As we celebrate heritage months throughout the year, Allyship plays a pivotal role for our people. Our new Allyship program aligns with our goal to foster inclusion at DHG, bring awareness to the challenges our teammates face and actively support our people in their career journeys. As we define it, an Ally stands shoulder to shoulder with members of the community – whether in times of peace or times of strife so that we collectively work to make a difference within DHG and in our greater world.
Our Role in Allyship
To some the idea of Allyship may seem overwhelming – where to begin? Am I doing enough? One DHG team member summed up the role of Allies very well – “An Ally may not always understand everything, but an Ally should always be supportive.” In our My Experience sessions, we encourage our people to continue to have uncomfortable conversations, ask questions with good intentions and educate themselves to better understand the experiences of others. It takes time and is a continuous journey, and empathy and compassion should be at the core of this journey. Put yourselves in someone else’s shoes as you try to understand what they are going through. The power of empathy is strong – I have had conversations with my peers and encouraged them to even think about varying situations as though it were their child being impacted. Once we train our minds to be more empathetic, it becomes easier to understand the challenges and opportunities of others – you never know what someone else might be dealing with.
Educating ourselves is the first step but Allyship does not stop there. As part of the Allyship Program, our Common Interest Groups are encouraged to create Allyship guides. While nuanced, the guides are built on the same foundation of respect, education and empathy, and seek to answer the question, how can someone be an advocate and supporter for our community? Our PRIDE+ Group created a new Allyship guide released earlier this month, which outlines how to be an Ally, what to do and not to do, a glossary of terms and more. The guide also includes these three ways Allies in the workplace can take action:
- Be Vocal & Visible: Be an advocate for the community. If you hear any discriminatory comments, speak up and make it clear that those comments are not okay with you. Use these moments as opportunities to encourage others to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. Also, reach out to someone in the LGBTQ+ community and let them know you are an Ally, and a safe space for conversation. These small gestures make a big impact to allow all teammates to be their true selves at work.
- Be Respectful: Be respectful of everyone’s comfort level and privacy in the workplace. If someone comes out to you, do not assume they are out to others – remember this is a very sensitive topic and some people may be more comfortable sharing than others. Recognize that everyone has their own unique journey, and no two journeys will be identical.
- Be Inclusive: Treat your LGBTQ+ coworkers exactly as you treat all other coworkers— learn about their Life Beyond Numbers. Ask about their partner by name and engage in conversations about their lives and families. These personal connections are a huge component of creating an inclusive workplace where all can be their true selves.
The DHG My LGBTQ+ Experience and Importance of Allies
We recently hosted My LGBTQ+ Experience to listen and learn from the experiences of our people and to celebrate Pride Month. As I watched the firmwide broadcast, the profound impact and importance of Allies stood out to me. Our courageous team members shared their stories of coming out – some knew from a young age they were members of the LGBTQ+ community while others just came out as their authentic selves later in life.
They shared how this journey can take time and can, at times, feel very isolating. Knowing you are not alone and are supported by Allies can be truly life changing for a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Throughout the entire session, I was enlightened and inspired by our people. One story in particular made me so proud to work at DHG. A team member, who was transitioning at the time, assumed he would leave DHG and start fresh at a new firm rather than face the challenging conversations to explain their transition. However, after conversations and connections with team members, mentors and Allies, he was overwhelmed by support and realized he could be his authentic self here and has “found his home at DHG.” Experiences like this motivate me daily as we continue our journey to create a workplace where all can be their authentic selves – I look forward to the day we can say every single person at the firm feels this sense of belonging.
You have heard me say this before and I smiled when someone said this during the broadcast; at the end of the day, we are all people. Regardless of our ethnicity, background or sexual orientation, we have all the same needs – we are trying to live fulfilling lives, spend time with loved ones, find success and joy in a career, and be our authentic selves.
I highly encourage our DHG team members to dedicate time to read through the PRIDE+ Allyship guide and post their support on the Pride Photo Parade. Thank you to the PRIDE+ Leadership team for putting together this helpful resource for our people and planning many Pride Month Celebrations.