“I’ve always felt the need to support LGBTI+ people in the workplace.” This is how Miguel Díez, from CUPRA’s Product Strategy department, sums up the origins of Pride Moves Us, a group which promotes the visibility and inclusion of people identifying as LGBTI+ within SEAT S.A. Around this time last year, in the midst of the global pandemic, he and fellow colleague Miguel Ángel Sanz founded the group with an aim for it to become a meeting point for LGBTI+ employees and advocates.
This June, together with Human Resources, and coinciding with Pride Month, they’re celebrating the one year anniversary of their efforts to raise awareness and to promote the group’s inclusion in the company’s day-to-day work. “At SEAT S.A. we have a Diversity department, so from the very beginning we’ve had great support from the company to set up our network and move forward together on the projects” explains Díez. “Pride Moves Us was created to give the LGBTI+ community visibility within the company and to ensure an inclusive and respectful environment so that all LGBTI+ people can be themselves while carrying out their work” he adds.
Pride Moves Us. Pride Moves Us currently has 38 ambassadors who lead the group’s various initiatives in conjunction with the Diversity department. It also has a very active Instagram profile where many of its activities are focused. The group is not only open to people who identify as LGBTI+ but also to advocates in order to “spread the message” says Díez. The group holds regular face-to-face meetings at the CUPRA Headquarters building, which has become the network’s meeting place, where members share experiences and discuss new strategies to keep making progress in implementing new ideas and initiatives.
The power of diversity. Pride Moves Us also promotes external networking with peer groups from other Volkswagen Group companies, and from outside the sector. This includes a collaboration with REDI (Red Empresarial por la diversidad e inclusión LGBTI+), Spain’s first business and expert network on diversity and LGBTI+ inclusion. Guillermo Cerrón, a SEAT S.A. Finance employee and a driving force behind Pride Moves Us, has been representing the carmaker as part of REDI’s new board of directors since February.
A network for awareness. “Networking helps us carry out awareness-raising and training tasks, share experiences and learn about good practices that we can apply in our company” says CUPRA Strategy, Business Development and Operations employee, and Pride Moves Us ambassador, María Contelles. The group has also proposed extending SEAT S.A.’s anti-harassment protocols to address specific incidents involving people from this group. “It’s great to be able to contribute to improving procedures and rules to support the community” adds Contelles.
The reassurance of being yourself. For Díez, having the backing of SEAT S.A. is paramount. “When you know that the company firmly supports something that affects you in such a personal way, it makes you feel comfortable, confident and proud of where you work” he says. “At the end of the day, being able to behave and carry yourself as the person you really are in your work environment, where we spend a large part of our time, is extremely important” he adds.
Visible and inclusive. Pride Moves Us also serves as a catalyst for visibility in areas like management. “It’s essential to have management references and through the group we met Thomas Meiers, Chief Governance and Legal Officer, for example, who’s a member of Pride Moves Us and who is very active in social networks that support diversity and inclusion of the LGBTI + community”. Additionally, SEAT S.A. Executive Vice-president for Human Resources and Organisation Xavier Ros has supported Pride Moves Us since the very beginning: “I believe in the power of each person’s uniqueness as a way of boosting the company’s competitiveness. It’s essential to support initiatives that help us break down barriers and stereotypes in order to thrive, not only as a company, but also as a society”.
A necessary boost. “One of a company’s greatest resources is its human capital” says Contelles. In this sense, “the fact that the company is diverse and inclusive makes it much more competitive, talented and open to society” she adds. That is why diversity and inclusion are key to attracting and retaining talent: “If someone doesn’t feel accepted or supported at work, or can’t be themselves, they’ll look for another job” explains Díez. Thus, according to Contelles, “diversity management translates into happier employees and better results for the company”.
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