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Championing allyship – IDAHOBIT 2024

At Energy Safe, inclusivity inspires our people to shine in their best light.

Our commitment to creating a welcoming working environment empowers our people to feel valued, safe and respected, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Allyship is paramount to achieving a wholly inclusive workplace, and we achieve this through our commitment to education, opportunities to champion diversity, and supporting our LGBTQIA+ colleagues each day.

Together, we’re proudly Energy Safe. Always.

I come from a fine arts background where difference is celebrated and embraced. I don't believe exclusion or prejudice has a place in any workplace's culture.

As a result, allyship is critical to safeguarding the moral standards of any sphere you operate in. We must support, encourage and assist one another in our endeavours – and protect the rights and treatment of anyone that falls outside of a perceived norm.

Allyship is important not only due to the incredible value of every person's unique perspective – but also in their inherit right to pursue happiness and success in a free and open society.

— John, Content Design Lead

An ally is a person who demonstrates commitment, consistency, and accountability for their words, thoughts, and actions while standing in solidarity with others.

Celebrating IDAHOBIT at Energy Safe, we were blessed to have Michelle Sheppard (advocate, activist and GLOBE Victoria’s LGBTQIA+ Person of the Year 2023) come in to talk about being better allies and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.

When Michelle put up the slide showing how many of our LGBTQIA+ have been murdered all over the world because of being considered ‘different’, I was shocked!

How ignorant – how indifferent – I had been. I felt tearfully ashamed listening to Michelle’s story, her trauma, her beautiful children.

Her story made me reflect – where else have I been thoughtless, ignorant, and indifferent to another person, or dismissive of their contributions because I felt I knew ‘best’?

After the presentation I was amazed to see my many colleagues asking Michelle passionate questions, showing by their actions that they care – true allies. I am the luckiest person to work for Energy Safe.

— Sabrina, Head of Strategy and Risk

Allyship in the workplace looks like real kindness and a genuine lack of judgement based on personal traits – be that gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity… the list goes on.

It’s about embracing differences as the norm’ every day.

It’s fostering a positive culture where people don’t have to wonder whether it’s ok to be themselves. They know it’s ok.

— Nicole, Public Affairs Adviser

Demonstrating allyship with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues at work is crucial to fostering an inclusive, supportive, and energetic environment for all.

While, stereotypically, those who identify as queer can bring colour, flourish and flair to any workplace, we also tend to contribute a sense of empathy, understanding and facilitation of space for open dialogue, because we are typically familiar with the discomfort of being overlooked, disregarded, or mischaracterised.

By actively standing shoulder-to-shoulder with LGBTQIA+ champions for collaboration and community, professional environments stand to benefit from a culture that is inclusive for all – queer or not.

We are living and working in a world that has made significant progress in space-making for LGBTQIA+ peoples – but this has not simply been a gracious gift to community. LGBTQIA+ peoples have fought for the right for our contributions to be considered as valuable as that of the next person. And it’s undeniable our local and global tapestries are far richer now that we’re painting with all the colours of the rainbow, rather than a few (considered primary) colours.

A workplace in which everybody is empowered to have their say and show up fully and exactly as they are is one which speaks to the heart of the human spirit: we work best when we work together.

— James, Social Media Adviser

Inclusivity in the workplace and respect for others is extremely valuable. It enables staff to feel confident in offering their contributions, both professionally and socially. The value arises from the difference which can be found in diverse experiences and personalities.

I feel the most valued when I’m included and listened to for who I am, rather than through the lens of a stereotype.

— Andrea, Receptionist

As a leader in my workplace, it is important that I work to be a better ally.

This means taking the time to listen to the experiences of others and to recognise the opportunities and advantages that I have which may not be available to others. It means using my position to invite a diverse range of colleagues into the room and then to ensure that all of those colleagues are supported to contribute.

I can speak up when I witness conduct that is unacceptable and offer support in the moment.

— Michelle, General Counsel and General Manager Legal, Governance and Regulatory Policy

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

I am proud to call myself an ally to our LGBTQIA+ colleagues at Energy Safe. I have found a workplace that is not only diverse and inclusive, but our Executive Team led by Leanne Hughson walks the walk and leads by example. Energy Safe personifies diversity, and is testament to an inclusive working environment.

Being an ally is a no-brainer for me. I have lived and breathed this in workplaces in the past where I was aware how challenging it was for LGBTQIA+ colleagues then, and how important it was to find allies in whom they could confide. It is a privilege and honour to be an ally.

In my personal life, close members of my immediate family suffered sexual abuse from what should have been a loving grandparent. I took it upon myself to fight against injustice, alongside and on behalf of those who don’t have a voice – in my case, those who were too scared and frightened to talk in an ultra-conservative family culture and environment.

It was with an immense sense of pride and love to be entrusted some years ago by my niece when she came out to my wife and me as to her sexuality. She confided in us that she was too scared to approach her own mom and dad. It was a privilege for us to be entrusted by a loved one to help carry the flag.

Being an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community is an ongoing journey and commitment; you just have to take the first step. The best place to start is to listen, care and try to understand.

— Gideon, Regulatory and Strategic Risk Manager

Date: 20/07/2024 5:48

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