Celebrating Authenticity and Allyship in the Workplace
While Pride Month is a time to celebrate the impact of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s also a time to acknowledge that the journey to inclusivity is not finished. As a company, we’re reflecting on how we can ensure everyone feels welcome at Enel, and that includes our LGBTQ+ employees and allies.
Many marginalized communities have historically been underrepresented in the energy sector. The tide of energy transition brings with it an opportunity to build a diverse and inclusive workforce – and a safe place for everyone to grow a career.
Hear from some of the Enel North America employees who are members of the Pride in Power Employee Resource Group (ERG). They are not only shaping a clean energy future, but also building a company where everyone is proud to bring their whole self to work and be allies for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Bringing Authenticity & Pride to Work
There are many ways to define pride. For Matt Epting, Senior Media and Public Relations Manager at Enel North America, “Pride means refusing to compromise. I’m fortunate in a lot of ways, but my life is too precious to waste time being anyone else but myself. Pride means rejecting the shame and hate projected onto LGBTQ+ people and simply, unapologetically being.”
How can one be their most authentic self at work? Of course, the LGBTQ+ community looks for workplaces that will accept them for who they are. Many have to ask themselves if they will have to hide who they are in order to fit in.
Luca Seletto, Director of Innovation at Enel Green Power North America, reflected on the idea that bringing your whole self to work is about knowing who you are and who you want to be. “I sometimes see people who present themselves in a certain way because they are afraid they will face difficulties,” he said. “I think it is really important to create a workspace where you can feel safe in expressing yourself and in sharing your experience with others.”
Finding and creating communities at work is crucial to sustaining a safe, inclusive environment. For finding LGBTQ+ resources, Rissa Coleman, Compliance Analyst at Enel North America, recommends looking around you and seeing what your company may offer. “You’re not alone. Groups, such as our Pride in Power ERG, have helped me find community, even as a young person joining the workforce remotely.”
The Importance of Strong Allyship
In building a diverse and inclusive workplace, having allies who support and elevate the LGBTQ+ community is critical. Jennifer Reilly, Project Administration and Planning Manager of Commercial Contracts at Enel Green Power believes that the role of an ally is to, “…help support equality and diversity in the workplace.” As an ally in Enel’s Pride in Power ERG, Jennifer was excited to join because “it helps to better understand your coworkers and peers – and to better educate people.”
For David White, Market Research Manager at Enel Green Power, “ allyship also means ensuring, “…that members of the LGBTQ+ community enjoy the full range of rights that every other citizen enjoys.” Not only government rights, but “the right to truly be who you are, and to live your life as you choose, without fear or discrimination from anyone. That includes in the workplace.”
What qualities make a good ally? According to the group, many of the same ones that make a great colleague, like being genuine, honest, empathetic, humble, and resolute.
In other ways, allyship can just mean showing up for your colleagues and being a dependable presence. As Rissa said, “Some of the most important allies in my life haven’t been the loudest ones, but the people I could count on to always be there when I needed them, whether that was personally or professionally.”
As we strive towards inclusivity in energy – Open Power for everyone – it’s important to continue advocating, uplifting, and defending our LGBTQ+ community. At Enel, we aim to do this through our Pride in Power ERG, which is a place for employees to share their stories and discuss important issues. It’s also a community that monitors and evaluates the company’s benefits and policies to ensure they meet the needs of LGBTQ+ people, such as equal benefits for domestic partners and spouses, inclusivity trainings, and accessible name changes in internal systems.
Brian Jackson, Contract Manager II at Enel Green Power and Co-Lead of the ERG added, “The Pride in Power ERG also ensures that everyone is represented. I have the unique opportunity to facilitate impactful ways for my coworkers to be seen and our shared goals to be heard.”
Advocacy for those who identify as LGBTQ+ doesn’t end in June. Pride should be celebrated every day, and we must continue our advocacy efforts so that every person can feel safe and empowered to be their authentic self at work. If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, as member of the LGBTQ+ community or as an ally:
- Donate time or funds to LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations like the Trevor Project or the Human Rights Campaign.
- Attend Pride events in your local community.
- Join an employee resource group, like Pride in Power, to connect with others in the workplace.
- Check in regularly on friends, families and colleagues who are part of the LGBTQ+ community to ensure that they feel safe and supported.