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Friends and allies

Promoting inclusion and tolerance with our global employee group OUTfront and its ‘allies’.

Capgemini global employee group OUTfront promotes inclusion and tolerance across the company, and within the society in which it operates. That’s where it’s ‘allies’ can help.

Education and guidance

Krystianne Avedian, Chief Relationship Officer at Capgemini’s Accelerated Solutions Environment, started OUTfront at Capgemini in 2007, after not finding a platform for those looking to connect around LGBT+. 

“I was searching for my tribe and my community, and I couldn’t find them. But that’s the great thing about Capgemini’s entrepreneurial atmosphere – when nothing formal exists, you have the opportunity to create it! That’s how I set up OUTfront with a few of my colleagues.”

Since then, OUTfront has grown into a worldwide group, with chapters in 20 of the 50 countries that Capgemini operates across. “Our goal is to enable our colleagues to show up and be their 100% full selves every day,” says Krystianne.

On a practical level, OUTfront offers an advisory and educational role for colleagues in Capgemini. “People come to us and say they want to transition, but don’t know how to approach that conversation with HR or their manager,” she says.

“We also educate the wider Capgemini community about what it means to be LGBT+. What does it mean to fit into one of these letters? What does a day in the life look like?”

These conversations help people understand the challenges of being LGBT+ in the workplace. “One of the trickiest things about being gay or LGBT+ is that you’re constantly ‘coming out,’” explains Krystianne. “With every new client or new meeting, you’re trying to work out whether it’s safe to say that you’re different.”

This is where OUTfront’s ‘allies’ can make a big impact.

Friends and allies

An 'ally' is someone who represents and advocates for the LGBT+ community. “Allies are our hidden superpower. They exist at all levels within Capgemini, from the global executive team downwards. They are critical in understanding local needs, elevating those needs to the business, and translating this to our workforce and clients.”

A sense of duty

Karianne Munch-Ellingsen, a service designer, recently became a diversity and inclusion champion at Capgemini Invent in Norway, and she explains what being an ally involves. 
“On a practical level, I’m helping out with preparation for Pride this year. But, more broadly, I’m working to put these issues on the agenda in a structured way, from recruitment to how we talk about these things internally and externally.”

“My motivation to become an ally comes from a sense of duty. It’s a responsibility for us as human beings to care about our colleagues, no matter what their race, gender, or identification. I want to help the LGBT+ community have a voice.”

Challenging attitudes

As Krystianne explains, tolerance is still a real issue for the LGBT+ community. “It’s not safe to be ‘out’ in some of the countries we operate in,” she says. “That’s why at Capgemini we have an employment clause that protects our colleagues in every region.”

This point also resonates for Karianne. “It would be easy to think that these battles have been won,” she says, “But we have to fight for acceptance. In Norway, there’s a well-known poem by Ole Peter Arnulf Øverland, saying that you must not permit the injustice that does not affect you – and I try and follow this.”

A call for allies

“It’s through education and learning that we become more open-minded,” says Krystianne. “Even if you aren’t sure about all the definitions or issues, I would urge you to get involved. It’s enormously rewarding. I would like to think we can promote social change through OUTfront, so that future generations can enjoy more tolerance.”

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