Driving change with Pride, one step at a time

Mon, 06 Jun, 2022

At Kindred, we are passionate about diversity and believe we can only succeed if we let our differences enrich our culture. In spring 2020, we launched a number of support networks within Kindred, to help improve employee experience, as well as work towards a more diverse and equitable organisation. Since then, the networks have blossomed into a real driving force within Kindred, pioneering positive change across the organisation. This international Pride month, we spoke to a few members of the LGBTQIA+ Network about their work within Kindred and what it’s like to be part of the Network.

Introducing, left to right: Rachel Randle-Williams (Director Organisational Effectiveness), Carl-Johan Crafoord (Tech Business Delivery Manager), Genevieve Robbe (Customer Service Agent), Katharine Arnsby (Head of Poker & Bingo Marketing), Ian Scott (Talent Development Specialist).

What does Pride month mean to you and how do you celebrate it?

Ian: Pride is a celebration of everything LGBTQIA+ and I personally think there is still a lot of work that needs to take place in recognising the rights of individuals around the globe. We, of course, will be celebrating Pride across our organisation and rainbowing (if that’s a word) some of our larger offices!

Kat: To me, Pride means being seen outside without any shame.

Gen: For me, Pride month means a period of freedom that has been fought for. It feels very emotional and powerful at the same time. It is a time of joy and celebration for me, with the idea that everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community and allies are allowed to be themselves.

Rachel: Pride month honestly means a party! A genuine celebration of how far LGBTQIA+ has come and all of the uniqueness that makes us who we are.

What’s it like being part of Kindred’s LGBTQ+ Network?

Ian: It’s all about the people - we have a strong core, including, us twice a month. I love the time we all spend together online and look forward to our Monday afternoon chats, especially when we get to meet new faces!

Kat: We laugh a lot! Also, we are a loving community and welcome everyone, members of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as allies. No one will ever question your intentions.

Gen: Being part of the Network is wonderful. Everyone is very open, understanding and very friendly, and I have been able to build up a good relationship with a number of people in the Network. Everyone in the group brings a lot of inspiration to the table and that is so nice.

Rachel: Being part of the network is fun & informative. We get to organise events and fun stuff but also take the time to discuss the positive changes that we can make at Kindred. It’s also a safe space for us to ask honest questions and understand one another’s points of view on key issues.

"It is a time of joy and celebration for me, with the idea that everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community and allies are allowed to be themselves." - Genevieve Robbe

Ian, as the Network Lead, tell us about the diversity work you’ve been doing as part of the Network?

The LGBTQIA+ network was one of the initial networks that Kindred set up nearly two years ago. I have never been involved in anything like this before. Kindred has given us the opportunity to recognise diversity across the spectrum, we also have a D, E&I Specialist on board now who helps advise us on some best practices, this is something I have never experienced in previous companies.

Over the two years, we have created a dedicated space/community on our intranet, organised several events and educated our fellow colleagues on LGBTQIA+ history. More importantly, we are fostering a culture where everyone feels like they belong – conversations are open, and everyone is welcome to our Network. Looking at the big picture, we are making Kindred a better place to work and attracting a more diverse community at Kindred.

How does Kindred, as an employer, compare to your previous employers (or the rest of the industry)  when it comes to LGBTQ+ diversity?

Gen: Kindred does a lot when it comes to diversity. Compared to my previous employers, diversity is very much encouraged. I have never experienced it before within a company and the commitment that comes with it. Kindred does that very well.

Rachel: Kindred has a very open culture which is one of the reasons I too, chose to work here. I make conscious choices in my career to only work in organisations that take the DE&I agenda seriously, so Kindred is on par with where I have worked before for that reason. In comparison to the rest of our industry, it’s clear to me that Kindred’s inclusive culture sets us apart.

CJ, why is it important to you to support the Network as an Ally?

For me, inclusivity has always been important. This has shaped a lot of how and who I am. I’ve also always felt strongly that it is up to all of us to ensure our colleagues have the best time at work.

When I heard we were setting up the network, it felt natural to join. Both to listen and better understand my LGBTQIA+ colleagues, and to see whatever support I could offer. It wouldn’t be summer without Pride. I’m hoping to catch both the Stockholm and London parades this year!

Why would you like to encourage co-workers to engage within the network?

Kat: It’s fun! Also, it’s always good to broaden your understanding of different social groups.

Rachel: We have great discussions and take tangible actions based on what we feel will make a difference. We also have some ally members and it’s great to have open and honest discussions with them on how they be better allies or support the LGBTQIA+ community.

Gen: Everyone is welcome, and it is nice to be in a group full of diverse people, brainstorming about how we can make Kindred’s working environment even better.

At Kindred, we understand that there is always more work to be done when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We continue to work on our culture and employee experience to provide a positive and equitable experience for all.