One of the cornerstones of Cogito’s culture is including emotional intelligence in everything we do; EQ is the basis of our software but it goes so much further than that. It permeates our interactions both internally and externally. When our People team created Cogician Resource Groups (CRGs) to accelerate our progress toward a true culture of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to help launch our Pride+ CRG. Being able to affirm my identity as a gay man in the workplace may seem like something that one could take for granted in our part of the world in 2021, but I can say from personal experience that it’s not always possible to be honest about one’s identity in the workplace, which is what drove my desire to work with this CRG.
I joined Cogito in 2017 initially as the Executive Assistant to our CEO. I was so pleasantly surprised when I started in my new role; I was able to openly speak about the fact that I am married to a man and that we have a child together through surrogacy. I was totally at ease in discussing my son and learning more about the executives I supported but also in giving them a glimpse into my life. This is, in fact, one of the bases of our Pride+ CRG: raising awareness about the LGBTQIA+ community, highlighting and celebrating our diversity and our differences rather than pretending they don’t exist, and creating as much visibility for our community as possible at Cogito.
David Sudbey, Cogito’s CCO and the Pride+ executive sponsor, boasts how honored he is to be part of this CRG, as it serves a very meaningful community to him both professionally and personally. Professionally, he has seen firsthand how the workplace has evolved during his 30+ year career, including of course times when LBGTQIA+ employees did not feel comfortable bringing their “whole selves” to work each and every day. He witnessed individuals of the community demonstrating discomfort in discussing their private lives and passions at the water cooler when others had that privilege.
In David’s words, “This has significantly improved in recent decades, but there is much work to do moving forward to ensure an inclusive environment becomes the norm; not just at Cogito, but in all workplaces.” Personally, David has family and friends near and dear to him that are part of the LBGTQ+ community, and sees every day how the actions and words of others, intentional or not, can make people feel unwelcome or that their differences are a bad thing. In reality, these differences make us better, and we should all be PROUD of our differences, and share them with others who may not be as familiar with this community.
In my opinion, our Pride+ CRG is partly successful because of the dedication of the coordinators, David’s advocacy and support, mountains of free online resources and, of course, funds we kindly receive from our Finance team. The other pieces of our success stem from our CRG members’ desire for a safe space within Cogito and the overall need to break down barriers for LGBTQIA+ people in the workplace.
The Pride+ CRG has executed a variety of events that mix both information as well as fun! Ranging from a panel of speakers from Boston’s SpeakOUT organization to a Virtual Drag Bingo event with guest host, Jujubee (a well-known finalist from RuPaul’s Drag Race), we aim to provide both thought-provoking conversations about the LGBTQIA+ community as well as fun events that unite all Cogicians across the world. That’s what team members tend to respond best to — a mix of events that help everyone across the board feel included in our CRG’s mission.
In the future, I envision the Pride+ CRG continuing to host exciting events for all Cogicians, while sharing helpful resources and sparking interesting conversations within our workspace that they can take back to their personal lives. We’re looking forward to further expanding our programs, knowledge base and group participation to include an immense amount of information about lesser known areas of the LGBTQIA+ community, proactive allyship, and hot topics relevant to the CRG’s members. Above all, the Pride+ CRG aims to create an ever-evolving, inclusive community within Cogito that gives any interested Cogician a safe space among like-minded people and the platform to share their insights, ask questions and voice their opinions.
Interested in joining the team? View our open roles here!