Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender
HR Professional,IBM A/NZ
"Having an employer that proactively encourages and supports a LGBT community is crucial for me. It's empowering that I'm able to completely be myself at work and I have a team who embrace differences, which provides me with an opportunity to thrive and grow."
When Gavin Salway joined IBM as a graduate he was aware of the company's commitment to diversity and the existence of a gay and lesbian diversity group.
"In my HR degree, we actually did case studies on IBM and its best practice HR policies. My final year thesis was on LGBT discrimination, and I'd been shocked at some of the evidence I came across, clearly documenting LGBT discrimination and the existence of a "Pink Ceiling" for LGBT professionals."
"Previously I hadn't thought about what effect my sexual orientation would have over my career. I thought very seriously about whether I wanted to be out at work and decided I would not work for a company that wouldn't accept me for who I am. Having made that decision, of all the job offers I received, IBM's seemed the best fit."
But it wasn't just IBM's pink policies that attracted Gavin.
"IBM's Graduate Program had some great features, including mentoring and a rotation program. As part of this program, I was involved in three different teams and received an array of career development support, including mentoring opportunities from executives and other senior IBMers, training courses, work assignments outside of my role, access to professional networking sessions and the opportunity to perform a leadership role within the associate network."
Working on a range of company wide HR projects and initiatives, Gavin has since gained a wealth of skills and experience in a number of different facets of HR. These include technical and professional development, recruitment, compensation and benefits and the learning department as well as completing two successful assignments as an HR Partner for Australia New Zealand.
As a professional, Gavin has had opportunities to undertake further studies in training and assessment, attend many conferences and events and has benefited greatly from mentors who have been influential in guiding his career progression. Gavin also utilises IBM's work life integration tools, which help him to maintain balance.
"At IBM I get the opportunity to work for a large multinational organisation on complex, challenging and exciting projects, while also having flexibility options such as working from home one or two days a week."
His experience of IBM's LGBT community has been very positive.
"We are a strong community that knows how band together over important issues. I was delighted to see the workplace acknowledging Pride Month as an important time in the LGBT calendar and proud to attend the Aurora Ball, which raised loads of money for the Aurora Foundation, supported by IBM."
Gavin can't imagine working for a company where he couldn't be comfortably out."We spend so much of our lives at work, it's incredibly important that you can be yourself, be productive and be happy in that environment."