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The Rewards of Celebrating Pride

Interview Questions for Enrique Zuniga, Expansion Manager at PayScale. Interviewed by Tayler Wike, Talent Acquisition Partner.

In honor of the June 28, 1969 Stonewall Riots, a pivotal moment in the US Gay Rights movement, June is Pride Month. It’s a month where we celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, and everyone’s right to thrive and be accepted across all sexual identities, all gender identities, and all bodies. Enrique Zuniga has been with PayScale for the past 3 years. Previously Enrique had founded the LGBTQ+Allies Employee Resource Group at Mercer, and after joining the PayScale family has been a key organizer for our annual Pride celebration. We want to recognize Enrique’s work in not only taking our parties to the next level but connecting them to thoughtful discussion and educational resources, as well as being a champion of inclusion by inviting allies of all identities to participate. We asked him a few questions about why LGBTQ inclusion and Pride are important for company culture, and what advice he has for others who want to form an employer resource group.

Can you tell us a bit about how you started the LGBTQ Employee Resource Group at your previous company?

“The Louisville office of my previous employer was one of bigger offices. Since it was a big office, I assumed that Pride was either recognized, or there were events planned for it. As June 2016 was approaching, I began to ask around about what we were doing at the office and was told that though the company recognized Pride and there were events at other offices, there were no official events planned in Louisville. I started doing some homework on why that was the case, and that’s what got things into motion. Pride has been important to me since coming out. It has always been exciting for me to celebrate with my friends and family, and I wanted to celebrate with my co-workers.”

What advice can you give to someone wanting to start an Employee Resource Group at their company?

“Do your homework by asking questions, so that you can get a pulse for where people are with respect to the LGBTQ community and Pride. In my case I was pleasantly surprised that there was a desire to celebrate and recognize. Having learned that, it helped me get it going and having that internal support.”

What has it been like planning a virtual Pride this year?

“Because I’m remote and have been since I joined PayScale, I’ve been doing virtual planning since starting at PayScale in 2017. Everyone is remote now! It’s been seamless. It can be done so long as the passion is there. There is especially a need to connect with people in some shape or form right now.”

Why is it important to celebrate Pride (at work?)

“For individuals’ it is so important to show up as your authentic self in your workplace whatever that is for you as individual. It’s so important to have the support from your employer to recognize that this is who you are, and we want you here and we are glad you are here. Having diversity and inclusion that includes LGBTQ can lead to more opportunities to connect internally, as well as with external clients who share the same values.”

What is going on at PayScale this June 2020?

“We have had a series of virtual events planned. On June 2nd we had a discussion on allies and what that means specifically for the LGBTQ community. We have some fun events planned, such as trivia, as well as a movie documentary planned later in June on one of the major figures of the Stonewall riots.”

What does it mean to have an ally at work or have your workplace be in solidarity with you?

“It allows me to be my authentic self and to have the confidence to show up at work and interact with my colleagues and clients. Confidence is something we pick up on as humans and it makes for closer relationships both internally and externally. This leads to better client relations, which is great for business. Upon joining PayScale, I quickly learned that my new co-workers shared my desire to celebrate Pride, and there was great support from leaders to move from a single Third Thursday Pride event in June to a month of fun and educational activities.”

Any challenges that you’ve faced? What advice would you give to someone who might be facing a hurdle with support?

“When we first started up the ERG at my previous employer, we invited everyone. We did get some negative feedback from individuals who were not on board with the creation of this ERG or the celebration of Pride. Since we had leadership support, leadership was able to address it and show us that we were safe, and we were supported. Having leadership behind the ERG allowed us to create the ERG with confidence and comfort.”

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