What Does Pride Mean To You? An Employee Spotlight

Published: June 6, 2023

Happy Pride Month 🌈! As we near the end of Pride Month, we wanted to recognize the impact of Pride and how businesses and communities can create a lasting positive impact on the LGBTQIA+ community. Read more below about our monthly employee spotlight, veteran Account Manager Dennis Gouin-Malfara, who talks about how he celebrated Pride this year!

Favorite book: One of them is “The Velvet Rage”

Where is your hometown: I live in Ajax, Ontario

What do you do in your free time: Spend time with my son and husband – swimming 🏊‍♂️, hiking 🚶🏻, and geocaching

How has 2020-2021 changed you: It made me realize that family is most important and taught me to prioritize as such.

Favorite local restaurant: Mexico Lindo 🌮

What does Pride mean to you?

  • Pride means to me that everyone can be who they are.
  • The ability and freedom to be who I am and openly love the persons I choose without stigma and shame.
  • Pride is being proud of who you are. It’s about not worrying what others will think of you or being discriminated against based on your race, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • Pride means acceptance and authenticity of self. It’s a time when people can gather and accept themselves and each other and maybe just for a moment be able to breathe a sign of contentment.
  • Pride means love, acceptance, educating and celebration.
  • Free to be who you want to be.
  • Pride is the opportunity to be openly expressive, loving, and honest. Pride is being unafraid of your true self and, if we’re lucky, met with understanding and support. Pride is also feeling a part of something and connected. When we are part of a community we experience feelings of acceptance and nurturance.

What does “acceptance” look and feel like, particularly at work?

Workplaces that focus on Acceptance as a core value I believe are the ones where employees feel  more comfortable taking risks, speaking up and offering new ideas.  They know that they will not be met with judgement or criticism and more likely to feel confident in their work and worth.

What has your experience been like in the workforce being a part of the LGBTQ+ community?

Personally, my experience as part of the LGTBQ+ community in the workforce has been a mixed bag.  It hasn’t always been easy or comfortable for me to come out at work.  There were times when I faced challenges and had to navigate a long process to feel truly accepted.  Unfortunately, I’ve also had negative experiences with colleagues in the past which made it even more difficult.  However, I’ve been fortunate to work for companies where being part of the LGTBQ+ community was embraced and celebrated.  In those environments, it was much more comfortable and easier for me to be open about my identity.  It was empowering to work in inclusive organizations that valued diversity and fostered an environment of acceptance.  While I have faced challenges and setbacks along the way, it’s important to acknowledge the progress that has been made in creating more inclusive workplaces.

In what ways do you believe companies should be celebrating pride month?

Companies can celebrate pride month in various ways to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community and foster an inclusive work environment including:

  • Raise awareness by educating employees about the history, struggles and achievements of the LGTBQ+ community through workshops and online resources
  • Pride Events and parades by organizing or participating in local Pride Events, Marches or Parades.. Encouraging employees to join – perhaps this could include forming a company sponsored pride group or floats to engage in these events
  • Support LGBTQ+ organization or nonprofits through donations or volunteering…which shows commitment to the broader LGBTQ+ Community
  • Pride month should be an ongoing effort beyond the month of June.

How are you planning to celebrate this year?

This year I celebrated pride by going to Family Pride and the Toronto Pride Parade and Festivities with my Husband and 5-year-old son, along with a couple of his friends and parents was a great day of celebrating who I am with the people I care about the most.