Enterprise takes its duty as an inclusive employer very seriously, and I feel very proud to be playing a small part in that achievement. How? As well as being the Group Vehicle Acquisition Manager, I also lead Enterprise’s LGBT committee for London and the Southeast, and I’d like to tell you how the company’s inclusive culture enables LGBT employees to flourish by being true to themselves.
For me, the best thing about working at Enterprise is the sense of ownership it instills in everyone, which means we all feel that we have a vested interest in the company’s success. It also encourages the principle of making your career personal and champions the many great stories of personal success and progression.
My work with the committee goes back a few years to when I was the first face of LGBT Enterprise in Stonewall’s Workplace Guide. That experience encouraged me to get involved in putting on various Enterprise-supported LGBT events, after which the next natural step was to join the LGBT committee. We’re involved in many aspects of Enterprise’s LGBT community and it’s fascinating and rewarding work.
It’s very important that the LGBT community in Enterprise is visible and that people are able to find each other. This supports the idea that everyone can be themselves in the workplace and allows employees to share their experiences openly, become role models for others and challenge perceptions and misleading stereotypes. At national level I help run Enterpride, a committee and national all-inclusive network within Enterprise that works hard to promote that visibility. It also supports external events such as National Student Pride, our own annual IDAHOT event, and of course – London Pride. We’re also feverishly preparing for our 2nd National LGBT Forum to be held in London in November. This is just another example of how Enterprise brings together all employees, from all backgrounds to share in its common values.
It helps that Enterprise is such a diverse and merit-driven environment, and I think the key is to find people you trust and start building strong personal relationships with them. In doing so you can create a firm foundation of trust, so that you’re comfortable sharing more of yourself with those you work with and building up confidence and pride in who you are.
Personally, one of my highlights came last year when I was asked to write a short blog for LGBT History Month. Stonewall was looking for personal stories and it was the year of my wedding so I took a lot of satisfaction from sharing my thoughts and opinions on the occasion. Who knows? Maybe my story will help to inspire someone else to tie the knot!
Although the committee does important work, we’re also mindful of Enterprise’s founding values – to make the company “…a fun and friendly place to work.” My role on the LGBT committee allows me to work with a wide range of people throughout the company – it’s especially interesting to engage with our recent graduates because it reminds me how much has changed since I was in their shoes. It’s also great to meet people who I wouldn’t get to spend time with under normal circumstances – and working with different teams and departments has helped to broaden my horizons and helped me to acquire new skills.
In fact, with London Pride coming up, it makes me realise how much the world – in and out of work – has changed. When I first went it was still called London Mardi Gras and the sense of community and carnival spirit was new and pretty revolutionary, whereas these days I think that many more people are generally accepting of the LGBT community. That’s a good thing, of course, but we still need to raise the profile of the LGBT community, remind the world that we exist and that we want to celebrate our identity.