Ventera EVP of Business Services, Joe McMahon
When I think of Pride, I break it into two components; it is a celebration of and by the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as raising awareness of the issues, hardships and prejudicial attitudes this community still deals with every day. Pride month provides a forum to amplify the voices of this community so that they are heard and as a result, more people are educated and have a heightened level of awareness. This tradition has gone a long way in working toward a society where acceptance is commonplace, second-nature and there are no artificial hurdles for this group to overcome, but there is still work to be done.
Growing up I always tried to live by the golden rule, treat others as you’d want to be treated. I was raised to surround myself with folks who have mutual respect for everyone they encounter. I was taught there should be no preconceived judgments—when you look at somebody, you see through color, lifestyle, orientation, and all you see is a human being, just like you or the people in your family. You have to start from that position to truly offer a genuine level of mutual respect.
Having been raised in an advantageous socioeconomic, predominantly white environment, DEI is something that I’ve had to invest extra time becoming more in tune with. I’m aware of how fortunate I am that my life experience generally has not been one of social or economic struggles simply because of my family’s background or orientation, but I do realize this makes me somewhat unable to personally relate to those who have been subject to unfair treatment. As a result, it’s become more of a priority for me to conduct thoughtful introspection and communicate more with people from different backgrounds to help me better understand and be more empathetic to those who do struggle or have struggled for reasons beyond their immediate control. It’s an ongoing growth and learning experience for me. I’ve learned to be cognizant of the fact that I have not walked in everyone’s shoes, so I need to be especially thoughtful of everyone’s feelings and emotions.
At Ventera, I think we do a great job of being conscious of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but there is always more and better things we can be doing. We should always be striving for a more inclusive environment while maintaining the authenticity of who we are. If we continue to work toward a strong foundational culture based in meritocracy, we will continue to expand our boundaries with unique talents from all walks of life.