As we celebrate Pride Month 2022, our teams around the globe are recognizing Pride Month through local initiatives and activities championing LGBTQIA+ equality. For this special edition of Inside Edelman, we profiled colleagues from around the network who are focused on allyship, recognizing intersectionality and taking action towards a more inclusive and equitable world for the LGBTQIA+ community.

How are you working to champion LGBTQIA+ equality in your market/region?

I’m very proud of our pro bono project “Generation Rainbow” that we are currently supporting.

Based on data from BCG that 40% of LGBTQIA+ employees are not out at work, and 26% of these individuals wish they could be out, Ralph Zimmerer—together with Clara Schmidt-von Goerling and Albert Kehrer from PrOUT at Work—published a book that shares personal experiences and expectations about the future from prominent and interesting LGBTQIA+ personalities. The idea behind this book is to provide inspiration, courage and hope to the next generation of LGBTQIA+ leadership.

I contributed to the book by sharing my experience as a leader who identifies as LGBTQIA+ and I hope to serve as role model and inspiration to the next generation. Edelman Germany is currently supporting the launch communication for the book, with the official launch event on July 7th—Pride Day in Germany.

In addition to the great work being done by Edelman Germany to promote this launch and raise awareness about diversity in the workplace, I will also be sharing my thoughts about my expectations about the role of our industry and employers in advancing LGBTIQIA+ issues via LinkedIn. 

What do you think it means to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community?

Straight Allyship is very important for the LGBTQIA+ community. Individuals can get engaged in LGBTQIA+ Networks within their companies or in their own social environment and show their support. This type of involvement helps increase a greater sense of belonging within the LGBTQIA+ community at work and helps to elevate employee satisfaction overall. Being open to having difficult conversations and talking about topics that matter within the LGBTQIA+ community is also incredibly important. 

What can leaders and managers be doing to help make tangible action to support the LGBTQIA+ community?

Leaders can start by asking themselves these three questions:

  1. Do I know the situation of the LGBTQIA+ community in my company/office/team?
  2. When is my next public appearance where I am actively engaged in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community?
  3. When was the last time I proactively supported an LGBTQIA+ individual in career development?

The answers to these questions can help inform what type of action is needed to provide the necessary support. 

How do you ensure LGBTQIA+ issues remain top of mind within a company throughout the rest of the year?

I think it is great to have a LGBTQIA+ network that is driving engagement, starting important conversations and setting the agenda all year long. In general, I think that diversity, equity and inclusion is very important to an organization, as there are many studies that show how companies benefit from it: culturally and performance-wise.

What recommendations do you have for people to become more involved in LGBTQIA+ issues?

I think it is important to understand your own interests and then find out where you can help and get involved. I personally like to focus my involvement on opportunities for companies to be more engaged behind this issue, career progression for LGBTQIA+ colleagues, being a role model and providing mentorship, and the PrOUT at Work Foundation and the “Generation Rainbow” work.

What does love mean/look like to you?

My big love is my wife, Ariane. She makes me happy, she supports me, she tells me things I don’t like to hear, like “you need a better work-life-balance”—which she is right about! She is the sun in my life. 

Christiane Schulz is CEO of Edelman Germany.