TELUS International Philippines (TIP), a leading business process-outsourcing (BPO) services provider, kicked-off Pride Month with a seminar on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) and workplace empowerment, held last May 29 at the TELUS International Market! Market! office in Taguig City.
Organized by TIP’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Allies (LGBTQA) employee group, Spectrum, the event featured international reality star Chris Cheng from History Channel’s Top Shot, who spoke about workplace empowerment for the LGBTQA community. Cheng was joined by Filipina LGBTQA rights advocate, Janlee Dungca, who gave an informative talk on SOGIE—an inclusive term now used in social media and even in United Nations documents.
In Cheng’s speech he stressed that by being inclusive of the LGBTQA team members, the employer fosters a welcoming environment that helps produce outstanding work performance. “Living your own truth and knowing what makes you happy should always be a top priority in both career and personal life. There is a need to encourage more companies to support employees to show who they truly are, respect their differences, and acknowledge the creativity they bring in the workplace,” Cheng explained. “We need to have more employers who will help their employees feel safe when they choose to ‘come out,’ and offer them equal opportunities for career advancement. This can be our contribution to the next generation of thinkers and supporters of diversity.”
Dungca, a transgender woman and a PR professional, spoke about the role of SOGIE in the LGBTQA community. She shared that accepting one’s identity is the true expression of love that transcends race, religion, and gender. She further emphasized that standing up against “gender bullies” is a form of service to the LGBTQA community in the workplace. “We need to be sensitive to every gender identity that we encounter and celebrate the uniqueness and contribution of each team member. This is how we spread awareness about LGBTQA today,” Dungca shared. “Creating the ‘ripple effect’ of love and support across the workplace and community should be one of the objectives of every company to create a meaningful and productive atmosphere.”
Launched in 2014, Spectrum’s membership continues to grow, with more than 450 members as it works closely with TIP to be one of the most LGBTQA-friendly companies in the Philippines. Since 2014, TELUS International has been an active supporter of the Metro Manila Pride March as one of its major sponsors. Spectrum team members have also volunteered with Project Pearls, an NGO with outreach efforts in Ulingan, Tondo and they have also started an education series on gender sensitivity and HIV awareness. With Spectrum’s efforts, TIP is currently known for its caring culture, corporate social responsibility programs, and employee diversity initiatives.
“Since we began Spectrum in the Philippines, we have seen the value of supporting the team members of the LGBTQA community as they aim for equality and freedom in our society,” says TIP’s Director for Communications, Carlos Giammattei. “Respect is a cornerstone of our values and culture at TELUS International. When we respect each other, we improve work and customer relationships, enhance teamwork, and increase productivity.”
Another milestone for TIP’s LGBTQA community is the recent announcement of the company’s HMO benefit extension for the same-sex and domestic partners of their team members. The benefit extension is very much aligned with TIP’s caring culture, especially since most companies in the country only allow health benefit coverage for legal spouses of their employees.
As part of its continuous efforts in recognizing diversity within their teams and in celebration of the pride month, TIP was once again part of this year’s Metro Manila Pride March which was held last June 24 in Marikina City.
For more information, visit: www.telusinternational.com.ph