BEE PROUD: MEET MATT
For me, inclusivity means that there is no judgement, no barrier and no detriment to showing who you are and what makes you who you are. When we are inclusive everyone is fairly represented, everyone is welcome and nobody feels excluded, marginalised or like they are less important.
Matthew, VP People
Tell us about yourself. What is a principle/belief that defines you or your personality the most?
Hi, I’m Matt. for the last 14 months, I’ve worked as the VP of People here at Beekeeper.
One of the main principles I work hard to make central to my role and my life in general is the principal of values. Having a set of values that help guide and define how I live my life is essential to me. My own values comprise of fairness, equality and valuing the perspectives of others.
Taking the time to check my actions, words and sentiments are in line with my values helps me be consistent, connected and guided in situations I’m not familiar with or when I am seeking guidance on difficult topics. My values have also helped me connect and build friendships, strengthen bonds with my family and be influential in my career.
What is your profession?
I have always wanted to focus on working with people and empathy towards others. My earliest career aspirations were to be a medical doctor. I was strongly influenced by my parents who both work in healthcare and I saw the connection and satisfaction they had from helping to change peoples lives for the better. After some soul searching I realised that I could achieve some of the same goals in influencing organisation design, behaviour and culture to improve working conditions, wellness and safety in the workplace.
Growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s and identifying as being gay was a challenging and isolating experience. Before the LGBTQ+ community gained more support in the mainstream I often felt that I was not ‘normal’ and I struggled to understand a lot of my feelings and experiences as I grew up. I had very few examples of role models to draw inspiration from or how best to navigate through the confusing mix of feelings I had and was seemingly alone in feeling.
Before I joined Beekeeper I have worked in the manufacturing, service and banking industries based in the UK, the US and Switzerland. My career focus has always been on People and communication, starting in recruiting and progressing through employee relations and reward before reaching organisational design and curating the cultural pillars around employment and employee experience.
You might like to know that straight out of university, I also had a short stint as the co-founder of a startup based on communication way back in 2003/4!
How has being a member of the LGBTQ+ community shaped you so far?
This experience has directly influenced my empathy towards others, my support in creating an open and supportive environment, challenging perceptions of what is normal and being an advocate towards people defining their own definition of happiness and not craving the approval or justification of others to be themselves.
I’m pleased to say that my experiences also taught me that family and friends come in many forms and I have greatly enjoyed building and being part of many close knit circles of friends.
I hope in turn, to help the people around me in doing what I can to make sure they can be happy, healthy and open about who they are and who they love.
Pride is a celebration and a show of support for everyone who needs to take strength from the community that is here to support them on their journey in life. It is a way to show the world that there is hope and amazing things can be achieved when people come together in support.
Pride is also an opportunity for education, for change and a communication platform to focus on the challenges that still face the LGBTQ+ community everyday in every country.
Why do you feel it is important to celebrate Pride?
How would you describe a perfectly
Inclusivity is necessary because of judgement. If we can let go of our judgemental habits and focus more on acceptance, tolerance and appreciation then I think the majority of people would be happier and healthier. Valuing the differences between us should be second nature and celebrating what makes us unique allows us all to grow.
In the early stages of my career I frequently felt the need to hide who I was, I was still insecure about how to deal with the judgement of others and unsure of workplace attitudes towards people from the LGBTQ+ community. This led to more insecurity and in some cases panic around revealing more details of my personal life to colleagues in certain situations.
As some background to this anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ members from workplace discrimination were only brought into legislation in the UK in 2003 and discrimination protection was not universally extended to the LGBTQ+ community until the Equality act in 2010. These rights and protections were brought into law in Switzerland in 2015 to strengthen protections provided under the existing Swiss Constitution from 1999.
I am pleased to say that my experience has since been far more positive with a great deal more acceptance extended towards me upon being open about myself and my orientation. This is an area of the workplace that I have strongly encouraged and supported throughout my career and continue to do so today.
Can you tell us something about your first workplace experience when you shared your identity with your colleagues? What did you feel?
Our culture, our team and the focus that we have on our moment to moment experience as we all come together to create all the parts that build Beekeeper as a whole. We share openly, we speak openly and we strive to bring the best out in each other so we can all be better people.
What do you like about working at Beekeeper?
Don’t spend time worrying about what everyone else wants you to be, be yourself, be open to new experiences, opinions and perspectives. Stick to your values and know that you can count on the people who support and care for you.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you first started your career, what would it be?
READ MORE ABOUT INCLUSIVITY AT BEEKEEPER