Jeremy Segal discusses his and Progress’ ongoing commitment to I&D, and why these efforts are integral to the success of every organization.
Inclusion and diversity efforts are a high priority in the corporate world today. However, I&D isn’t just a one and done exercise—to see real, positive effects, organizations have to consistently bring I&D practices front and center and leverage the diversity of their workforce to create worthwhile change.
At Progress, we’re doing our best to make our community and the world around us more inclusive. Our employee resource groups (ERGs) aim to actively foster inclusion and celebrate diversity among Progressers around the globe, helping to inform I&D efforts and build relationships across business areas and geographies.
Jeremy Segal, EVP of Corporate Development, serves as a corporate sponsor of Plus, our LGBTQ+ ERG. Jeremy’s involvement with Plus has been one of the most rewarding parts of his time at Progress. Read on to learn more about Jeremy’s experience in his own words.
Since joining Progress 18 months ago, I have been so impressed with the Company’s commitment to ERGs. I knew it was something I wanted to get more involved in so that I could gain better visibility into the great work these different ERGs are doing to create greater awareness throughout the company.
I have been working with the LGBTQ+ ERG, Plus, and it has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my job. Not only do we address topics that are affecting the LGBTQ+ community today, but we have a set of members that are so open and willing to share, and I can honestly say that each meeting I attend is inspirational and leaves me with an even stronger appreciation for Progress and its commitment to these important ERGs, providing a forum and safe space to talk about important issues.
For me, being a part of the LGBTQ+ ERG, Plus, has opened my eyes to the many challenges people in this community face each and every day. But I have also learned how brave the members of this ERG are—sharing personal stories, opening up about incredibly sensitive topics. It is a forum where participants listen and provide their support, and that makes me ProgressPROUD.
To me, I&D means being able to walk into an office and see leaders who don’t look the same, who don’t think the same, who don’t come from the same background, and we do not even notice. A diverse and inclusive company makes everyone feel heard; where any employee, regardless of race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc. can feel that their ideas and contributions will be valued and taken seriously.
For me, one of my proudest moments was seeing my local Jewish synagogue hire an LGBTQ+ rabbi. This is the kind of progress that someday I hope won’t be considered progress, but will just be considered normal.
One way that inclusion can be incorporated is by extending the size of select leadership meetings to a broader set of participants, so they can have more of a voice. This creates a greater sense of engagement, and can likely also spur new ideas that might otherwise not be on the table. Another way leaders can take more initiative is by encouraging more members of their respective teams to participate in trainings that help educate them on the importance of I&D.
I&D is important, because it allows Progress to hear different perspectives and different voices, and this will make Progress a better place and a more interesting place to work. If things are too homogeneous, they will be boring. By having greater diversity, we will challenge each other more, we will open each other’s eyes more, and this will have lasting effects on the success of Progress. Studies show that with greater I&D employees are more likely to look forward to going to work, have greater pride in their work, and want to stay with the company. This will mean a more successful Progress.
In her role as Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Dr. Shirley Knowles is dedicated to cultivating a culture of inclusion, diversity and belonging so Progress people are empowered to be their best. Shirley sees her work at Progress as equipping our people to achieve by tapping into the richness of diverse human experiences.
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