At SevenRooms, our Rainbow Roomies Employee Resource Group (ERG) celebrated Pride Month with an amazing array of events. From an in-person happy hour at The Stonewall Inn to a virtual drag bingo hosted by Screaming Queens, the party didn’t stop all month long!
To round up Pride Month, we spoke to the co-leads of our Rainbow Roomies ERG, Lauren Barnes (LB) and Andrea Van Roekel (AVR), about Pride Month, their ERG work and goals for the group, and more!
Starting off, what does Pride Month mean to you?
LB: Pride is how we celebrate our diverse and inclusive LGBTQ+ community. It’s a time that commemorates years of struggle by countless people to get to where we are now. It’s also a reminder to celebrate the freedom everyone has to be their authentic selves.
AVR: Pride month is a great time to really showcase what my identity means to me. There are so many identifiers in the LGBTQ+ community. Being able to showcase how I identify within the larger community while also building a larger community with others who identify similarly helps me feel a sense of belonging.
Tell us more about the Rainbow Roomies Employee Resource Group… What does the group mean to you?
LB: The Rainbow Roomies ERG has been a fantastic way to connect with people at SevenRooms. It’s so meaningful because we’ve been able to build a community with LGBTQ+ Roomies and allies that support each other and are there for each other.
AVR: This ERG has really built a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. Getting to be out at work and share my experiences and get to know others whether in the community or allies has been amazing. It really helps me feel welcomed and valued in SevenRooms in more ways than just professionally.
What’s it been like planning the Pride Month events?
LB: It’s a lot of work but so much fun. There are many Rainbow Roomie ERG members who have graciously offered their support, time, and effort to bring these events to life. It has all been worth it!
AVR: Our Rainbow Roomie Pride events have been so fun! Lauren has been amazing at finding great ways to incorporate our ERG and global company with an in-person happy hour and virtual Drag Bingo – which was a blast!
Why is it important for companies to have a space for the LGBTQ+ community?
LB: The benefits to an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace extend beyond that of making sure employees of all sexualities and gender expressions feel safe and valid. It’s also a fun opportunity to meet people and learn from each other.
AVR: The LGBTQ+ community has always had a stigma in the workplace. So having a place where we all know we can be our true selves, talk about our experiences, and just have fun conversations about the community has created a great space for us. It’s a great way to get to know each other without the worry of judgment.
How has Rainbow Roomies built a community within SevenRooms?
LB: We stay connected through meetings, live and virtual events, and our vibrant Slack channel. I love that all our ERG’s ideas and goals are crowdsourced by our members collectively.
AVR: It’s brought a lot of us together in new ways! Being in a permanently remote role and getting to know others that aren’t in my department is tricky to do virtually. Rainbow Roomies has helped me get to know other team members.
What impact has Rainbow Roomies made on 7R?
LB: Hopefully this ERG has helped team members feel engaged, connected, and supported. For me, I really enjoy connecting with others in the community. I appreciate hearing the diversity of thought, passions, and background.
AVR: Rainbow Roomies makes the company feel that much more inviting to those of us in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s such a refreshing experience knowing that it isn’t something we have to hide, and instead that we have a place to celebrate each other and share experiences. It’s given me a place to showcase who I am in a very different way. This is the first company I’ve worked for that has had this type of space to celebrate many different communities and it’s freeing to be my authentic self at work. This part of who I am doesn’t typically get a place to shine and Rainbow Roomies has given me, and many others within the SevenRooms community, that space.
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