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Pride Month 2021: Cpl's People of Pride Q&A

Pride Month 2021 at Cpl

June is Pride Month, so all month, we’ve focused on creating and sharing content to highlight the LGBTQ+ community.

Diversity and Inclusion is of key importance to us at Cpl. In 2017, with the help of The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Cpl established the BeProud@Cpl LGBTQ+ Network. We were the first recruitment agency in Ireland to invest in an LGBTQ+ community and we actively promote LGBTQ+ inclusion at work, and outside of work.

This year's theme for Pride is the topic of Community. Now, with a lot of workplaces still working remotely, coming together virtually to celebrate #Pride is even more significant.

Mei Lin Yap, Senior Human Resources Assistant at Cpl, Ireland prepared questions for two members of our BeProud committee: Anthony Cummins, Sales & Systems in Group HR, Ireland, and Mikolaj Jaskiewicz, Team Lead at Cpl Jobs in Warsaw. Here they spoke about their thoughts and experiences with diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

What are the biggest challenges in driving forward Diversity and Inclusion in workplaces to support the LGBTQ+ Community?

Anthony: “The biggest challenge for LGBTQ+ or all diversity and inclusion is education or the lack thereof. The fear of telling kids in school that it's ok to be different, it’s ok to be you and have the feelings you are having. Break down that barrier and all others will soon fall.”

Mikolaj: “I think that the biggest challenge on the Polish market is still widespread homophobia and uncertain decisions of companies in the subject of Diversity and Inclusion. As a part LGBTQA+ community, I would like to have confidence that before making the decision of joining the company that it will be a safe space where I could be myself. However, the current political situation in Poland has caused that some global companies to not openly support LGBTQA+ or not even change their logos to the rainbow ones during pride, because of the risk of a negative reaction from the Poles. Of course, it is changing but the pace is not so fast as it should be. Global companies should shape and promote an equal work environment to ensure that no one will treat LGBTQA+ people worse in the workplace because of who they love.”

What colleague would you like to recognise for their activism regarding LGBTQ+ issues & why?

Anthony: “Honestly, I’m very lucky to not just have one. With the BeProud Committee always pushing for recognition and acknowledgment of LGBTQ+ people and of course people with disabilities, their rights and their commitment to overall diversity and inclusion with Cpl and our partners is so important and means so much to me, and I’m sure to others in Cpl.”

Mikolaj: “In Cpl, Stephen Molloy. I admire his commitment and organizational skills! I can't believe he manages to do all the stuff for BeProud and at the same time manage the recruitment team.”

Have you encountered any LGBT bias or homophobia in your career, if not what advice would you give to those that have?

Mikolaj: “Fortunately, I have had no negative experiences and I am really grateful for that. I don’t think I could give any particular advice as everybody is different and is in a different environment. What worked for me is casually mentioning my boyfriend or something LGBT-themed in a conversation at work. I never had to make an official statement about being gay. Life is much better when you don't have to be stressed at work for accidentally mentioning your personal life.”

Anthony: ” I do think that all these phobias should not be called phobias these are not the fear of something, they are caused by ignorance. I was lucky and a lot aren’t so lucky. To those faced with any of these, all I can say is, you will always have support. Find your support, in friends, family, or the family you make, and constantly remember HR is always there for you.”

For more advice check out some of our previous articles and resources:

The aim of BeProud is to build an inclusive and safe network that empowers self-belief and confidence, where everyone can bring their whole selves to work. We do this through confidential personal and professional support, collaborating and developing strong relationships with other LGBTQ+ networks, and actively driving conversations on crucial LGBTQ issues internally and on our digital platforms. Learn more on our Diversity and Inclusion page.