Company NewsJune 23, 2021

Pride at 3DS

Sometimes, a simple offhand comment can trigger something great. In March 2017,…
Avatar Alyssa Ross

Sometimes, a simple offhand comment can trigger something great.

In March 2017, John Connaughton, director of talent management and training within Dassault Systèmes Americas Group was, as he often does, running a session for employees. On this particular day, he was using a story to make a point in which he referenced his husband. On a break, an employee approached John to say that he was the most senior person in the company that he knew was openly homosexual. The employee thanked him and said it made him want to share that he was gay as well.

John Connaughton

Soon thereafter, one of John’s colleagues made a similar overture to John, saying “I feel comfortable being out, because I see you being out and open.”

That got John thinking. In addition to these folks, he knew a few other lesbian and gay employees at 3DS. He wondered if they might want to build an informal, supportive and fun community at the company’s US headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The group met over lunch several times, during which an idea was born: to create a formal community that other employees who identify as LGBTQIA+ could join, along with employees who consider themselves allies. They decided they’d start not just with Waltham but would extend the invitation to two other local offices: Milford, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island.

John reached out to the head of human resources for the Americas, who was all for the idea. That executive ran it by the managing director of the GEO as well as the global head of HR and they quickly gave their support and approval as well.

In June 2017, John and others officially launched the Pride Committee: the LGBTQIA+ Network of Professionals Inspiring Dignity and Equality at Dassault Systèmes. Their purpose is three-fold:

  • Form a community for members, friends, and allies that fosters LGBTQIA+ support, networking, mentoring and learning
  • Aid 3DS in its recruitment and retention efforts as an inclusive LGBTQIA+ organization
  • Provides a resource to 3DS and its employees about creating an inclusive work environment and company policies

Since its founding, the group has met both formally and informally, and has shared its messages through employee newsletters and at quarterly town halls. They’ve hosted events during June for Pride month, such as a showing of the documentary Stonewall Uprising and a lunch & learn called The LGBTQIA+ Workplace Experience. They’ve also held get-togethers in October around National Coming Out Day, including a panel discussion with committee members and a lunch & learn on Promoting a Healthy Work & Home Environment.

And now, they’re poised to roll out the PRIDE Committee to other campuses across 3DS in the Americas. They announced the expansion last week during an Inclusion webinar series. That series is scheduled to continue this fall and the group is also working on creating virtual events that include all offices across the Americas.

Other sites around 3DS are involved in and hosting other activities in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, as the company strives to not just say, but show, that we value inclusivity and that it is part of our DNA. And we’re proud that employees like John can come up with an idea on how to improve the company culture, raise it to company leadership and have it materialize into a group run by employees, for employees – current and future.

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