Pride is Both a Celebration of LGBTQIA+ Identities and an Ongoing Opportunity to Create Impact

Pride month is an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQIA+ identities, to listen and learn from folks’ experience. We get to remind the world that who we are as people makes up who we are as a business. Everyone here should feel safe. Everyone here should be able to do work they’re proud of. Each team member’s whole self is a part of our success.

While all that is true, we get that not everyone wants to talk about what Pride means to them at work. Parts of this month are about who we love; and about our home and intimate lives. As a business, I don’t feel we're entitled to those parts of our colleagues’ lives, including how they’ve observed Pride. I feel very lucky when any colleague chooses to share a story about their spouse, or pivots their camera on a video call to show their home. Each of these is a gift of trust that we must earn and guard.

As a leader, I want Spruce to cherish our diversity as essential to our success and scream that message from the rooftops. As a person, I’ve been reluctant to take the opportunity of Pride to talk about our philosophy and achievements as though they are sufficient because I don’t believe they are. For me, Pride is about revolt and representation. I’ve benefited from the privilege of circumstances in which my identity hasn't closed doors for me. People who came before me had to fight a lot harder than I did, and others today are locked in an existential battle. It’s a work in progress until we’re all free and there is a long way to go. 

Of the hundreds of things we could and should do to make good on our employees’ trust and to bring us closer to our vision, I want to close this Pride month with a description of the work that we’re excited to be doing for the rest of  2021:

DATA: Some of the most powerful things Spruce can do for diversity, inclusion, engagement, and belonging are hiring people for the work they can do, paying them fairly for that work, giving everyone the opportunity to shine, and doing our best at every touch to mitigate bias. To that end, we need more granular, inclusively gathered, anonymized data about ethnicity, gender, orientation, ability, and more. This will help us put meaningful impact data behind our commitment to intersectional fairness through the employee lifecycle: hiring, promoting, reviewing, and coaching employees. 

INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE: We can also be more opinionated about our language. For example, not many of us outside of the diversity and inclusion group share our pronouns openly. It’s a simple practice to promote clear, considerate communication for everyone. Research has also shown that promoting this type of clear communication can reduce suicide rates for Trans and Non-Binary people. It’s a small step, but it matters. We can do better to correct each other and to thank those who correct us. 

ENGAGEMENT: Every day during pride month, we’ve posting a daily research question in Slack centered around LGQBTQIA+ history and topics. We’re hoping this encouraged team members to start discussion about current and past injustices endured by these communities. At the end of the month we’ll draw 10 winners who answered the most questions correctly, and Spruce will donate $100 in the name of each winner to a LGBTQIA+ 501c3 charity of their choice.  

D&I GROUP: We have an internal D&I group that meets on a monthly basis to support general allyship at Spruce through: 

  • Suggesting and piloting programs that can reduce bias, democratize opportunity, promote justice
  • Providing thoughtful feedback on organizational defaults: race, ethnicity, ability, gender, background, and more

These things are a small tip of a very large iceberg, but we can commit to building on them. I’ll report back. 

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