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Pride Month: Becoming the ally I would like to have

Maxine St Hilaire
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Last editedJun 20201 min read

As it’s Pride month, the Rainbow group at GoCardless wanted to share stories and insights from within our community. This week we hear from Maxine St Hilaire, Talent Acquisition Coordinator.

As an ally, I think it is important to play an active role in order to reach beyond the community. It’s easy to be a ‘silent champion’. This is why I constantly challenge myself to take a more active part in changing the conversation and representing others. 

I am passionate about inclusion and believe that for change to happen, you need allies. As a member of our other employee resource groups (BEAM & Inspiring Women), I wanted to be the supportive champion that I would like to see in those areas, for the Rainbow community. 

Being your true self 

At work, everyone should be able to be their true selves. At GoCardless, I have always felt supported by my team. We have a wide range of personalities and seeing others at work being themselves and accepted for it helps me to be my true self. 

As a straight cis-woman, I have never felt the need to announce my sexuality. However, in a previous workplace, it was assumed that I was a lesbian. I chose to not correct it and instead started using more gender-neutral language to see how people would react. Eventually, someone asked me directly and the truth “came out”. 

Finding the balance

The culture within the workplace is vital for supporting minority groups. When it comes to supporting the Rainbow community, companies should be visible, showcasing their culture and diversity without exploiting it. For example, showing support externally by partnering with companies who share the same values and together challenging discrimination, without just changing your logo to rainbow in June. 

It’s also about consistency. Being a Rainbow ally isn’t limited to June. We need to go beyond the short-term commitment if we’re committed to real change. 

One thing that sets GoCardless apart from other companies I have worked for is that they ask for opinions and feedback. We are encouraged to share how we are doing, so that GoCardless is then able to provide support in those areas. 

Employee led initiatives that truly listen to the community deliver real change – and they are fun to be part of. The best part of my role on the Rainbow committee has been meeting new people.

You can stay up to date with the Rainbow group, and Life at GoCardless via our Instagram.

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