Celebrating LGBT Pride Month and Being Your Authentic Self

Jun 29, 2016 11:35 AM ET
Campaign: Sanofi US

June is LGBT Pride Month, a celebration of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. Sanofi US is proud of its commitment to diversity and inclusion and dedicated to fostering an environment where LGBT employees are not only valued, but can be their true selves in the workplace. Here, several of our employees share their perspectives.

Ed Suez, Manager RMCI, North America Quality
It happened at a Sanofi US meeting 18 years ago. I hadn’t planned it.

Our site head was conducting a let’s-get-acquainted exercise, and asked each team member to share a little about themselves. People talked about their spouses, their children, their interests. When it was my turn, I explained that I wasn’t married, but for the past six years, I had a partner. And just like that – I was out.

The reaction from colleagues was positive and supportive. Many commented on my bravery – remember this was 1998! After coming out, I was able to interact much more freely with colleagues. From a job perspective, sharing who I was raised my level of creativity. Contributing your ideas is a key element of what we do at work, and that’s not easy to do when you’re holding back a big part of yourself.

Kaitlin Santana- HR Analyst, DCV Business Unit
I had a friend in middle school who was a lesbian and didn’t feel at all comfortable expressing that side of herself. Growing up, I watched her struggle and get taunted by classmates. It was that experience that first ignited my desire to support the LGBT cause and promote myself as an ally.

Today, as a member of the company’s Human Resources team, I know that to attract the best talent it’s important that Sanofi US be perceived as a company that’s inclusive and supports everyone’s right to be their authentic self at work.

We do a lot to maintain strong diversity and inclusion efforts including benchmarking our policies and practices against the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality index and partnering with our ERGs, like PRIDE Connect, to build on the programs we have in place. If it’s important to PRIDE Connect members, it’s important to us.

Cyde Klaristenfeld, Project Manager, Finance Contracting & Pricing
My wife and I have been together for 15 years and married for 10. We got married on a cruise ship before it was legal to marry in the US, so that was pretty cool. We have a 12-year-old daughter and a son who is eight. We’re just like any other family. We live in a community, our children attend the local elementary school and both are actively involved in sports. We try to help our children to understand all different lifestyles so they will grow to be their true authentic selves. I want to pass on to my children the idea that they should live the way that makes them happy.

Amy Dupuis, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility
I joined the company’s PRIDE Connect Employee Resource Group at its inception two years ago because I strongly believe that everyone should be treated with respect no matter what their sexual identity. Becoming a member was a way for me to get involved and give back to the LGBT population.

I’ve been with the Corporate Social Responsibility Group for 15 years, and LGBT efforts are relatively new to our area. In recent years, the PRIDE Connect Employee Resource Group has helped us to recognize the importance of supporting the LGBT community. On June 17, we held a vigil to honor and remember the lives of those lost as a result of the senseless tragedy in Orlando, and The Sanofi Foundation for North America will be donating $5,000 to the OneOrlando Fund, an organization created by the Mayor of Orlando to assist victims and their families. This is just one of many examples of our solidarity with the LGBT community.