June 30, 2023Celebrating inclusion: Pride month
This June, Lockton Associates across the globe celebrated Pride month, from hosting parade floats to promoting selfie competitions. The One Pride LEAN (Lockton Empowered Associate Network) group is leading the way and bringing together LGBTQ+ Associates and allies from across Lockton, with the purpose of ensuring that Lockton is a welcoming and inclusive place to work for all. "We started our overall One Pride group as a way to connect Associates across the globe. Throughout the group we are all sharing our resources and our knowledge, as well as supporting each other,” said Monikka Colbert, co-Leader of One Pride. Like all LEAN groups at Lockton, One Pride empowers our people. Members can share resources and work together to enable the change they want to see within the company and the greater community. "It goes back to that feeling of being welcomed,” Max Bartholomai, member of a regional Pride LEAN group, said. “Having a group that focuses on our community and gives us that spotlight and representation, that's something that really enhances the work that we do. Honestly, it makes you want to work harder for a company that sees you and respects you.” One Pride meets quarterly to plan Pride events, such as virtual speakers at a global level and share resources that are helpful to the individual Series and regional groups. To celebrate Pride month, the group posted interactive content and resources on an internal platform to allow all Associates, even those who aren't involved in One Pride, to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. Many offices and regions planned their own events to celebrate Pride month, with multiple groups taking part in their local Pride parades. Just like everything we do here at Lockton, our Pride groups are dedicated to growing and becoming more involved with their communities each year. “One of the things I love about Lockton is that at the moment, we are doing our best,” Colbert said. “But we’re also looking forward, knowing that we can be better. Lockton is always looking for ways to improve. That applies to inclusion, to our work product, to our Associates, it applies to everything.” Check in with a few of our geographies across the globe to see what they did to celebrate Pride. United Kingdom In June, posters featuring LGBTQ+ community members and allies could be found in kitchen areas across Lockton U.K."s offices. Lockton Pride U.K. planned activities during the month ranging from a drag bingo event raising money for a local LGBTQ+ charity to sharing information about the Stonewall riots that Associates could read while eating cupcakes Pride sent to all offices. Founded in 2019, the goals for the group are increasing visibility, allyship and awareness according to Vicky Keene, a member of the U.K. Pride committee. Smaller ways to show Pride around the offices, like these posters, allow people who may not be educated about the community to learn more. Beyond this, Lockton Pride U.K. is also hosting both ally and pronoun trainings. “Sometimes people can be scared to ask questions, and I think Lockton fosters that environment where it is safe for people to do so and learn without fear of saying the wrong thing. Sometimes people get it wrong, but having these conversations leads to them getting it right in the long run,” said Keene. The group is continuing to grow in the U.K., and the goal is to expand U.K. Pride to include members of offices around the country by 2024. They recently earned a “highly commended” honor at the Rainbow Awards, celebrating LGBTQ+ efforts in the workplace. "Having these groups makes me feel comfortable that I can talk about some aspects of my life that I would otherwise try to hide,” Keene said. “Comparing it to other companies, where I may have concealed who I was or what I was going through at the time.”
U.S. Northeast region Northeast Pride celebrated its first Pride month as a group this June. The group was recently formed and is working to partner with local organizations and plan events for their Associates, from speakers to happy hours and service-related opportunities in their communities. Co-Lead of the group Tony Fenoglio was a member of Lockton’s Midwest Pride group before transferring to the Northeast. He has seen firsthand the support that all LEAN groups receive from Lockton after formation. “I joined Lockton in 2018 and one of the aspects I’ve always valued is how receptive and focused our leaders are, specifically when it comes to supporting our Associates. That’s very much exemplified in the creation and backing of our various LEAN groups, including Pride. In fact, I haven’t heard the word ‘no’ yet. I’ve heard ‘How can we support that?’ Fenoglio said. “Whether it be resources, time, energy, funding, there is a concerted focus to help us grow and establish the [Pride] group.” In their first communication as a group, Northeast Pride sent an email to Associates listing ways to celebrate and get involved. Members of the group are encouraged to celebrate Pride in their city and were given a list of events ranging from an LGBTQ+ history walking tour in Boston to screenings of films that focus on LGBTQ+ characters on the green in Washington, D.C. As the group expands, they hope to focus on educating those in the office, even if they are not familiar with the community. They hope to form more allies through education and find community partners who can help advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. “One of the things that brought me to Lockton was our culture. It won me over in the initial process of interviewing,” Fenoglio said. “I felt like I could be my authentic self here. It was made clear upfront that I was embraced.” U.S. Founders region Lockton was a premier sponsor in the Kansas City Pride parade this June for the Founders region Pride group’s second official year participating. The group handed out recruitment materials and had giveaways at the event, where they had twice as many participants as last year. The regional Pride group worked with human resources to turn the event into a wellness event, where Associates who participated could earn points towards prizes. According to co-leader Kena Flood, many Lockton Associates have already asked if they can join next year. “Because it’s Associate driven, the group makes me feel supported,” said Flood. “Having people involved that really care and leaders that are buying in and supporting the group, is really meaningful. It shows they have a personal investment, and it’s not just checking a box." The group is working on planning more events, specifically related to service. They’ve partnered with the Parents at Work LEAN group for a speaker event in August and hope to continue working with other resource groups at Lockton. Flood and DeBruyn’s goal for the group is to increase engagement and add more members to the community that the Pride group creates. “It gives you a place of community and belonging in a company that is so big,” said Kelsi DeBruyn, who has been a member of the group since its creation. “It could be easy to be lost, so it gives you that group of people you can go to outside of your team.”
U.S. Mountain West region In their second official year as a group, the Mountain West Pride group rode in the Denver Pride parade for the first time, complete with a balloon arch and a truck decorated by Associates. More than 30 people signed up to support Lockton Pride in the parade — including key leaders in the Mountain West. “It’s so important to me that Lockton does have these types of organizations, and that our top leadership wants to be involved and out in front,” Max Bartholomai, member of Mountain West Pride, said. “It lets people know there is a place for them at Lockton where they can be themselves and they don’t have to worry about anyone treating them differently for being gay.” The group has also been staying active on internal platforms this month, sharing resources like lists of LGBTQ+ books for adults as allies. According to Bartholomai, this support isn’t present at every company he has worked for. But at Lockton, leadership puts time and effort into making our people feel empowered and valued as they are. We’re consistently working to improve the experience of our Associates in any way possible, and fostering an inclusive and supportive environment is one of our main priorities. Our Pride groups across the globe will continue to celebrate and host events year-round, from training sessions to global meetings. All are welcome at Lockton, and we'll keep working to make our Associates feel welcome and seen when coming to work.