Empowering LGBT Employees
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WhiteWave employees, family members and friends walk in Denver’s 2016 Pride parade

One of our core values at WhiteWave is “Individuals Matter”, which means that we strive to have an inclusive, fun and inspiring workplace and a culture where differences are respected and celebrated. Our employee resource groups (ERGs) are a big part of how we live this value and create a workplace in which everyone can be their authentic self.

WhiteWave employee Aubrey Yuzva helped found the PRIDE Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) ERG in 2013 and told us more about the genesis of that group and how it helps promote a welcoming atmosphere at WhiteWave.

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Aubrey Yuzva

 

“It initially started with informal, monthly coffee dates — just a few employees discussing how a PRIDE group might be a good resource to help ensure an inclusive culture at WhiteWave. Even though WhiteWave has always been really supportive of LGBT employees, and there wasn’t necessarily anything to “fix”, we wanted to ensure that LGBT employees had visibility within the organization and knew that this was a safe place to be out. We also thought we could use it as a springboard to start doing some good in our local LGBT community as well.

As we began outlining what we wanted to be and how we could effect change, we decided on four pillars:
1. Building Community through social events, volunteerism, and sponsorship of local LGBT Pride month events
2. Promoting an inclusive workplace though learning and development sessions
3. Improving recruiting and retention by attending the Out & Equal conference, reaching out to a diverse talent pool, and educating hiring managers on WhiteWave’s LGBT policies
4. Championing LGBT advocacy by asking for WhiteWave’s participation in the Corporate Equality Index, sponsoring the Human Rights Campaign Gala and evaluating other potential partnerships with local, state and national organizations

Since 2013, we’ve experienced some really significant growth. We now have over 100 people on our ERG roster, a senior leadership team sponsor and an eight-member board that helps us run various aspects of the group.

Some of the accomplishments and activities that we’re most proud of include WhiteWave’s participation in – and 100 percent rating from – the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Our score reflects the efforts the company has made to create a best-in-class inclusive culture for the LBGT community, including implementing policies and practices like non-discriminatory workplace protections, domestic partner benefits and transgender-inclusive healthcare, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community.

We also hosted a Transgender 101 seminar, which was attended by over 50 employees, including our company president and several other senior leadership team members. Led by TEDx speaker Decker Moss it was an educational presentation on the transgender experience and included basics from proper terminology and etiquette to complexities like transitioning gender on the job and how to support someone who does.

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Overall, we view the PRIDE ERG as point of education for employees and a resource for LGBT issues in the workplace. We’re not just here for LGBT employees – we also want to talk to family members, co-workers friends and folks who want to learn how to be a better LGBT ally. In fact, nearly 90 employees, with their friends and family members, showed up to march with us in the Denver Pride Parade this summer. I’m so proud to work for a company that openly supports and puts dollars behind these types of initiatives. They take a lot of time, effort and money and WhiteWave has always been behind us 110 percent.”

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