Reflecting on Year One of the Employee Pride Circle

By June 16, 2020

As we enter Pride season, we wanted to share a bit about the journey Waters Corporation has been taking over the past year regarding LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace.  A little over a year ago we believed that it would be important to launch an employee circle to support the LGBTQ+ community and promote inclusion as part of the Waters Corporation’s diversity and inclusion initiative. Together as co-leads of the employee-led Pride Circle which includes our allies, we represent the diversity that makes Waters so special. One of us is an out cisgender gay man and also the CIO of our Information Technology Division. The other is a cisgender straight woman, who is a senior leader in the Human Resources department.

We have been reflecting on what we have accomplished over the past twelve months and despite these challenging times, we are hopeful about what’s ahead. The Black Lives Matter demonstrations taking place around the world are an important reminder that the fight for justice and equality is ongoing. We must stand up and take action against racism and discrimination in all forms. The progress and achievements of the last year are just the beginning of our work toward an inclusive workplace for all.

When we embarked on this journey, our goal was to make our company more inclusive and supportive to our employees, customers and vendors that make up our wonderful company. We centered ourselves on the following principle: “When employees can bring their true selves to work, we create an environment for all of us to be successful, innovative and engaged.” This year more than any other we are focused on creating an inclusive workplace that supports our employees.  We are pleased to report that we are much farther in this journey that we expected but know there is still much more to do.

Waters Corporation is one of the most supportive, family-like environments we have ever been a part of in our professional careers. But like a family, we have had to educate everyone about what inclusive means in 2020. As members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community, we thought this would be easy but realized that changing hearts and minds takes time. While the pace of change may be slower than hoped, we have made great progress so far.

Last year we raised our first Pride flag. On a Friday we talked about it and before the weekend was over, a colleague found a Pride flag and had it raised before we returned to the office on Monday morning. In that same vein, we discussed the need for alterations to employee restrooms. Having spent our careers in Corporations, we were prepared to present a business case and await a long approval process. Instead, in less than a day, my MSFT Teams video window opened with a message from a colleague asking which changes we wanted to make – just like that we were making progress.

We are incredibly proud of the changes we have made as a team and as a company. There is still so much to learn and so much work to do and together we know it will become a reality.  Thank you to everyone who has helped us to get here. Thank you to those who will help us get farther. To those thinking about making this similar journey, do not be afraid, we are all in this together. Happy Pride to our employees, our customers and our partners.

Brook Colangelo & Katie O’Neill

Categories: Leadership