The Importance of LGBTQ+ Allies in the Workplace

Sponsored by Equinix

Arquelle Shaw

Photo courtesy of Equinix.

Arquelle Shaw, Senior Vice President of Sales, Americas
Arquelle Shaw, Senior Vice President of Sales, Americas
July 14, 2024 at 2:53PM UTC

June is Pride Month, where we collectively celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in our lives, communities and workplaces. Of course, in a perfect world, there would be celebrations year-round, but for now, I’m asking the Fairygodboss community to take a moment to explore how we can work together to foster a culture of respect in the workplace for our LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues.

Equinix wants to play a part to help achieve equity for all – especially our colleagues, clients, partners, friends, and families. Over the years, we have banded together to embody our company’s vision to become a historically significant company with a diverse employee base matching the global communities we serve, where all employees feel they are safe, they belong, and they matter

Equinix employees have created several internal communities to reflect and empower the diverse makeup of our teams, including our LGBTQ+ colleagues. We believe in the power of allyship, and we want to ensure our LGBTQ+ colleagues and friends are surrounded by allies who support and respect, them. Today, I am happy to share information about our programs, always with the goal to inspire you to create equity in your workplace. 

Equinix PrideConnect

The Equinix vision cannot become a reality without hard work, good people, and a lot of education. 

Several years ago, Equinix employees created an internal community called PrideConnect to create a supportive, positive space for dialogue, learning and allyship. Our goal is to bring people together to connect, have conversations and learn from each other. This group is open to everyone – it’s the active engagement of both LGBTQ community members and allies that makes Equinix PrideConnect a forum for meaningful conversation, deep understanding, and long-lasting relationships. Equally important, PrideConnect helps us create a culture where everyone can say “I am safe, I belong, I matter” through a safe space for dialogue and community for all employees.

The “secret sauce” of making an organization like this work is most certainly its programming – and it does not have to be complicated. Together, we provide mentors to younger colleagues, opportunities for courageous conversations, tools for opting to declare our gender pronouns, and even the occasional outside speaker. Together, we create a space for acknowledging experiences, traumas, and triumphs.

The evolution of Equinix PrideConnect inspired the advent of another community designed to support employees across the company: Equinix PrideConnect Parents, a special group created to form another kind of allyship. PrideConnect Parents group is for LGBTQ+ colleagues’ children, for parents or guardians of a child who is LGBTQ+ or, equally important, parents or guardians who want to raise their children to be an ally to this community. 

Equinix PrideConnect Parents

We know it takes a village to raise a child, and that it's easy to find yourself at a loss as your LBGTQ+ child explores and determines their burgeoning identities. The Equinix PrideConnect Parents group aims to be a safe and welcoming forum for Equinix parents to share their struggles and uncertainties, and to get and give advice and resources from other parents. 

We also explore how to teach our children not to be bystanders in situations of bullying and harassment; it’s important to talk to kids about sexual orientation and gender identity and how LGBTQ+ people can experience bullying and harassment stemming from their identities. Part of being an ally is teaching our kids they are perfect… just the way they are. 

You Can Be the Leaders

While we are proud of PrideConnect’s progress and impact, and the advent of the Parents group, we know we have a long way to go in support of LGBTQ+ advancement at Equinix and human rights around the world. You can be the leaders who create supportive groups in your workplaces. Together, we can make the world more equitable for everyone. Even beyond Pride Month.

About Arquelle Shaw

Arquelle Shaw is Senior Vice President of Sales for the Americas at Equinix, the world’s digital infrastructure company, where she is responsible for leading sales strategy and revenue growth across the region. Arquelle has extensive technology, operational, and organizational leadership experience across global and national markets. Her depth of experience helps clients harness Equinix’s trusted global platform to bring together and interconnect the foundational infrastructure to enable their digital transformation. Arquelle is a transformative sales leader with a passion for building client-centric, solution-driven sales organizations that help clients achieve critical business objectives, and she has been named one of the “Most Influential Business Women” by the San Francisco Bay Area Business Times multiple times. 

Equally important, Arquelle serves as a champion and mentor for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging initiatives within Equinix and her community. She proudly leads the Equinix Women Leaders Network (EWLN) and the Equinix Women in Technology Sales to amplify the voice and visibility of Equinix women around the world. She also is an executive sponsor of Equinix BlackConnect and is founding member of the Equinix PrideConnect Parents Group. She also volunteers as a “Woman of Impact” for the non-profit organization Girls Inc. where she supports creating opportunities for girls in underserved communities through funding and mentoring.

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