“As a cisgender, heterosexual woman, I just want to do what I can to spread that acceptance in my community,” she continues.
This is at the core of our values here at CWB. As we celebrate Pride this month, it’s important to recognize the power of diversity, inclusion, acceptance and culture.
Part of empowering employees in this way involved the creation of Employee Resources Groups (ERGs) across the organization. These groups bring like-minded employees together, and allow for open and accepting dialogue on a variety of topics as well as provide a source of community for those who may have felt isolated in the past.
“They always make an effort to recognize diverse groups. There are other ERGs in our company, and these groups are open to all to join. For example with the Pride group, you don’t have to identify as LGBTQ2S+; you can be there to support,” Alyssa continues.
Gail Matheson, Senior AVP of Customer and Process Excellence, is also a member of the Pride ERG. “I’m very proud of the way CWB has approached diversity and inclusion,” she says. “ERGs are a fantastic way of supporting employees in building what the community looks like and helping to shape our culture across the organization.”
And this culture is one that not only lives within the workplace, but can carry on into an employee's personal life as well. “I did not grow up in a time where sexual orientation and gender identity was openly discussed,” Gail says. “So to have a transgender child of my own has enabled me to learn so much, and I have a whole different view of the world because of my child’s experience and that’s amazing.”
This year, to spread inclusion even further beyond the CWB community, the Pride ERG will be sponsoring 15 spaces for young people to participate in Camp fYrefly — an educational and social retreat for queer and transgender youth aged 14 to 24 years. Participants are able to build resilience and leadership skills while fostering friendships and growing their community network in a supportive environment.
Pride, acceptance and inclusion can mean different things to different individuals, but to Gail it’s simple. “It’s about accepting and connecting with everybody where they’re at,” she highlights. “There’s a desire and an appreciation for seeing the beauty in all of the different ways that we show up. There is nothing like the CWB culture.”