Written by Maria Hyde
Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
On April 14, millions of people in communities across Canada and the world will unite in wearing pink to promote diversity and stand up to bullying. This global initiative known as International Day of Pink is held every year on the second Wednesday in April to raise awareness against homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny and all forms of bullying.
To celebrate this significant day, Tangerine has encouraged all of its employees to wear pink and has planned various activities, including a virtual seminar featuring a panel discussion with two special guest speakers from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
Supporting Diversity and Inclusion Beyond the Day of Pink
At Tangerine, creating an inclusive culture means showing allyship and supporting diverse people and communities, not only on one day, but every day. Part of this commitment includes continually engaging with employees to learn and raise awareness of 2SLGBTQIA+ matters through a Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG).
An employee-led resource group for 2SLGBTQIA+ and their allies, the Pride ERG originally started at Scotiabank (Tangerine's parent) and now includes representation from Tangerine. Members of the group provide their insights on how to strengthen business and community relationships and drive initiatives that foster inclusion and equality.
"What we have here is an opportunity to amplify our messages and come together as one and stand as one," explains Matthew Culleton, National Co-Chair for the Pride ERG. "We give people the networking capability to know that support within Tangerine and the broader Scotiabank family is available."
Working Together to Fight Against Discrimination
The Pride ERG works alongside other ERGs across Tangerine and Scotiabank that span gender identities, ages, abilities, sexual orientations, ethnicities, veterans and allies.
"These ERGs give diverse groups of people an avenue to be heard and say what they want to say," says Lyndsay Alves, the Toronto Chapter Leader and Chair of Events for the Pride ERG. "We've pulled together likeminded employees who wholeheartedly want to spread awareness of issues involving their community. Employee engagement has increased through all these diversity and inclusion groups, as we have people being a part of something that's extremely important to them—myself included."
In addition to getting leadership support to spread their messages, these ERGs also help amplify each other's issues. "There's intersectionality between the ERGs, so they help boost each other," explains Corry Melanson, the Atlantic Canada Chapter Leader for the Pride ERG. He points to an example of how the Pride ERG would work with Tangerine's Women in Leadership group to make sure their conversations include the specific issues that trans women face.
Corry shares, "The diversity and inclusion conversation has been happening almost constantly at Tangerine because of all the different ERGs, all working together, all promoting one another."
Making a Difference in the Community
By donating to The 519 on Day of Pink, Tangerine is able to focus its efforts on helping marginalized communities. The 519, which is a City of Toronto agency dedicated to the advancement of 2SLGBTQIA+ equality and inclusion, has been a community partner since 2016. With this partnership, Tangerine has provided support through resources and employee volunteering as well as sponsored fundraising events to help the organization deliver on its initiatives.
Most recently, Tangerine contributed to The 519's COVID-19 response with donations of 3,000 lunches on top of a financial donation.
"This in-kind and monetary support enabled The 519 to directly support hundreds of our most marginalized and vulnerable community members on a daily basis," says Stacy G. Kelly, the Director of Philanthropy at The 519.
The Spirit of Inclusiveness
For Tangerine employees, Day of Pink represents far more than just an anti-bullying movement. "To me, it's about being kind and seeing people for who they are, not who they love or how they present themselves," says Lyndsay. "It's about spreading awareness and educating both kids and adults alike to be kind to everyone."
Reflecting on what it means to work for a company like Tangerine that actively promotes inclusiveness, Matthew shares this: "It means a lot that we're creating this broad community that understands its 2SLGBTQIA+ people better and stands in support of them, so people don't have to feel bullied and don't have to be afraid to be their authentic selves. It makes me feel like we're making a difference and that everybody's dignity and worth is celebrated as well as supported."