MAY 2014 | VOL. 16 NO. 08
CAREERS. EDUCATION. IDEAS. ALL OF IT.
Bright at the top out and proud executives
The most inclusive and diverse companies in Canada
inside World Pride 2014 IN T.O. JOBPOSTINGS.CA
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE FRONT PAGES THE FRONT PAGES
07 Crunchin’ Numbers
This issue, we’re celebrating the LGBT community. From diverse workspaces to the LGBT travel market, here are the statistics you need to know.
08 STARTUP Embrace Disruption PR founder Cory Stewart talks career change, startup obstacles, and entrepreneurial motivators for young LGBTs.
CAREER REPORTS 11 Diversity recruitment There’s one common term used in diverse workspaces: inclusivity. We take a look at how recruiters are building equal opportunity for all team members.
12 LGBT PR Advertising, social media, events—you name it, they do it. But how are today’s public relations firms reaching LGBT markets? We look at common practices, and the strategies behind it.
13 Pink dollar Getaway The LGBT community is a fan of world travel. Here’s a look at how the multi-billion-dollar LGBT tourism market has influenced many businesses in the hospitality industry today.
FEATURES 15 WorldPride in TORONTO This summer, Toronto will be welcoming the world to pride week. We take a look at what to look out for and how to get involved in this year’s festivities.
19 Out and proud execs
Coming “out” at work is much easier today than ever before. We profile six executives who share their road-to-the-top stories as LGBTs.
24 Top LGBT employers In this year’s edition of Canada’s top diversity employers, we share how companies are keeping their LGBT employees as a top priority.
27 Sexuality studies In a world where gender studies is no longer all about women, schools across the country are tackling a more modern topic: gender and sexuality.
28 FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT We take a look at how a human rights education can lead to careers in law and humanitarian work.
THE BACK PAGES 32 WORK WITH YOUR TRUE COLOURS
We’re celebrating individuality at the workplace. Our HR expert explains why it’s important to be yourself at your 9–5 and the perks that come with it.
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THE FRONT PAGES
Promoting equality From the desk of
James Michael McDonald
I was 21 when I first came out to a colleague. I’d been out for years to friends—introducing them to boyfriends, having clichéd nights out dancing around gay bars. I surrounded myself with people who supported me and the challenges associated with being gay, with people who were progressive and positive. Being out at work was a different story. I worked in retail and banking up until then, not feeling too connected with my coworkers, definitely not enough to tell them something I considered so personal.
But, while working full-time at a bank prior to going back to school, I befriended the teller to my right, Sherri. Her reaction was pure acceptance (to the point of indifference) and I was shocked. When I was 21, it was 2005; Canada was already at the tail end of its LGBT rights revolution. Being openly gay in the workplace meant (and still means) being yourself and very little else. The quality of a person in their career is the standard of their work—not their sexuality, nor their race, gender, religion, or otherwise. Of course, there are still issues we need to overcome, both locally and globally. As much as I have yet to endure discrimination in the workplace, there are those that do. There are still gender imbalances and inequalities in the workplace. There are still those that fear coming out to their colleagues and employers. Education on transgender issues is still lacking. In some countries, things are getting worse. Russia and Uganda come to mind: both introducing anti-LGBT legislation, encouraging discrimination and violence. Being out at all is no longer an option, let alone being out at work. That’s why it’s our job as free-thinking, progressive Canadians to do something about
JOBPOSTINGS.CA | MAY 2014
it. It may seem difficult to cure remaining intolerance in Canada and it may seem impossible to help those a world away, but there are small but significant ways. The most important thing you can do is continue to push for equality in your life. The further we come in our private circles, the further that acceptance and tolerance will reach. At Jobpostings, we release an LGBT issue each year to do our part toward total equality in the workplace. We believe it’s an issue that still needs exploring, and people doing great work in the field deserve celebration. In this issue, we interviewed six out and proud executives to have them tell you their stories of success. We talk to folks working at WorldPride in Toronto this
year, an event that promises to be a landmark occasion in worldwide LGBT rights. We also highlight the top LGBT-friendly companies in the country, look into LGBT PR and tourism, as well as human rights law programs and gender and sexuality studies degrees. It’s our responsibility to promote equality. We hope this issue inspires you to promote it in your community. Happy reading!
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CRUNCHIN’ NUMBERS Congratulations on your graduation! A total of four years filled with essays, all-nighters, and a 20-page thesis paper has finally led you to this day. We take a look at stats that’ll ease the transition from your school life to work life.
Words Megan Santos // Illustrations Anthony Capano
IN 2003, ONTARIO BECAME THE FIRST CANADIAN PROVINCE TO ALLOW SAME-SEX MARRIAGE.
LGBT TRAVELLERS SPEND ALMOST DOUBLE PER TRIP IN CANADA COMPARED TO OTHER CANADIAN TRAVELLERS:
$1,131 VS. $597 THE NORTH AMERICAN LGBT CONSUMER MARKET’S VALUE OF SPENDING IS ESTIMATED AT $750 BILLION.
LGBTS OPEN ABOUT THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION AT WORK
PACK YOUR BAGS!
GAY TRAVELLERS TAKE AN AVERAGE OF 4.6 TRIPS YEARLY.
OUT WITH IMMEDIATE SUPERVISORS OUT WITH MANAGEMENT
YOUNGER CANADIANS ARE MORE LIKELY TO SAY THEY ARE LGBT COMPARED TO OLDER CANADIANS.
OUT WITH HR
OUT WITH SUBORDINATES
OUT WITH PEER EMPLOYEES
ONE IN THREE GAY PEOPLE AND TWO IN FIVE LESBIANS SAY THEY’VE BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST IN THEIR PROFESSIONAL LIVES.
Sources: glen.ie, angus-reid.com, travelgaycanada.com, National Post, Travel Gay Canada
MAY 2014 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA
THE FRONT PAGES
Embrace Disruption PR Cory Stewart talks PR and what it means to run a firm and be disruptive. Cory Stewart, founder of Toronto-based public relations firm Embrace Disruption PR, made his career by being disruptive. “I don’t like to do anything normal,” he explains, as it’s both a blessing and a curse. “I don’t tend to conform or fit in to do things the typical way. I’ve seen the processes that other PR firms go under in order to gain coverage and I just know there are alternate ways to do it.” Looking back four years prior, Cory was juggling two jobs in the hospitality industry when he decided he needed to make a major career adjustment. “I was looking around for opportunities because I always performed very well when there’s a fire lit under me,” he says. As a result, Cory secured a contract job with Torstar Digital which, over time, led him into the strategies and new ventures division of the company.
JOBPOSTINGS.CA | MAY 2014
“I was dealing with building new businesses, coming up with strategies in order to expose new businesses, and business development,” he says. “With that, when we would start up new products, we would have to work with PR firms because we needed to expose them to the markets that we wanted to.” Unsatisfied with the performance of existing firms, Cory took up an interest in public relations and started volunteering his acquired PR skills to local organizations. Embrace Disruption was introduced as a blog shortly after, and transitioned into Embrace Disruption PR (EDPR) in 2012. “We get granular; I don’t care about placing someone immediately in the media,” says Cory, as he explains how EDPR is different from other PR firms. “I care about what the targets are, the
PHOTOS © Wil Craddock
business objectives, and what we’re doing to increase their sales,” adding that it’s not about throwing people in front of the camera. With Cory’s team by his side, EDPR aims to provide unique and outstanding public relations services to both national and local organizations in fields of technology, charity, lifestyle brands, and talent. “Everyone in the company is self-taught or has been trained through me, and it’s very much a learn-as-you-go type of thing.” As a gay man, Cory expresses he’s always been surrounded by positive people throughout his career. “I’ve been lucky to work with amazing clients that obviously know that I’m gay; I think in a place like Toronto and in a country like Canada, I’m very fortunate that it’s not a barrier.” With his sexuality not an obstacle, Cory pinpoints financials as an entrepreneur’s greatest challenge. “Obviously everyone’s always concerned about money; it’s kind of a threat that any moment some client could fall away and you can crash and burn,” he says. “That was always in the back of my mind but, in turn, that kept me motivated to keep on it and keep going at an aggressive rate.”
PHOTOS © George Pimentel
As EDPR’s owner and founder, Cory says finding a work-life balance has also been a challenge. “I’m still horrible at it and my staff can tell you this as well. I don’t really leave my desk for anything.” But with all the hard work over the company’s two-and-a-halfyear existence, the EDPR team continues to build toward their five-year plan of becoming a bigger and more successful business. Focusing and continuing on the momentum is key, he says. “I think the most important thing for me is making sure nothing is sacrificed as we grow so that we always have the attention-todetail and the ability to provide really intense and granular work to each of the accounts that we do.” One piece of advice Cory offers to young entrepreneurs is simple: “don’t look before you jump.” And young LGBT entrepreneurs are encouraged to avoid the perceptions of other people. “If you can’t get what you want in the market that you’re in, then move,” says Cory. “I know that can be difficult and it’s easier said than done because there’s financials and everything, but chase your destiny because it’s not going to find you.”
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Specific for our LGBT employees, we want them to feel that they have a positive space here regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
RECRUITMENT FOR EVERYONE Piecing together an inclusive workspace.
11 Inclusivity has been a hot topic when focusing on LGBTs in the workplace. From providing equal opportunities for team members to implementing internal diversity programs, LGBTs are finding it much easier to be “out” at work.
as simply finding the right person for the right job. At Jazz Aviation, recruitment comes from attending job fairs and working with organizations to essentially promote their positions with the interest in talking to everybody.
Workplace inclusivity isn’t solely practiced in the office or on the sales floor; it’s representative of the trickle-down effect of each company’s values starting at the corporate office to the management team and, finally, to the employee roster. With many Canadian companies listing diversity as one of their core values, employers have been practicing diversity recruitment in their hunt for new hires.
“We feel that by optimizing the strengths of individual employees, we will ultimately strengthen our whole collective team and that will give us competitive advantage,” says Erica Fuhr, attendance and diversity manager at Jazz Aviation. “Specific for our LGBT employees, we want them to feel that they have a positive space here regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“I think about having no sense of difference when recruiting people, but rather being open to diversity since it’s such an important thing,” says Hardeep Singh, student outreach at Out on Bay Street, when defining diversity recruitment. “Basically, it’s representing minorities, being open to the differences, and welcoming them for their differences.” Studying as a full-time student and working with Out on Bay Street, a non-profit organization providing resources for LGBT students and industry professionals, Singh says companies with diversity recruitment practices have an advantage. “Something like being LGBTQA might hold me back because, let’s be honest, not everyone is super welcoming to LGBTQA people,” he explains. “I think when companies come out with this initiative, that really speaks to me and means you care enough to have events and have some budget to welcome our differences.” From an employers’ perspective, diversity recruitment is defined
PHOTOS © scanrail, Jacob+Wackerhausen
Aside from practicing diversity recruitment, Jazz Aviation also works closely with LGBT organizations like Pride at Work Canada and the Gay Pilots’ Association, in addition to participating in Pride parades across Canada. “Just last year, we raised Pride flags in two of our employee locations—one of which in our head office— and then we communicated that to all our employees,” says Fuhr. After the recent debut of their LGBTA Employee Resource Group, Jazz Aviation hopes the group will be a launch pad for additional training of new hires and more company initiatives. “I think it’ll be a good way for employees to feel more empowered in contributing to the company moving forward for our overall inclusion initiative,” says Fuhr. Diversity attracts diversity, adds Jazz Aviation recruitment manager Brenda Rowe. “If you’re not recruiting a diverse workforce, then there’s no diversity fueling your practices. If everyone looks the same or they’re from the same place, it’s really hard to celebrate diversity.”
MAY 2014 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA
PUBLIC RELATIONS & TOURISM
We found that they weren’t really recognized throughout the LGBT community or the entire world because it’s just something that not a lot of people know about.
GETTING OUT THERE
Why companies are seeing the potential in promoting the gay community.
12 How did you hear about the grand opening of the new restaurant just three blocks away from your apartment or the announcement that your favourite band is coming to town for the first time next month? In most cases, there was a public relations team that worked behind-the-scenes to ensure you heard it all. Public relations—or PR for short—refers to the broadcasting of information between companies or an individual and the public for the sole aim to gain exposure. It’s a form of promotion that has continuously been practiced, and many organizations are now working to fuse PR with the LGBT community. “When it comes down to it, I don’t really feel that it’s much of a different strategy targeting LGBT than anyone else,” says Cory Stewart, founder of Embrace Disruption PR. “For us, I think what is more important is educating the non-LGBT market.” Helping charity, technology, and lifestyle organizations with their PR strategies, Embrace Disruption PR works with organizations like The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA). “We found that they weren’t really recognized throughout the LGBT community or the entire world because it’s just something that not a lot of people know about,” he says. “We’ve taken them to different media outlets and placed them to talk about their story, make people understand exactly what they do, who they are, and what their value is.” Promoting the organization to the general community through archived stories of the history of same-sex marriage and its legal battles in Canada are crucial, especially when educating youth, says Stewart. “For stuff like that, people have no idea so we just
JOBPOSTINGS.CA | MAY 2014
want to remind them of the make up of our histories.” As a gay man, creating LGBT marketing strategies and conducting research are important for Laurence Bernstein, managing partner of Protean Strategies Inc. “It was about creating an awareness of the gay community,” he explains. “It was about bringing whatever companies were doing to the gay community and creating marketing campaigns that would appeal to the community.” LGBT niche marketing is one of Protean Strategies’ main focuses. Bernstein and his team work closely with companies that strive to engage with LGBT populations. “All of the work we did was with major brands and it was a question of helping these companies integrate into the community in a strategic, professional kind of way,” says Bernstein, insisting that as LGBT communities become increasingly geographically fragmented, smart marketers will find unique ways to market to LGBTs. Working with the Gay Employee Association, Protean Strategies was able to help the association influence their marketing department and senior management that attracting gay customers would be a profitable and good thing to do. “I think with the LGBT community, the big thing is we like taking on clients that aren’t as well known and need or deserve the exposure,” says Stewart, explaining the impact of LGBT PR. “With a client like the CLGA, [they’re] not well known and it’s something that I think is very important to our make up.”
PHOTOS © alphaspirit, Sneksy
We’re all hospitality professionals and the nature of the industry is to make people feel welcomed, respected, looked-after, and treated fairly.
Pink dollar getaway
LGBT travel in Canada is bigger than we think and hospitality professionals are taking notice.
13 Palm trees, white sandy beaches, and piña coladas topped with mini paper umbrellas are just a few things I picture when the word “travel” is mentioned. But there is a plethora of travel destinations for each individual’s taste, many of which are here in Canada. Whether it’s for business or for pleasure, the travel industry is a significant contributor to the Canadian economy with its $81.7-billion tourism industry. Of that large dollar figure, the LGBT travel market is worth $7 billion annually. “Within North America, there’s a huge market that is clearly spending money,” says Darrell Schuurman, executive director of Travel Gay Canada, a not-for-profit organization that provides opportunities for LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly businesses within the tourism sector. “This alone should be an incentive enough for businesses to take a look at this market and identify it.” Companies in the hospitality industry are encouraged to venture into new markets, and further look into the LGBT segment. “We need to make sure the [travel] industry sees this as an opportunity and something worth targeting,” says Schuurman, adding that Canada has a well positioned leadership role in diversity. “We’re going on now for over ten years since we’ve had same-sex marriages [and] we’re seen globally as a leader in LGBT human rights and inclusiveness.” One sector that has taken advantage of the high numbers in LGBT tourism is the hotel industry. Whether an LGBT associate or guest, international hotel company Marriott is an advocate for equality, non-discrimination, and free treatment for all individuals. “We’re all hospitality professionals and the nature of the indus-
PHOTOS © sorcerer44, Ryan+McVay
try is to make people feel welcomed, respected, looked-after, and treated fairly,” says Jamie Langill, sales manager at Marriott BloorYorkville in Toronto. “It was founded at Marriott headquarters and got spread to a lot of different cultures and countries.” From a market-ready perspective, Schuurman says companies must be aware of LGBT motivators and travel habits, which relates back to the associate training. “When they’re checking into a hotel, it’s the language they’re using,” he explains. “Some of it may not be intentional but the impact on the guest experience is critical,” and ensuring that staff is aware of these sensitivities is crucial. Front-end Marriott staff members are trained through mock scenarios to prepare for diverse guest and associate interactions. Through research on the LGBT market, Langill says “100 per cent of those travellers really value a company that supports their cause, and they tend to stay loyal to those companies that do support their cause.” And with WorldPride in Toronto this June, there couldn’t be a more exciting time for LGBT tourism in Canada. “It’s going to be a really huge event for the city,” he says. “Toronto Pride every year is a huge event but now with WorldPride here, it’s pretty exciting and it’s nice to be in the centre of a city that’s so diverse and known for LGBT acceptance.” Travel Gay Canada has also been preparing, says Schuurman. “What we would love to see is when people are coming to Toronto for WorldPride that they also get to experience some of the other great assets that Ontario and Canada at large has to offer.”
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WORLDPRIDE2014 Words Megan Santos // Illustrations Esenkartal The anticipation for WorldPride 2014 in Toronto is in full swing. With over two million people expected to attend the festivities in June, thousands of volunteers and a number of companies and organizations are working around the clock to ensure the preparation runs smoothly.
Pride Toronto. “It’s really about standing in solidarity, being the voice, and welcoming those to the city of Toronto to be able to participate in this event where they can experience the kind of privilege that we have here, and have that opportunity to self express, identify, and be whomever and however.”
WorldPride is licensed to Pride Toronto by InterPride, an organization that provides resources to pride celebrations worldwide. “What’s going to make this one different is our human rights conference [in] partnership with the University of Toronto” from June 25–27, says Kiona Sinclair, volunteer program manager at
The Family Pride space will also have more activities and entertainment, adds Sinclair. “With our street fair we’ve added some additional spaces, and the partnerships have been incredible to see just how many different organizations that have come on board.”
Working for WorldPride Every year, Pride Toronto celebrations draw between 1,200–1,300 volunteers from team leads to team members. This summer with WorldPride taking over Toronto and the city’s Church and Wellesley village, Sinclair says she’s expecting 2,000 volunteers. “These volunteers that I’ve worked with over the course of the years have been the most incredible people I’ve met in my life,” says Sinclair, who’s in her third festival year. “Some people volunteer just to get those hours or say that they did it, but these people love it and they actually want to give back.” With different volunteer roles available, there’s a space and place for everyone, explains Sinclair. “The trick is to really identify where the best fits are; I would look for enthusiasm, hard work, and a love of community.” The 519 Church Street Community Centre, the hub for Toronto’s LGBT community, is also getting involved in the WorldPride festivities. Through volunteerism and party
JOBPOSTINGS.CA | MAY 2014
hosting, The 519’s involvement in Pride is larger than ever. “The volunteers we need obviously doubled, so we need a lot of helping hands on deck,” says Amber Moyle, volunteer and community engagement specialist at The 519, naming roles with bar, venue, and harm reduction teams, as well as token sales for the four-day Green Space celebration at The 519 and Ryerson University campus. “We’re really trying to gain some better community outreach and get new communities involved, as well as new volunteer opportunities.” With double the number of tourists attending WorldPride this year compared to Pride Toronto celebrations, volunteering is a great way to get involved in the community and meet new people, says Moyle. “I feel like at the end of it, you’ve gained something and you feel really connected. By doing it specifically for The 519, the money you bring in definitely goes back to supporting programs and services,” adding that over $300,000 was raised in donations last year.
PHOTOS © hugolacasse, Madzia71
A queer exhibition
Volunteerism isn’t the only way Canadians are getting involved in WorldPride festivities. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is also hosting Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography, an exhibition of queer art to be showcased all summer long. “With WorldPride happening in Toronto, it seemed like a great opportunity to take a look at the role of photography and queer visibility,” says Sophie Hackett, associate curator of photography at the AGO. Hackett is also the curator of a complementary exhibition, What It Means To Be Seen: Photography and Queer Visibility, to be displayed at the Ryerson Image Centre from this June through August. With images from notable artists like Andy Warhol, Claude Cahun, and Suzanne Malherbe, the exhibit at the AGO is designed to reflect individual identity and the evolution of queer art and photography over the years. “The exhibition is a long viewing; we have some pictures from the 1920s up until very contemporary work,” she says. “So you’ll see some sort of arc in evolution.”
And while the AGO’s exhibit focuses mostly on individual exploration, Hackett says the Ryerson Image Centre’s exhibit is about “pushing out into the mainstream” and exploring “activist elements.” As crowds of all sorts—from WorldPride travellers to local citizens—are expected to visit both art exhibitions, Hackett says she is hopeful that visitors view the photography as a validation of the rich history of LGBT communities and an appreciation for its evolution. “It’s looking at how those photographers built visibility for gay and queer communities,” she adds. “I think the acknowledgement is how far we’ve come in 40 or so years [and] specifically at how photography played a role in different ways.” Hackett expresses her excitement for the two upcoming queer photography exhibits. “Part of Toronto’s vibrancy is partly due to its queer community and it’s not just in arts, it’s in many realms. To me, it seemed natural to mark the occasion and I’m thrilled that others agreed with me as well.”
Company involvement As a long-time supporter and participant at Vancouver Pride celebrations, it comes as no surprise that Canadian telecommunications company Telus will be taking part in WorldPride. While still finalizing the details of their involvement, Telus HR advisor Michel Rondeau says the company will “definitely be at the street festival” and will “have an activation space where we’ll be able to interact with the festival goers.” In addition, Telus also plans to run the Phones for Good campaign: for every Telus cellphone activation in the Greater Toronto Area, they will donate $25 per activation to the Pride Toronto organization up to a maximum of $15,000. Rondeau, who is also the global co-chair for Spectrum, Telus’ resource group for LGBTQA team members, says their involvement in Pride extends much further than the past Vancouver and upcoming WorldPride celebrations.
PHOTOS © hugolacasse, Ridofranz
“We’ve hit nearly every major city, but what I think is really cool is that we’ve participated in some more grassroots festivals like Prince George, BC and Medicine Hat, Alberta,” he says, adding that the company was able to donate $4,000 to the Medicine Hat Pride Society. “When you think of a grassroots organization like Medicine Hat where it’s very small compared to something like Vancouver or Toronto, $4,000 is very significant.” Participating in these events aligns with Telus’ corporate priority of putting customers first, says Rondeau. “Supporting events like WorldPride and Pride across Canada is important to Telus because it really allows us to celebrate the diversity that makes up our customers, our team members, and the communities. It’s really important for us to be an authentic reflection of the community in which we live, work, and serve and this is just one way of doing that.”
MAY 2014 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA
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Bright at the top Out and proud executives. Words James Michael McDonald Illustrations Anthony Capano Sometimes, it seems like opportunities arenâ€™t the same for LGBT people. Discrimination can still occur in workplaces, and the husband with a wife and kids is perceived to rise to the top much faster. From our research, all that is changing. Members of the LGBT community are filling all sorts of positions in every industry. We want to celebrate that Canada is an accepting place to work, and continues to become even more inclusive every day. We interviewed six senior employees in a variety of fields to talk about their struggles and successes. We hope their stories will inspire you to reach for greatness, and to let nothing stop you on your way there.
TOP LGBT EXECUTIVES
Have realistic expectations. The market is tough and competitive, so differentiate yourself through skill sets or experience.
Figure out what you’re good at, what your strengths and skills are, and what you like doing.
Senior Analyst, Finance | Loblaw
Customer Experience Advisor | TD
“I don’t really consider myself an out colleague here,” says Michael. “Loblaw’s culture is based off of respect and reflecting our nation’s diversity.”
“As a member of the queer community, I’ve always banked with TD and I recognized that TD was doing great leadership work within the community.”
Michael started at Loblaw in 2011 as a master data analyst and quickly moved up to senior analyst. On a typical day, he monitors data and the entire system information flow between other systems they use. “Basically, we set up all our information and it flows into other systems like our HR system, our warehouse system, billing systems, and vendor interacting systems.”
Lysa started at TD in a part-time role while working on a grad degree at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. She realized she could bring her passion for education to her job at TD, which quickly flourished into a career.
Michael grew up in the small city of Brantford, Ontario. “All through grade school, I was teased and hid my sexuality,” he says. “When I came into the professional world, I felt I could be open and talk about my boyfriend and my family and things like that.” He’s participated in a number of diversity initiatives at Loblaw, including the Diversity Champion program, which allows colleagues to promote inclusion at work every day. He’s also attended Pride at Work events like ProPRIDE, a professional LGBT networking event. Integral to the productivity of a massive company like Loblaw, it’s key that Michael feel comfortable in his work environment. He says he feels like another member of the team. “We all have our quirks and we all have our individual aspects, so the company embraces that. I’ve been thankful that my boss has always treated me based off my work ethic and I’ve been rewarded with my promotion.”
JOBPOSTINGS.CA | MAY 2014
“I had clients who were coming in and I was educating them on their financial options with the bank,” she says. “As I’ve moved through different positions, my focus has always been on coaching, education, and development.” Lysa’s current role as customer experience advisor supports 16 downtown Toronto branches of TD. “My main goal is to make sure the customers of these branches have the best possible experience with TD from the time they walk in the door.” Before TD, Lysa worked for a credit union that wasn’t as accepting. “The culture was not one that really talked about diversity, so I never came out in that workplace and it felt so uncomfortable for me.” Luckily, TD embraces diversity in a multitude of ways, from workshops, transitioning sensitivity training, and the opportunity to attend conferences. Lysa and her partner have been married since 2012; the couple are interested in starting a family down the road. “There’s no imminent timeline for that, but it’s something we’re now trying to figure out: how to balance careers and the plan to eventually start a family as well.”
YOUR SEXUALITY SHOULD HAVE VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH YOUR QUALIFICATIONS FOR A JOB. BE YOURSELF IN ALL THAT YOU DO.
Get involved in the organization and find out if they have an employee resource network.
Market Development Manager | Priceline.com
Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion | CIBC
“I sort of fell into sales, although it’s a natural fit,” says Leon. Growing up, he worked part-time at the front desk of a hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From there, he worked his way up the food chain in hotels and hospitality to his current position with Priceline.
“CIBC was the first Canadian bank to form an employee resource group for LGBT-identified professionals in the banking industry,” a fact that drew Matt to his career with the company.
Unlike some of his peers, Leon’s success has been built through determination and a knowledge of the industry. “I have very little educational background to share,” he says. “My experience has all come from hard work.” His motto is “people do business with people they like,” a key point to success in sales. In his current role, Leon is a multi-tasker. “About 75 per cent of my time is spent working on finding new business opportunities,” he says. “The other 25 per cent of my time is working with our existing accounts through various methods of support.” Although he experienced difficulty coming out in a conservative environment, Leon says that his industry helped him find happiness and security with his sexuality. “The hospitality industry is a very friendly industry. In 13 years, I’ve never come across any negativity. In addition, my employers have always encouraged me to be as involved as possible in promoting their brands to the LGBT community. The hospitality industry not only values the LGBT community as employees, but also as customers.” Leon’s success doesn’t stop with Priceline, either. He was on the board of directors for the Ontario Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and also owned his own business.
Matt grew up in a small city and struggled with which direction to take his career. He went to a temp agency for guidance and wound up working in recruitment for that agency, eventually leading him all the way to his current role. In the last eight years, he’s worked his way up from recruitment manager at CIBC’s national call centre to senior director of diversity and inclusion. “My typical day is very different day-to-day,” he says. “My day now is anything from dealing with policy to dealing with employee programs that create awareness to dealing with how to create tools and training for our leaders.” “My day is focused on three main areas: what are we doing around our workforce, what are we doing around our workplace, and what are we doing to be a leader in the marketplace.” Matt’s also involved as the chair of the board with Pride at Work Canada, an organization that aims to improve the climate of inclusiveness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-identified employees in the workplace. His key advice is to network as best you can, both in your department and in other areas. “I think it’s so important to start to build a broader network of people who can be supportive of you within the organization. Informal networks can give you a strategic advantage, not only in terms of problem solving, but also in terms of your next move.”
MAY 2014 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA
TOP LGBT EXECUTIVES
Be confident in who you are and kind in your approach.
Be yourself. You’ll be far more successful if you’re open with the people you work with about who you are.
Senior Director, Marketing | The Home Depot
Senior Manager, Audit and Assurance | PwC
“Since coming out, I’ve had great experiences and am able to fully be myself,” says Jason. “That honesty and the support network it created gave me the confidence that helps to overcome almost any challenge.”
“Everyone’s been incredibly accepting of me. I get judged on my work as opposed to who I am, which I appreciate,” says Jon. “I can bring my husband to any of the firm events where we bring partners and it’s like I’m bringing anybody.”
Jason grew up and studied business in Sudbury, Ontario. He worked in retail throughout his degree, eventually working his way up in the company in advertising and marketing, thriving in the unique environment. “Retail is a fast-paced industry where no two days are ever alike,” he says. “The opportunity to build long-term plans and then react quickly to market pressures and immediately see the results of your choices is something that I absolutely love about retail.”
Jon started at PwC over eight years ago as a new associate and worked his way up through the ranks. Currently, in his senior manager role, his days are a mixed bag of tasks, depending on the season. “During my busy time—January to May—I spend most of it at a client site either meeting with teams or visiting clients,” he says. “Outside of busy season, I spent a lot of time connecting with my clients, making future clients, and remaining connected to them.”
He made the jump to The Home Depot Canada, filling a newly created position. “It gave me the opportunity to be one of the first marketing managers dedicated to The Home Depot’s Canadian business. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.”
In some jobs before starting his career, Jon says he experienced a lack of acceptance in the workplace. “Since I knew they were only temporary jobs, I chose not to come out and to just get my work done and, at 5 p.m., get the hell out.” He says the difference at PwC is refreshing, with no judgment or discrimination.
While managing a growing team of marketing associates and creating large-scale campaigns, Jason works in an inclusive environment where he is able to be himself. He’s also had the opportunity to be the executive sponsor of the LGBT associate resource group, helping employees understand the benefits available to them and providing a supportive community. “It’s absolutely liberating being able to be exactly who I am at work and at home,” he says. “At The Home Depot, we pride ourselves on diversity. It is a core value and one that we always strive to embrace and encourage.”
JOBPOSTINGS.CA | MAY 2014
Jon has had the opportunity to do some incredible things through his work at PwC. He’s the leader of Vancouver’s Gay, Lesbian, and Everybody Else (GLEE) resource group, a national employee circle that provides a support network of all LGBT employees and allies within the firm. For two years, Jon was also able to travel with his husband and work in Brisbane, Australia, where he says his sexuality was never an issue. “Culturally, it was a great fit. Fantastic people—just fell in love with the country!”
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Canada’s top LGBT employers in 2014 From positive space workshops and LGBT committees to diversity champions, Canada’s top employers are constructing new LGBT initiatives throughout their businesses this year. Based on the list of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in Mediacorp’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, here’s what some companies are doing to support their LGBT employees and make their workplaces more inclusive spaces. | JAMIE BERTOLINI
BC Hydro Boeing Canada Operations Limited British Columbia Institute of Technology / BCIT CAMH / Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
KPMG LLP Loblaw Manitoba Hydro McCarthy Tétrault LLP Mount Sinai Hospital National Bank Financial Group Ontario Public Service Procter & Gamble Inc.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation / CMHC
PwC / PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Rogers Communications Inc.
CIBC City of Edmonton
City of Ottawa
Shell Canada Limited
City of Saskatoon
Sodexo Canada Ltd.
City of Surrey
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Dentons Canada LLP
TD Bank Group
Ernst & Young LLP
University of Toronto
Government of Manitoba
University of Victoria
Health Canada / Santé Canada
William Osler Health System
Home Depot of Canada
Xerox Canada Inc.
Jazz Aviation LP
YMCA of Greater Toronto
ACCENTURE At Accenture, global LGBT initiatives are in place so that employees in any country can take advantage of them. “One of them is around our transgender portal,” says Roxanne Hutchings, human capital and diversity program lead for Canada. “The intention of the portal is to bring together Accenture’s transgender community and colleagues.” She says it also provides mentoring and allows those in it to network and share information about the transgender community. Accenture also has a “global allies page,” says Hutchings. With over 4,000 allies, the group determines strategies on “how they can get involved and what ways they’re really able to contribute to the LGBT program in order to make that sense of inclusion a reality.” In Canada, Hutchings says their LGBT network is one of their “most active employee resource groups.” Similar to Accenture’s global allies page, this network focuses on key initiatives of inclusion within the company. One initiative Hutchings is proud of is the “wide-ranging medical benefits for our transgendered Canadian employees.” “The medical program is designed to really enable our transgendered employees to allow them to successfully integrate into our workplace at Accenture and also into society.”
Xerox Canada Inc. “Inclusiveness at Xerox Canada leverages the talents, innovation, and creativity of our workforce,” says Shelley Ralston, director, talent management at Xerox Canada Inc. GALAXe Pride at Work is an employee group that works to achieve the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. “GALAXe’s vision and passion is that Xerox is the employer of choice for the LGBT community where out and proud employees work in a culture of equality and enjoy successful careers and employment,” she says. According to Ralston, the group hosts a number of events throughout the year like annual conferences and
“LGBT 101” webinars aimed at educating and de-mystifying employees on who the LGBT population is. In addition to making the list of the best diversity employers in Canada, Xerox also received a perfect score in the “Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
Loblaw Companies Limited Loblaw has made diversity a priority throughout all levels of their company. One of the principles in their corporate social responsibility report is to “reflect our nation’s diversity.” “The Diversity Champion Program provides access into an action-oriented network of colleagues who are passionate about creating a more inclusive Loblaw,” says Janine Tamboli, manager of diversity and inclusion. The program has been running since 2012, working on projects that promote the inclusion of women, persons with disabilities, and communities like the LGBT community. The Loblaw Colleague Alliances (LCA) is a project that was formed by the champion team, says Tamboli. The “LGBTA LCA” is their first pilot and plans to launch during Pride month in June 2014. “These groups are aligned to our shared values, provide a sense of community at Loblaw, offer a forum for members to discuss relevant challenges and opportunities, and enable joint efforts on common areas of interest and development,” she says. Loblaw also continually helps support and raise awareness of the LGBT community by participating in and hosting events during Pride month and at Pride parades held across the country. In Toronto, for example, “Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens hosts many in-store events and gives [out] special rainbow cupcakes to the Pride parade-goers.”
Mount Sinai Hospital “Creating an inclusive and respectful environment allows employees to bring their full selves to work without having to spend time and energy to hide a part of
themselves,” says Irit Kelman, human rights and health equity specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Hiding a core part of your identity and having to deal with discrimination and harassment can take a huge psychological toll.” At Mount Sinai, employees implement and take part in a long list of projects and events all to help create a more inclusive workplace. An example is their gender identity policy that assists in educating staff “about the challenges and rights of trans and intersex individuals both as colleagues and patients,” says Kelman. “Health care is a right that everyone should be able to access.” Mount Sinai’s Anti-Homophobia-Transphobia Action Subcommittee was recognized as a one of the reasons why they are one of Canada’s best diversity employers. Those in the group meet regularly to discuss “initiatives to ensure the hospital is a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all LGBT patients, visitors, and staff,” says Kelman. The hospital also celebrates Pride annually with a “lunch and learn” where speakers from the LGBT community are invited to talk.
SaskPower SaskPower’s LGBT network, though still quite new, is what got them noticed as a top diversity employer. Diversity specialist Pauline Streete says the group is fully funded by the company. “They’re allowed to meet on company time. Generally it’s about four to six business days per year and additional time if required if they’re planning major initiatives.” The network is open for any individuals who identify as LGBT, family and friends who are allies, or employees with relations to someone that identifies, says Streete. “Our group is small and part of that’s probably linked to culture, province, all sorts of things, but we’re hoping to increase it by doing promotional initiatives,” she says. Such initiatives include positive space training for employees and a networking social they call “cinq-ásept,” which occurs as often as the network believes appropriate. “We’re striving,” says Streete. “I’m not going to say we’re there yet, because diversity is constant, but just to promote [that] our organization is welcoming and open and we’re doing things [that] work with our culture to promote inclusion to all.”
Funded by the Government of Canada
The study of sexuality The transformation from women’s studies to learning about women, trans, and sexuality. Gender studies isn’t only about women anymore. In the last decade, academic institutions across the country have been implementing a new topic within their interdisciplinary departments: gender and sexuality studies. As a new addition to post-secondary curriculums, the response from students has been more than positive. “When we’d get feedback from the core course, they’ve said it’s amazing and that we need to have more options,” says Lloyd Whitesell, chair of the sexual diversity studies minor at McGill University. “So there’s great excitement and great demand.” Dr. Mary K. Bryson, professor and director at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia (UBC), attributes the popularity of their graduate program as being partly generational. “People who are in the under-30 crowd already have been participating in a world within which there’s much more complex understanding about what we mean by gender and sexuality and that everyone has a sexuality. It’s not only about being gay or gender studies isn’t only about being female.” Before the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice was introduced in 2012, UBC solely had a Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies that included undergraduate, master’s, and PhD options. “What you can see there is the progression of the field of gender studies, sexuality studies, critical race studies,” says Dr. Bryson. “So this is a transformation where a lot of women’s studies are now women’s and gender studies or women’s and sexuality studies.” At McGill, like the Institute at UBC, the minor in sexual diversity studies is interdisciplinary with the purpose to introduce different perspectives such as politi-
PHOTOS © MHJ
cal issues, human rights issues, historical perspectives, theory, and media representation. “I think when I teach my course, one of the really important principles I think of is to challenge normative thinking,” says Whitesell. “I teach music and queer identity, and I have different units where we’ll do queer music history and [learn] how historians have gone about looking for stories and how they ignored or forgot queer history.” With sexuality as just one part of the program, Whitesell explains the importance of gender diversity. “The title is sexual diversity studies, but it’s a priority to have gender diversity in there as well to have trans issues covered as much as possible. Some students are very sophisticated in terms of knowing about trans identity
related to performers or health research.” Today, the term gender has taken on a new meaning, adds Dr. Bryson. “We’re seeing changes to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms where transgender is now part of gender in the same way gender is showing up differently in the courses and programs that we offer.” As an interdisciplinary program, graduating students are finding communitybased careers. “Our students have one foot firmly planted in a community-based context of one kind or another, like refugee rights and human rights,” says Dr. Bryson. “I would say that we’re probably about 50/50 in terms of people continuing to be located in the university and people who take up leadership positions in community-based and socially oriented programming.”
MAY 2014 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA
LAW & HUMAN RIGHTS
Fighting the good fight A degree in human rights can lead to a career in law or humanitarian work. It’s sometimes referred to as the stepping stone to law school or the introduction to a career ingrained within the community. A degree in human rights means a plethora of learning opportunities in diversity and global studies, as well as an introduction to the laws and institutions in place that protect these rights.
“The program has been running for five years, so if you ask the students why they’re interested or what they’re doing when they’re out of the program, the most common career goal for them is law school,” says Dean Peachey, coordinator of the BA in human rights and global studies and executive director of the Global College at the University of Winnipeg. “Many students are seeing this as a pre-law program and others are in because they say they want to work internationally with NGOs or humanitarian organizations.” The program covers a gamut of human rights issues, both globally and on a local scale, says Peachey. “We have a core set of courses dealing with human rights issues and, as a interdisciplinary program, it will draw courses from other departments on campus” like political science, women and gender studies, and history. The BA in human rights and human diversity at Laurier University has “courses that focus on violation and issues, as well as courses that look at institutions that help protect human rights, like the UN and the Charter [of Human Rights],” explains Dr. Andrew Robinson, program coordinator of human rights and human diversity and associate professor at Laurier University. A common interest for many students in both programs is the study of LGBT human rights. Peachey says the topic gets students to start questioning: “What are
JOBPOSTINGS.CA | MAY 2014
rights? What do they mean? And what happens when one set of rights conflicts with the other?” With their curiosity at its peak, students at Laurier University have the opportunity to further learn about these issues. “We have gender theories and culture where they can learn more about the theoretical issues,” says Dr. Robinson. “In terms of those issues, right off in the first-year course, we look at gender in terms of gay and lesbian rights and movements,” adding that students can also focus on organization-based work, like fundraising and advocacy. With Laurier University’s internship opportunity, some students have the chance to travel to Ghana and work with the Human Rights and Advocacy Centre, which is on the leading edge for LGBT rights ad-
vocacy in Ghana. “It’s a very controversial issue, as you may be aware, in Africa,” says Dr. Robinson, “and it’s interesting for students who are interested in those kind of issues to look at what it’s like in the developing world and compare it to what it’s like in Canada.” For students studying towards a career in law with a focus on human rights, Jennifer Lau, associate director of career services at the Faculty of Law at Allard Hall at the University of British Columbia, suggests to acquire a strong background in law courses like constitutional, administrative, and family law. “Find like-minded law students and lawyers and build a community of support,” she says. “Learn from leading lawyers who are also giving back to the community and demonstrate your interest in a particular issue or community.”
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WORK WITH YOUR TRUE COLOURS Being yourself may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it.
It’s so much better to be ourselves than it is to hide who we are. When our values are at odds with our organization, it can be hard to feel like we’re a part of it. These days, it’s not only acceptable, but also encouraged to be who we are in our workplace. There are many benefits to being ourselves at work—promoting our identities, benefitting our organizations, and developing our local and global community. New ideas | Being ourselves and showcasing our differences as individuals is beneficial on many levels. As individuals, we have different experiences and backgrounds that we bring to our roles. These unique experiences allow us to contribute fresh perspectives and new ideas. A large variety of ideas and perspectives give the organization the opportunity to utilize ideas and not suffer from “groupthink.” When we’re all the same and have the same ideas, nothing changes and organization stalls, so individuality plays into idea creation and productivity. Get a raise for standing out | Standing out and being different could land that raise or exciting promotion. Employees who strive to be different and vocal about their opinions generally get rewarded for that uniqueness. Being different is a good thing! Utilizing our experiences and bringing them with us to work will help cultivate a different perspective from the norm.
JOBPOSTINGS.CA | MAY 2014
Employers don’t want sheep; they want people who will propel the company forward. If we’re not afraid to stand out and speak our mind, it’s likely we’ll be recognized for it. Be the change | Having a more inclusive and welcoming workplace starts with you, the individual. There are always going to be people who are afraid to be their true selves at work. By being ourselves—in terms of cultural background, sexuality, gender, or even a penchant for wearing kooky hats—we demonstrate to others that it’s okay to be who we want to be. Everyone benefits from inclusive and non-discriminatory workplaces. The more we show others our true colours and show that it’s okay to be ourselves, the more likely they will feel open to do so. We can all use a little more inclusiveness at home, work, and in social situations. Everyone benefits from being inclusive and welcoming to people, no matter their race, age, sexuality, or heritage. Organizations and their employees need to celebrate diversity rather then stifle it. If we feel like who we are wouldn’t be accepted at work or that we’d be discriminated against, it’s probably time to look elsewhere. We all have unique backgrounds and perspectives and the world of work would be a much better place if we celebrated and encouraged that rather than hid it. | Heidi Murphy
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