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SAP helps “IT” Get Better & the World #RunProuder in Vancouver Pride Parade

78,000 employees, 150+ nationalities, 310,000+ customers and 100% commitment to diversity & inclusion

SAP running proud in Italy

The Power to Be Yourself

If you had told me 2 years ago I’d be walking to work knowing I had the colours of the rainbow perched proudly at my desk, I’d call you mad.

The idea of working in the enterprise software industry was new to me, let alone the concept of coming out as gay. I had my foot (the more courageous one out of the two) in the door of being honest with myself, but it wasn’t until I felt like I could be comfortable in major aspects of my life (friends, family, work) did my true self begin to surface.

In spite of Vancouver being a liberal and urban Canadian city, my discomfort with my sexuality stemmed partly from growing up not being educated or exposed to anything beyond a heteronormative environment. Disney movies instilled in me that romance came to life only between a prince and princess. Story time in the library was nice and all, but it never reflected my attraction towards the pretty girl sitting cross-legged beside me, leaving my 8 year-old mind wondering if I was alone in feeling like the “other.” It’s a solitary sentiment even for the toughest second-grader on the playground.

Davie Street in Vancouver, BC

Recognizing that your feelings (rainbow-tinted or not) aren’t reflected in the world around you externally is an internalized struggle many of us have faced. This uneasiness is exacerbated during our tumultuous teenage years, where acne, peer pressure, hormonal confusion, cliques and general self-identity crises seemingly paint our differences as hindrances rather than gifts. It feels as if we must submit to a fate where things will never get better.

But they do.


It Gets Better

2010 marked an influx of suicides committed by LGBT students after being bullied in school. Public figures, celebrities, athletes and companies rallied together in response to the issue to inspire hope for young people facing harassment.

This global movement translated into 50,000 user-generated videossending a message of assurance that things really do get better. As a soon-to-be university graduate considering SAP as a potential employer, I came across SAP’s very own contribution to the It Gets Better campaign. The notion that maybe one day, when the time was right, I could come into work as my true and authentic self, regardless of who I love, was what made me hit “send” on my application.

Fast-forward 2 years and here I am, sharing with you my journey of how SAP’s support for diversity and inclusion has helped IT get better for me.

Out of all the industries, it never crossed my mind that one of the world’s largest software companies could help guide me out of the closet, or comprehend the positive waves of self-development and discovery that would follow.

Why is Diversity & Inclusion particularly important for technology companies?


Being part of the SAP family has exposed me to brilliant minds, personalities and experiences, each accented by flavors that reach one end of the earth to another.

Particularly in Vancouver, I realize that it’s this personified diversity that sparks the innovation, pioneering and world-class ideation that characterizes this city. I am able to say, with much gratitude, that SAP’s sincere commitment to this spark has enabled me to open up and share the full and authentic version of myself with an office that houses 1,100 brilliant minds, personalities and experiences.

For the third consecutive year, SAP received received aperfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workplace equality.

Our passion and belief in the ability to help the world run better and improve people’s lives leads the tech industry. As a global company 78,000 strong, the work we do is thanks not only to our leadership in the digital economy, but also our commitment to embracing and celebrating the differences that make SAP a more innovative and dynamic organization.This allows us to understand our customers better, outperform competition and maximize productivity and engagement.

Hard Facts:

  • Gender diverse management teams generate 48 percent higher operating margins. (McKinsey & Co.)
  • Inclusive workplaces have 39 percent higher customer satisfaction. (Gallup)
  • Managers most impact employee engagement via diversity and inclusion. (Catalyst)
  • The Diversity Inc. Top 50 companies outperform stock exchanges by an average of 25 percent. (Diversity Inc.)
  • Fostering an LGBT-inclusive workplace helps a company attract and retain top talent. (Harvard Business Review)

Our 78,000 person workforce represents:

  • Over 150 different nationalities; nearly 90 nationalities are represented at our headquarters in Walldorf, Germany
  • Our incredibly diverse workforce makes us the ideal partner to serve — and reflect — our diverse customer base, which consists of over 310,000customers located in 190 countries.



The message I want to drive home is that these numbers translate into a very real and individual experience.

SAP has helped me embrace a big part of who I am. I can say that I go into work every day, proud and unafraid to be me, and that allows me to freely innovate, create and help the world run better.

As SAP Vancouver, we invite you to celebrate at the Vancouver Pride Parade on Sunday, July 31st, 2016 and keep an eye out for our marchers!

This year’s theme, “better together,” echoes our stance of #RunProuder and The Power to Be Yourself. Justin Trudeau will also be making history in Vancouver by becoming the first sitting Canadian Prime Minister to march in the Vancouver Pride Parade:

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Watch for SAP in the parade and stay connected by using #RunProuder and mentioning us at @SAP and @LifeatSAP! We can’t wait to celebrate love, equality and diversity alongside you and 650,000 other smiling faces.

Want to get involved with Pride at SAP Vancouver? I’d love to hear from you!

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter

With pride,
Rachel

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6 Comments

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  1. Moya Watson

    Brilliant.  We are lucky to be a place where everyone can run at their best!  Thank you Rachel for being a huge part of making sure everyone knows it!

    Have a fabulous pride — and say hi to Justin 🙂

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    1. Rachel Ho Post author

      Thanks so much Moya! You’ve inspired me more than you know! I hope we’ll get to meet in person one day — maybe even invite Justin along 😉

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    1. Rachel Ho Post author

      Toronto Pride would be amazing! My co-lead for Pride @ SAP Canada is based in Toronto and we are hoping to be more involved next year.

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