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News July 08, 2021

Dept celebrates Pride month

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Dept is cultivating an environment where everyone can be themselves, where Depsters can be proud of who they are no matter who they love. Where individuality is not just tolerated, but is celebrated.

Diversity, equality and inclusion are key pillars that help shape our culture. We are lucky to have 65+ nationalities represented at Dept, and we work hard to make everyone feel welcome and appreciated. As part of this, we manage a diversity calendar to celebrate some of the things that make us different by acknowledging key dates and giving our team opportunities to educate themselves and get involved in activities. Pride month is an exciting time, dedicated to celebrating our LGBTQ+ family, building allies and supporting LGBTQ+ communities and organisations all around the world. And although these initiatives run continuously throughout the year, our efforts are amped up and reinforced during Pride season as a way to take part in international celebrations, raise internal awareness of LGBTQ+ social movements and demonstrate our commitment to making positive progress for all.

Connecting Dept’s LGBTQ+ Community Globally 

Throughout the month of June, we ran internal communication campaigns on global, country and local levels to engage and educate our team members about the significance of Pride. This kicked off with an all-agency ‘Ask me Anything’ session with our CEO, Dimi, which included a roundtable discussion with personal stories shared from UK Managing Director Brian Robinson, Lead Developer Duarte Nobrega and Digital Producer at Byte (Part of Dept) Amanda Ramos. 

At the virtual event, Dept’s Chief Operating Officer also interviewed Sita Shah Head of Creative at Byte (Part of Dept) and Julia Gunkel, Head of Projects at Dept, on how diversity and LGBTQ+ voices are transforming brand storytelling by showcasing projects underway with a variety of clients, including TikTok and Samsung. 

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Depsters were also encouraged to express themselves creatively with a design that promotes diversity, equality and inclusion. The winner of our ‘Be Proud’ theme art contest was Billy Osborne (above left) and runner-up Niamh McConville (above right).

Dept’s internal magazine, Stroopwafel Stories, shined a light on gender diversity, covering conversational topics and personal journeys, while relaying advice and information sources. It also promoted upcoming activities, such as Dept’s 5K Run in Rainbow. The Dept Apparel clothing range available exclusively for Depsters, made from recycled materials or deadstock, launched Pride tie-dye t-shirts; and we raised funds for All Out – a global movement for love and equality.

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Gaydio Proud Pride Partners 

To amplify the voices of Dept’s LGBTQ+ community, we entered into a partnership with the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ radio station, Gaydio. Over eight weeks, audio vox pops from Dept’s LGBTQ+ staff and allies are being broadcast across its network to half a million listeners per week. 

We’re also producing two short videos with Depsters explaining what Pride means to them, which will be shared across Gaydio’s social channels and will live on the Pride pages of their website for the rest of the year.

We’re proud to give Depsters this podium to share their values and experiences with the world. Enjoy these snippets from their recordings: 

“Pride to me is about community. It’s about feeling like you belong and like you can be your true self. Even more, it’s about my kids and them feeling like our family is a valid unit.” – Sara Wilson

“Pride for me means being proud of what the generations before us have already achieved in terms of equality and inclusion, but also looking forward to seeing what we can improve. And of course rainbow flags everywhere.” – Frank Schmid 

“As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, Pride to me is about celebrating my wonderful friends and colleagues to let them know they are loved, they are supported and that they are respected.” – Mellissa Flowerdew-Clarke

“Pride is not just a celebration of liberation, it’s about being visible for those that aren’t yet liberated.” – Amber Fryer 

“To me, celebrating Pride means that you respect all of those who have gone before us to fight for LGBTQ+ rights. – Brian Robinson

Developing inclusion through knowledge sharing

The first step towards shaping an inclusive culture is developing mutual respect and understanding. We equip our team with the tools and knowledge, through information sessions hosted by fellow Depsters and inspirational guest speakers. For Pride, we reviewed the basics of inclusivity, diversity and equality; defining the difference between these concepts and how they’re related. We also looked at ways they are relevant within our daily work for, and with, our clients. 

We were delighted to bring in Aisha Shaibu to talk about her work as an LGBTQ+ activist, Head of Community at UK Black Pride and London Queer Fashion Show, member of the Board of Trustees for GiveOut charity and Founder of Moonlight Experiences. She informed us about the power of tourism and social gatherings to help amplify marginalised voices and transform communities. Aisha also shared insight on identity and the gender spectrum, why pronouns matter and the importance of allyship, providing a great opportunity for Depsters to ask questions and widen their perspectives. We were proud to contribute towards Aisha’s GoFundMe campaign, supporting the growth of her social enterprise dedicated to the celebration of queer culture and belonging through tourism and nightlife.

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Continuing Celebrations Beyond Pride Month 

To start normalising gender diversity within the workplace, we’re encouraging all Depsters to list their preferred pronouns in Slack, our internal messaging platform, and in their email signatures so that we communicate with each other in a way that makes every Depster feel comfortable. Participating in activities like Pride is part of a much wider DE&I strategy centred around building a workplace culture that is progressive, open, supportive and diverse.

Diversity is essential in the digital industry and our goal is for everyone to feel free to bring their full selves to work. Individuality drives our creativity and inspires us to create digital experiences for the world’s leading brands, representative of the world we live in.

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