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PRIDE Month: Courage, authenticity and building a culture of belonging

Each year, Pride Month celebrates the contributions made by the LGBTQ+ community to history, society, and cultures worldwide. As the end of our 2023 Pride Month celebrations approaches, I am feeling deeply grateful for the opportunity to be the Executive Sponsor of the Conduent Pride Employee Impact Group (EIG). The LGBTQ+ community itself is one of vast diversity and may be one of the best cultural examples of inclusivity and collaboration. This month, I have witnessed our EIG members, Conduent executives, people leaders, and allies come together in record numbers to show their support and discuss ways to lift up this community. It has been inspiring to watch so many become a part of the progress toward a more inclusive future. 

At Conduent, we want our associates to feel confident bringing their whole selves to work. For our LGBTQ+ community, we know that can present several challenges. We understand the amount of bravery it takes to be one’s true self each day, and we support our pride associates and how they choose to show up. This month, we have celebrated our pride community through local and global events (like the Atlanta PRIDE run), numerous fun and creative office celebrations, and various community volunteer events.  

One of our most impactful experiences, however, has been leading educational and courageous panel discussions with our own Conduent leaders around the world.  We’ve been bravely exploring how to address LBGTQ+ challenges and discuss how we can better support one another every day. It’s been enriching to hear the perspectives from, and contributions of, our LGBTQ+ community and allies as we broaden our circle of support here at Conduent. 

Our Conduent values call us to be open and inclusive, be a good teammate, and act with humility. We must walk the talk of those values and ensure our associates feel safe to be themselves across our vast Conduent global team. We are proud of the tremendous progress over the past few years and proud to be recognized multiple times for those efforts in several countries including India, Mexico, and the United States. 

Still, there is still much work to be done. There are many in the LGBTQ+ community that do not feel safe being open and sharing their authentic selves. If you are one of those people, I want you to know you are supported and should feel safe - here at Conduent or wherever your life or career takes you.  Our Pride EIG is also here to make sure everyone has a place and community to lean on as we continue our journey for a fairer and more just world. Regardless of your level of experience, comfort, and awareness of the LGBTQ+ community, our values remind us to treat each other with dignity and respect. When we come together with the spirit of acceptance and authenticity, we all win. 

About the Author

Dedra Ward (she/her/hers) supports multiple General Managers across Commercial Solutions, driving the people strategies for the global business and operational groups and serves as our PRIDE Employee Impact Group Executive Sponsor. She has been with Conduent since March 2021 supporting executives across Commercial and Transportation. Dedra has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources Leadership, is a member of the Forbes Human Resources Council, and holds an MBA and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace certification from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.

Profile Photo of Dedra Ward