my whole self to whatever environment that I’m in. This can go a long way toward supporting underrepresented groups. Representation matters. It’s important for everyone to be fully represented and seen by others throughout the organization. The best part about visibility is that it’s something everyone can do. Each one of us needs to remember that sometimes just our presence is enough to inspire someone else who feels alone.