Moved by the tragic death of George Floyd, 3M’s Pride Employee Resource Network (ERN) has found new ways to show up as an ally and advocate for the African American community, and to show all 3Mers around the globe that the LGBTQI+ community is represented, even during a pandemic.
Showing Up as an Ally and Advocate
“Recent events have crystalized, now more than ever, why rooting out injustice is a shared struggle in which we all must take action against,” said Pride ERN Chair, David Otero (he/him/his). “Due to the pandemic, we fully expected Pride Month to feel different, but now our purpose for coming together takes on added meaning after the homicide of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the loss of countless other black lives due to systematic injustices. To our African American brothers and sisters who are feeling the enormity of injustice at this time, please know this: we see you, we support you and we kneel in solidarity with you.”
In addition to continued collaboration and conversation with the African American Network—another one of the nine ERNs at 3M—the 3M Pride ERN has found a way to come together as a community in giving. “Because of the importance of mental health and the impact that it has on the LGBTQI+ community, particularly communities of color, 3M Pride will fundraise as a community for The Trevor Project,” said David. “Their focus includes support for LGBTQ black and brown youth mental health, representing the intersectionality of the LGBTQI+ and African American communities.”
Intersectionality is one of 3M Pride’s themes this year, exploring the idea that we must recognize and celebrate that our personal identity is the culmination of many experiences and identities, seen and unseen. “Intersectionality is vital because it helps us understand how each of us can have multiple identities,” shared Pride ERN Chair, Jaymie Wagner (she/her/hers). “In my case I’m queer, trans, a woman, I have a disability, and am white. All of these bring different privileges and challenges. All of these things are part of who I am and where I came from, and it’s important to acknowledge that.”
Increasing Representation and Its Significance
Visibility is also playing a large part in Pride at 3M this year. For the first time ever, 3M will fly the Pride flag at its global headquarters in Maplewood, Minn., from June 24 through June 30. “I am delighted that our Chairman and CEO, Mike Roman and 3M Pride’s Executive Sponsor, Denise Rutherford agreed to raise the Pride flag at 3M Center,” said 3M’s Chief Diversity Officer, Ann Anaya (she/her/hers). “This significant cultural moment aligns with our culture pillar, Powered by Inclusion. It is an honor and privilege to take part in our evolution of thought and commitment to advancing social justice and representation.”
While majority of 3Mers are working remotely and won’t see the flag fly in person, the significant visual and action will be shared with them and 3M’s community through the company’s social media channels and internal communications.
In addition to flying the Pride flag for the first time ever at 3M’s global headquarters, 3Mers will be provided the options to—based on their comfort level—share their pronouns and identify their gender in informal and formal ways. The scientific research behind increased representation is complicated, but what we do know is that the act of sharing your identity publicly in various ways helps increase representation and further creates safe and more inclusive spaces for employees and customers.
“The use of pronouns signals to a person that they’re heard, respected and belong,” shared Ann in a recent LinkedIn article. “To a cisgender straight person, such as myself, it may seem strange and uncomfortable to share one’s pronoun or hear others share theirs. Why do this? Aren’t my pronouns obvious? But that’s not the case for all, especially members of the transgender, queer and non-binary communities. It’s important that they feel valued and included.”
Tips for Encouraging and Increasing Representation
As a company, we’re always learning about the complex topic of representation and have found a few easy ways that you can put pronoun-sharing into practice in hopes of creating a safe space and being a leader in increasing representation.
Tip 1: Make pronoun sharing a respectful habit in meetings
When in group or one-on-one meetings, introduce yourself with your name and pronoun: “My name is ___ and my pronouns are ____.” This opens the opportunity for others to follow suit. If you forget or the opportunity to share doesn’t present itself, don’t worry. You can respectfully ask, “Can you remind me what pronouns you’d like me to use?”
Tip 2: Include your pronouns in your everyday tools
Add your pronoun to your email signature, personal profiles like LinkedIn and the employee system your company uses, such as Workday (in countries where functionality is available). This visibility allows peers and partners at work to see your preference prior to a meeting. At 3M, based on our efforts to encourage 3Mers to share their pronoun, we’ve seen a 37 percent increase in pronoun identification in our formal HR system, Workday.
Tip 3: Think global
3M has more than 13 Pride ERN chapters around the world, each encouraged to celebrate inclusion and community in ways they feel comfortable and safe doing so, and at various times throughout the year.
Tip 4: Start the conversation
In a LinkedIn article last year, Ann shared that her learning journey for pronoun sharing began at a 3M event where the speaker identified as they/them. After the event, Ann and her husband had a conversation about pronouns. “He had never heard of gender-neutral pronouns, so we discussed what they mean and why they are important. My husband works in the health care industry and it’s rewarding to think that he has started the pronoun conversation in his workplace,” Ann shared. “Tell a friend or partner, start the conversation and begin the journey in your circles. It’s time for us to get comfortable with the slightly uncomfortable so that we can make progress toward inclusion.”
Join 3Mers around the globe by infusing one of the four tips above, helping make steps toward greater inclusion and representation.
3M has a long-standing commitment to being an Equal Opportunity Employer, offering a respectful work environment free from discrimination and harassment, and promoting individuals based on their merits, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, citizen status, status with regards to public assistance, compensation disclosure or discussion, or any other protected classification.
“I applaud the courageous people who fought the battle that led to the United States Supreme Court decision to uphold the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination and applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Ann. “Their sacrifice has improved lives everywhere and evolved our culture. Civil rights are human rights. Equality means equal rights for all. We all win when justice prevails.”