SAP Pride: Top 10 in LGBT Inclusion Worldwide

SAP won an award last month that’s very significant for the company and for me personally. SAP was recognized as a top 10 company worldwide in LGBT inclusion by Workplace Pride, a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in workplaces all over the world. Their annual Leadership Awards celebrate individuals and organizations who invest time and effort into creating workplaces where LGBT employees feel supported and can be themselves.

We’ve worked hard to earn this recognition for our history of supporting the LGBT community. Pride@SAP, a global employee network with more than 8,000 people worldwide – both LGBT employees and their allies – was founded back in 2001. In 2015, more than 350 SAP marchers participated in the 45th annual San Francisco Pride Parade and with our #RunProuder social media campaign, we created buzz to raise awareness. Since 2013, SAP has been earning a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for best places to work for LGBT equality. In 2017, SAP events across the globe celebrated LGBT Pride Month. Last year, SAP also became one of the first corporations to endorse the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBT People.

We do all this because we believe in human dignity and in creating a workplace where everyone is respected. We also know that businesses that advance diversity create the conditions for the best talent to thrive. That powers innovation, motivation and the best results for our customers as well as our employees.

Why is this important for me personally? It’s not just because it’s the right thing to do and because I believe passionately in fighting for everyone’s chance to reach their potential. I also know what it’s like to feel overlooked and undervalued because of external perceptions. Growing up with undiagnosed learning and other disabilities, people assumed I didn’t have much to offer. When I got fidgety in class, teachers would send me outside to run laps. When I was finally diagnosed at age 19 with severe dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), everything started to fall into place. These experiences are what drove me to leadership roles in employee development and HR.

Today I’m the executive sponsor of Pride@SAP, the second largest of all SAP employee resource group (ERGs), which account for 100+ chapters around the world. Some of my best days at SAP were serving as SAP Grand Marshall at the San Francisco Pride Parade. I was proud to be an ally and I had a blast. It meant a lot to me to help triple SAP presence at the parade from 2016 to 2017 and to be named to the Financial Times list of top 25 global executive allies to the LGBT community 2016-2017.

Never think you can’t change the world or be your best self. And remember that by doing one, you do the other.