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According to a recent study by the Karpor Center for Social Impact and Harris Poll, LGBTQ+ employees are more likely to experience bullying in the workplace than their non-LGBTQ+ colleagues, and this bullying often contributes to leaving the company or tech in general. Another key finding of the study: 67% of LGBTQ+ employees who left their job reported that creating a more positive and respectful work environment would have encouraged them to stay.

At WordStream, we’re committed to living by our core values, including winning together. The tenet here: Everyone contributes, and everyone is valued.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Out in Tech, the world’s largest community of LGBTQ+ tech professionals, to found Qorporate, a new membership program for companies committed to improving opportunities for LGBTQ+ people and underrepresented groups in tech. As a part of Qorporate, WordStream will have access to a peer network of over thirty companies to share best practices, in order to create a better, more inclusive environment in tech and at WordStream.

What is Qorporate and why does it matter?

WordStream’s Director of Product Greg Palmer helped spearhead the partnership with Out in Tech and the founding membership in Qorporate, and we talked with him about why this initiative is important for WordStream.

How did you first hear about Qorporate?

WordStreamers have been active members of Out in Tech for a while now, and it’s an organization we respect and value in the Boston tech community. Out in Tech has really started bringing the Boston LGBTQ+ tech community together in a way I felt was lacking before, so Qorporate felt like a great way to strengthen that community even further.

What made you excited to get involved?

I’m excited about having another avenue to help us build a more diverse company. Being active and visible is important for LGBTQ+ professionals, as we can be great role models for younger professionals and anyone who hasn’t chosen to be out at work. Outside of the company, we want to attract even more individuals who can bring their talents to a place where they are valued for who they are. I value diversity highly and see how LGBTQ+ professionals are more successful at companies that actively welcome and support them, and we want people to know that WordStream is that type of company.

WordStream employees at Boston's 2019 Pride

Why do you think Qorporate is an important initiative for a company like WordStream?

We have LGBTQ+ representation in leadership positions here at WordStream, but we have more work to do to raise that visibility and awareness in order to grow our diverse workforce. Initiatives like Out in Tech and Qorporate are about helping us break down our inherent biases and learning to better value each other as individuals.

Fostering a more equitable and inclusive workplace

Committing to a more equitable and inclusive workplace isn’t new for WordStream; in fact, this partnership with Out in Tech is a natural next step. Earlier this year, WordStream joined the Boston Women’s Workforce Council Initiative to end the gender wage gap and pledged to review and report salary and demographic data every two years, and WordStreamers created the company’s first employee resource group, Women of WordStream. Soon after, WordStream also welcomed its latest employee resource group: PrideStream. The mission of PrideStream is to foster a safe, inclusive workplace for the LGBTQ+ community and allies through internal programming and education events as well as external partnerships, such as this new alliance with Out in Tech.

We talked about this with Derek Smith, who works on our Customer Success team and is on leadership board for PrideStream.

Can you tell us about PrideStream?

PrideStream was created to foster a safe space for LGBTQIA employees and allies. Our goal is to help inform ongoing hiring, training and inclusivity initiatives within the WordStream community. We facilitate conversations and learning through our meetings and events in which we discuss national LGBTQ+ news, ways to continuously improve awareness and visibility within our organization and network with other professionals—all while having fun.

WordStream employees at Out in Tech event 2019

WordStream employees, including Derek, far right, and Greg, second from right, at a recent Out in Tech event.

What are some other initiatives that PrideStream is working towards?

In the coming quarter, we have a number of events currently planned. We will be hosting a book club where we will be reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. On National Coming Out Day, which is on October 11, we will be having a guest speaker, Martha Plaza. Martha serves on the Boston Pride Committee and has been very involved in planning the Pride Parade every year, and she also works in tech as a project director at Veristat. We are also working to co-host an event with the Women of WordStream where we will be attending a self-defense course.

What are some additional objectives that are important in creating more equality in the workplace for the LGBTQ+ community?

It’s important for acceptance and inclusivity to start at the top. The folks in charge of recruiting, hiring, training and managing must make sure that all members of our community are set up for success. Being a part of Qorporate will give us the resources we need to hire more diversely and educate all WordStreamers on how to deal with issues faced everyday by the LGBTQ+ community.

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