Words of Pride

Words of pride: The importance of creating a culture of Diversity & Inclusion

In our final interview of the blog series 'Words of Pride', AVOW's co-founders, Orietta Mendez and Robert Wildner, share valuable insights, and thoughts on what it means to lead and celebrate a diverse workplace and how inclusion leads to the success of a healthy work environment.

 

What role do Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) of the LGBTQ+ community play at AVOW?

At AVOW, a diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation, foster creativity, and guide business strategies. Therefore, we believe in creating an open, supportive and inclusive environment for all our employees that allows and encourages them to bring their authentic selves to work. 

Our core belief revolves around the principle that equal opportunities embraced with dignity and respect for all are what makes us a trustworthy, globally diverse organization. Hence, our mission is to build a culture of inclusion, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. 

LGBTQ+ inclusion at AVOW is of prime importance. We are committed to fostering an environment in which people feel respected, valued, and involved and facilitating an environment that ensures the participation of all employees from the LGBTQ+ community. 

Why is an LGBTQ+ community at work important?

Sometimes the work environment is one of the only safe environments LGBTQ+ employees have for various reasons. This is why employers should let employees know their workplace welcomes diversity and inclusion at all levels, no matter how small their organization is.

Our leadership team strongly emphasizes diversity and inclusion - not only because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the best thing for our people. It's crucial for engaging our workforce and equally important for recruiting the next best person out there.

How do you manage the topics of D&I of the LGBTQ+ community within your recruitment process and your company culture?

Hiring individuals from different backgrounds to maintain diversity isn't sustainable without a culture of inclusion that sincerely welcomes all individuals for who they are and encourages everyone to succeed at work. This is why we have set great importance on establishing and living by a set of values that reinforce this type of culture. Being 'out' at work is a choice. Many people won't feel safe or comfortable outing themselves at work, so design your programs to include people, whether they are 'out' or not.

From the talent acquisition perspective, we pride ourselves on being an equal opportunity employer and leading by example in terms of running our recruitment processes in an open, welcoming, and fair manner. 

On the inclusion front, we take it as a core responsibility to create a safe space for all employees, which means being vigilant against discrimination regardless of how subtle it may be. In addition, we are engaged in creating and nurturing a culture where people are respected, appreciated, and included.

How are you enabling awareness about Pride Month at AVOW?

We dedicate the month of June to celebrate PRIDE to acknowledge and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their journey so far. 

The three pillars of our activities are:

  • Raising awareness by keeping Pride present daily (from office decoration to our topics of conversation).
  • Highlighting and sharing team member stories.
  • Connecting with other organizations and individuals with similar views to create a D&I network of support and best practices.

Words of Pride

What is your biggest piece of advice for getting started with D&I?

Firstly, don't try to boil the ocean. Secondly, start somewhere! 

This work is enormous and can become overwhelming if you try to tackle everything at once. Instead, create a list of all the things you want to tackle and start with one or two. For instance, use more inclusive language, or create an experience-sharing group. Every step can help build an environment that is more inclusive and welcoming to underrepresented groups. Finally, ask for help from those who have done this in other organizations. Katee says she is always open to a conversation if it will help to move this work along in a company.

 

How do you think other people can make an impact this month to support their colleagues and the community in general?

Here are just a few ideas to get started:

  1. Read up on terminology so you can talk about the issues confidently
  2. Celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month or other awareness days and campaigns to show support
  3. Call out offensive, negative or abusive language and ‘banter’ when you hear it
  4. Set up an LGBTQ+ staff network group (or LGBTQ+ & Allies/ Friends group)
  5. Open up space to talk – you could mention LGBTQ+ issues you’ve seen in the media and get some real conversations started
  6. Work with your HR department to make sure their policies and procedures cover diversity, inclusion, rights, and protections for LGBTQ+ employees
  7. March, sponsor or volunteer at your local Pride as an organization.

How can companies create inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ employees?

Awareness and education are always good places to start. 

From our side, we launched #WordsOfPride which aims to create an open door educating our employees and followers about all things LGBTQ+ through the stories and experiences of our team members who are part of this community. This blog series is meant to raise awareness about what it means to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community and dispel some myths about the community that still exists.

Do you have any advice for people in leadership positions to encourage them to brace D&I at their companies? 

Every employer's mission should be to maintain a workplace that embraces diversity and provides an environment of respect, trust, collaboration, and cooperation for all employees.

Following a motto of "Inclusion without Exception" and addressing unconscious biases will help create an environment of inclusion where everyone feels that they belong. 

Showing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community for Pride Month is a positive step toward inclusion. But true LGBTQ+ inclusion must go further than a branding exercise. We strongly encourage all small and big companies who adopt the rainbow for June to closely examine their internal hiring processes and policies to ensure they genuinely support the LGBTQ+ community.

 


Words of Pride by Rubens Faria

Words of Pride: Rubens Faria speaks about Freedom and Fundamental Rights

Words of Pride: Rubens Faria speaks about Freedom and Fundamental Rights

In the next interview of the 'Words of Pride' series, Rubens Faria speaks about his experiences at and outside work and also shares a key message on how transforming speech into action is a significant factor to raise more awareness about the LGBTQ+ community and getting basic rights for a dignified living.

What does Pride Month personally mean to you?

Pride Month awakens two different feelings in me. A certain relief in being able to be proud of who I am and being protected by public policies that guarantee my rights, but also fear when thinking about how recent these achievements are. The thought that just four years ago, transsexuality was still treated as a psychiatric disorder truly scares me. Same thing with the fact that ten years ago, the Brazilian government restricted the concept of family to heteronormative couples. Feeling the relief of celebrating our lives collides with the reality that the fight is not over yet. It feels like a comfort I should not get too used to, as the rights that have been granted to me could be taken away at any time.

Rubens Faria

What are you the most excited about Pride Month 2022?

I believe this moment can serve as a time of reflection for people outside the LGBTQIAP+ community about the challenges we face every day. I use Pride Month as a way to bring up topics that aren't much known or discussed among my family and friends. For example, just last weekend my brother-in-law and I were talking about “Pabllo Vittar” (a famous Brazilian drag queen and singer). Throughout our conversation, I was shocked to find out that he didn't know the difference between a transgender woman and a drag queen! Was it scary to know that a person so close to me, was conceptually so far from my reality? Yes, but it was also a great chance to share the insights we have within the community, which may not be so obvious or present to other people. Transforming our message in a way that reaches everyone without judgment, is something that became important to me after this episode.

In your opinion, which are the most relevant issues affecting the global LGBTQ community which should be immediately addressed? Share your thoughts. 

There are countries where being LGBTQ is a crime; in some of these, the conviction for this crime is the death penalty. Some countries like Brazil, allow religions to antagonize LGBTQ people openly, excusing it under “freedom of belief”. Brazil is the country with the highest rate of transgender people getting killed because of transphobia. It is just shocking to have such horrible and savage crimes happening so often in the 21st century.

What do you think our society should work on during this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQ community?

Access to fundamental rights! Transgender people deserve the right to grow old with dignity! According to 2019 data, the life expectancy of a transgender woman in Brazil is 35 years! It's frightening to realize that, isn’t it? Transgender people need access to education and employment without being discriminated against. Heterosexual-cisgender individuals need to support the achievement and claim the rights of the LGBTQIAP+ community without thinking that this will take away their rights. What is being claimed by the LGBTQIAP+ population is access to basic rights to live a dignified life.

Are there any particular Pride-related events you’ll be attending this month that feel especially meaningful for you? 

Not in person, because the pandemic makes things still very limited in Brazil. However, I have been engaged in consuming and sharing products and services produced or supporting the LGBTQIAP+ community. Prioritizing buying these products and services has been a great exercise to meet outstanding professionals and entrepreneurs, as well as support the people who are part of it. I absolutely recommend everyone reading this to take this supportive step!

Rubens Faria

 

As one of the latest additions to the A-Team, what are your first impressions in terms of the inclusive and dynamic work culture AVOW manifests?

My first impression of AVOW is that it has a welcoming and representative work culture, which makes a point of listening to different perspectives. Appreciating the recognition of the LGBTQIAP+ people is just one of the many ways that diversity manifests itself in AVOW’s culture.

What do you think companies should do to make their company culture more inclusive and diverse?

Transform speech into action. I believe that arbitrarily reserving jobs for transgender people and educating the employees on how to create a healthy and welcoming environment for LGBTQIAP+ people is a promising start.

What do you like the most about working at AVOW, and how would you describe the company’s views towards diversity and inclusion? 

Just take a look at the A-Team and you'll understand how AVOW cares about cultural diversity. Personally, this diversity enriches my perspectives on life and community. In addition, it helps to create a work environment where different points of view can coexist, causing surprisingly good ideas to emerge within the projects, delivering an equally enriching result to the clients and to the industry.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our #WordsofPride interview series sent directly to your inbox. :)


Pride with Pavel

Words of Pride: Pavel Iarygin speaks about Awareness and Inclusion

Words of Pride: Pavel Iarygin speaks about Awareness and Inclusion

As we celebrate Pride Month, 2022, it is essential to know the importance of recognizing and raising awareness about the LGBTQ+ community and how diversity and inclusion should be cherished in the workplace. Hear from Pavel Iarygin as he speaks about his experience being a part of the LGBTQ+ community and what it feels like to work in an inclusive work environment.

What does Pride Month personally mean to you?

Recognizing, challenging, battling stereotypes and discrimination, and bringing awareness to the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community worldwide are some of the bigger external goals but being and feeling united is extremely important to me as well. Seeing the community come together makes me feel like we can do anything.

What are you the most excited about Pride Month 2022?

Being able to freely talk about the challenges the community is facing because it looks like more people are willing to listen, and there’s usually a lot of information flying around. Hence, it’s also a little bit inescapable anyway. Having the community unite during the month is fantastic because there are bigger things on the line, and bickering with each other (like all families do) doesn’t help solve anything. In addition, some more visible queer people come out each year and are less afraid of being their true selves. This creates a beautiful chain effect because it inspires more people to do the same.

Pride with Pavel Iarygin

Are there any particular Pride-related events you’ll be attending this month that feel especially meaningful for you? 

The Berlin Pride will be the most meaningful to me as it will be the very first Berlin Pride I’ll be attending. Despite its colorful festive nature nowadays, it’s still mostly a demonstration, a march to remind the world that the fight for our rights is far from over, and there’s still a lot of work left to be done. But at the same time, it’s a day for celebration and showing the world, including ourselves, that we are united and stronger together. Maybe that’s why many LGBTQ+ allies also love participating in these events, not only to show support for their friends and family but to experience this incredible feeling of unity and love.

In your opinion, which are the most relevant issues affecting the global LGBTQ community which should be immediately addressed? Share your thoughts. 

Trans* people should have easier and free access to healthcare, including hormones, which are still unavailable to them in many places. Same-sex relationships are outlawed, and people are persecuted, jailed, or executed in some countries to this day. Same-sex marriage should also be legalized globally. Queer children's suicide rates are also among the highest in the world. In theory, most of those issues have a rather quick solution, but, in my opinion, they are just symptoms of something much bigger. We as a society need to focus on destigmatizing by talking about mental health because it’s the first step in preventing more serious issues down the line. After all, acceptance should start within yourself. Negative opinions and emotions toward the LGBTQ+ community tend to stem from the place of ignorance and can also be connected to a lack of self-acceptance (there are actual studies that suggest it), so this applies to everyone. We need to work on communication and empathy as a whole to be able to move anywhere.

What do you think our society should work on during this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQ community?

Pride Month shouldn’t be the only month to raise awareness about issues that impact the global LGBTQ+ community, but it helps to have the time of the year when people are more open and willing to listen. Being able to attend, hear and talk to others about the importance of inclusivity and diversity are things everyone can participate in. Feeling seen and valued are some of the most basic human needs regardless of sexuality, gender identity, race, religion, etc., and having a peaceful dialogue can make a lot of difference.

Pride with Pavel Iarygin

What do you think companies should do to make their company culture more inclusive and diverse?

Asking questions, listening, being respectful, and patient. Not everyone in the community feels they immediately belong due to discrimination and prejudice they/we face in the outside world daily. However, speaking from experience, having a good team and other visible queer people helps greatly with this process. Most of the time, no extraordinary action is needed - applying the basic principles we all expect is usually enough. 

What do you like the most about working at AVOW, and how would you describe the company’s views towards diversity and inclusion? 

Respect for everyone’s differences and boundaries, the ability to ask questions, and open-mindedness are the things I value the most, especially in a workplace, so AVOW was a perfect fit. There was never a time when I felt I couldn’t be myself, compromise, or dial down my personality traits, in general, to fit in. I felt accepted and did not need to justify myself at any point. Even to this day, it can be an issue in many companies but AVOW made me feel at home and significantly impacted my performance. Non-performative inclusivity of any kind is extremely important for a workplace - you learn a lot about other cultures and traditions while sharing your own experiences.

 

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our #WordsofPride interview series sent directly to your inbox. :)


AVOW x Adjust Webinar: From User Acquisition Strategy to Dynamic Preload Campaigns with Mobile OEMs

Learn how mobile marketers can scale their apps while working with major mobile OEMs such as HUAWEI, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, OnePlus, and Samsung - through AVOW's access to Mobile OEM premium inventory and dynamic preload offerings along with Adjust’s preload solutions.

Deep dive into how mobile apps can create high-value users using various acquisition strategies such as dynamic preloads to fuel their mobile marketing mix with Mobile OEMs and to enable revenue and growth for their brands.

"The last thing an advertiser wants is to haggle with fraud. Most of the traffic provided by mobile OEMs is relatively brand-safe and fraud-free since the advertisers are bidding directly on the device" - Ashwin Shekhar

Key takeaway 

By default, mobile OEMs need to be a part of every mobile marketer's marketing mix. They need a single source of truth when choosing their advertising agency partner that has exclusive or at least official partnerships with major global OEMs. 

Speak to our CRO, Ashwin Shekhar, and his team to learn more about dynamic preloads and user acquisition with mobile OEMs.