For those who suffer from Gender Identity Disorder (GID), a supportive work environment is critical to their performance, development, and happiness. Amber, Sales Director at Oracle UK, found the support she needed when she joined Oracle in 2012. “I didn’t feel comfortable coming out at my previous employer to the extent that I didn’t even tell them about my gender issues, so I decided to leave and look for a new company that had a strong diversity policy, and that encouraged LGBTQ+ people to express themselves in a safe environment,” Amber shares.
It was upon joining Oracle that Amber had her first contact with the Oracle Pride Employee Network (OPEN), which would give her a sense of community and security. “My first encounter with OPEN was when I was still an in-the-closet employee; I joined one of the regular OPEN global calls where diversity issues within the business and in the wider industry were discussed. Resources were also shared among employees, such as where to go for help, documents, presentations, and assets the OPEN team had created for events and projects over time,” she remembers.
Though Amber wasn’t ready to get involved with OPEN right away, she took a more proactive approach upon transitioning in 2017. “Local HR and colleagues were very supportive. When UK HR announced that they were launching OPEN in the country, I wanted to get involved in order to create a good environment for new employees coming into the business. Stewart Monk, OPEN’s former regional leader, was looking for someone to lead the activities locally, so I became the leader of OPEN’s UK chapter,” Amber explains.
So far, the OPEN UK chapter’s main accomplishment has been its participation in the London Pride Parades, which had an estimated 1 million spectators. “OPEN UK’s 45 members marched for the very first time in 2018 alongside the parade’s 30,000 attendants. People in the business got involved, and customers responded very positively to the fact that Oracle is showing commitment to diversity. My OPEN colleagues were instrumental in setting this in motion and keeping the momentum,” Amber recalls.
The OPEN UK chapter’s work hasn’t come unnoticed, as they now have an award under their belt. As Amber mentions, “the award was presented at the 8th Annual Pride Luncheon at Oracle Headquarters. We received the OPEN Chapter of 2018 Award for all of the great work we did to promote diversity and support for the local LGBTQ+ community.”
Though the OPEN UK chapter has made great strides in a short while, its members know there’s a lot of work to be done. Fortunately, as Amber says, “Oracle has been showing interest in diversity and support for LGBTQ+ employees for a while. Its great employees, as well as customers, are extremely supportive of colleagues who transition. I’ve had very positive experiences with everyone along the way. I can now be my authentic self, and be productive at work to achieve great results.”