The past 12-16 months have been a transition time for our company, as it has been for the rest of the world. From the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to the equality movements here in the United States and elsewhere, it has been a time of change. During this time, AspenTech evolved in its commitment to diversity and inclusion, creating forums for our LGBTQ, Black, LatinX and AAPI employees, joining the AspenTech Women’s Leadership Forum in building out our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion team.
As part of this new initiative, just about a year ago I was asked to join the new DE&I team. It has been an amazing experience discussing DE&I topics with others who are passionate about the myriad ways diversity can enhance innovation.
During the early months, we held a number of events in which we shared our personal experiences with diversity which were very well attended. In April of 2021, I was asked to lead the LGBTQ chapter and I was honored and excited to accept the role.
My first goal for the LGBTQ Forum? To build a program that reflects the concerns and needs of our LGBTQ employees, as well as all AspenTech employees.
My first task? Develop and implement a plan to celebrate Pride month, June 2021.
Fast forward to July 2021, we have celebrated our first Pride as a company and it was a big success! Working closely with Leo Miranda, who planned a previous celebration with our Mexico City team (and is now leader of our LatinX Forum), we pulled together a program that was very well received across the company. We asked employees to share photos that would become a collage of AspenTech Pride. We developed an infographic, email signatures, Microsoft Teams backgrounds and more to be shared with colleagues and allies.
Pride events around the globe were mostly virtual this year, but to keep AspenTech employees in our major offices informed, we provided links to virtual events in Boston, Houston, Mexico City, Reading, Singapore and Montreal.
As both an AspenTech employee, and as a gay man in the year 2021 there are two takeaways from the experience of being the LGBTQ chapter lead I’d like to share with you; first would be on the importance of allies and the second, how I feel we as a society can better ourselves.
To start, and this is big, I want to emphasize the important role of Allies in supporting our DE&I teams. An LGBTQ ally, straight ally or heterosexual ally is a cisgender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality and LGBTQ social movements. Cisgender is defined as referring or relating to a person whose gender identity corresponds with that person’s sex assigned at birth (www.dictionary.com). We regularly talk about allies in the context of all our DE&I teams, and I can’t emphasize enough how impactful it can be both to know you have allies and to be one yourself.
The LGBTQ Forum is actively planning for our the next year and looks forward to events that will inform, inspire and educate. As Marie Daly, the first African American woman to be awarded a PhD in chemistry said:
Courage is like — it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.
I invite you all to join me on this journey. This is just the beginning!