Why PRIDE Matters – Reflections on Embracing our Differences to Build a Better Business
By Katie Schur, Corporate Communications
On a sunny day in June, nearly 200 co-workers gathered outside of our Marlborough headquarters to proudly support our LGBTQ+ community by raising the rainbow flag. “Each year the crowd keeps growing,” said Paudie O’Connor, vice president multi-site operations at Boston Scientific and executive sponsor of the Boston Scientific PRIDE employee resource group. “This year we’re raising the flag at 13 Boston Scientific locations globally.”
More than 4,400 employees belong to one of our employee resource groups – including our PRIDE (Promoting Respect, Inclusion, Diversity and Equality) group. Boston Scientific has ten PRIDE chapters across the globe, with the newest chapter recently launched in Clonmel, Ireland. By hosting seminars, educational events and networking opportunities, the PRIDE ERG plays an important part in promoting LGBTQ+ education, awareness and support inside and outside the doors of Boston Scientific.
“Raising the flag is symbolic for us to ensure our actions demonstrate our company’s values, but constant dialogue is how we keep the momentum going,” said Ed Mackey, executive vice president, Global Operations, Boston Scientific. “You see divisiveness out in the world, and that’s why we educate, listen and learn from individual stories, and have discussions to keep evolving.”
Following the flag raising, the conversation continued during a luncheon hosted by PRIDE and moderated by Jenny Lee, director, Direct-to-Patient and Direct-to-Referrer Marketing Center of Excellence.
“Being LGBTQ is an interesting diversity category because it’s one that you can’t necessarily see,” said Lee. “When people see me they know pretty quickly that I’m female or that I’m Asian, but I often have to come out to a new group or team every day. In 2019 you would think that we had come far enough that people wouldn’t be fearful of that, but data out there shows that’s not necessarily the case.”
Despite progress being made at Boston Scientific and other companies, new data shows that LGBTQ individuals in the broader business community still face discrimination in the workplace. In a Glassdoor survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 53 percent of LGBTQ employees surveyed across the larger business community reported that they have experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ comments by co-workers. Perhaps as a result, 43 percent of LGBTQ employees say they feel they are not fully “out” at work.
During the PRIDE panel, Boston Scientific executive committee members shared personal reflections with attendees and strategies for creating and sustaining an inclusive environment.
“For me, bringing my authentic self to work means being true to who I am,” said Desiree Ralls-Morrison, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. “It’s important that we all feel welcome and that we belong here. Our differences are what makes us stronger.”
Chairman and CEO Mike Mahoney added, “As leaders, it’s important that we set the direction for the type of environment that we want to have, and to be successful, we need to understand and embrace diversity on our teams. I can see the confidence that someone gains when they bring their full self to work, and I want to do everything we can to encourage that.”
Throughout the month of June, Boston Scientific local PRIDE chapters will host a wide variety of discussions and activities to celebrate our diversity. Our PRIDE chapters are also volunteering at local festivals to show our support of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The PRIDE events over the last few years have been well attended and are a critical part of building and sustaining a more inclusive culture,” said David Pierce, executive vice president and president, MedSurg and executive committee sponsor of PRIDE. “When it comes down to any topic, you can either be a supporter, a detractor or be silent. My challenge to you is to be overt in your support of PRIDE. Don’t stand on the sidelines.”
You can learn more about PRIDE at Boston Scientific here.