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Creating a culture of belonging all year long
How McGraw Hill’s PRIDE ERG celebrates and supports the LGBTQIA+ community.
When our MH PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) formed in 2021, it had one main purpose: to help all McGraw Hill employees celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community. Three years later, it’s more than making good on that promise.
The group’s highest-profile events are planned during Pride Month, in June. There’s no shortage of ways for employees all around the world to join in this monthlong celebration of acceptance, love and unity. On the calendar this year are virtual options like Drag Queen Bingo, an ERG vs. ERG Jeopardy! game, a virtual Pride parade, a special Book Club event where the author will be joining the group, a Kiki social gathering and a webinar hosted by PFLAG’s Straight for Equality team called “Be Kind, Rewind.”
But make no mistake, the PRIDE ERG’s work doesn’t end on July 1. The group hosts events and programs all throughout the year that help nurture an inclusive environment at McGraw Hill. We asked some PRIDE members to share their favorite activities of the year and why they’re so meaningful.
MH PRIDE Monthly Book Club
Why it’s important: “I love getting to talk and bond with people over a story. This is the first time I’ve been in a work environment where discussing queer life and stories is so encouraged and celebrated. Feeling like I have community support in my workplace empowers me to be more open and relaxed at work. I really appreciate that allies attend the book club as well. Seeing people outside the community be genuinely interested in queer stories makes me feel hopeful and appreciated in a way that has really surprised me. My favorite book that we’ve read so far was This is How it Always Is, and I’m excited to read the next book, Burning Butch.”
- Li Kleban, Assistant Academic Designer
Why they’re important: “I really enjoy the PRIDE coffee hours and the chance to share how our weeks are going and laugh with people around the world. It is amazing to see how we can live in different places, work in different departments, have different family structures, but still have so much in common.
Pride Month is also really fun time. Getting to see pictures of how folks celebrate around the world with their communities and families – we did a pet dress up gallery last year, which was so fun – is special because remote work can sometimes isolate us from each other’s lives.
I’m proud to be part of McGraw Hill because here, employees are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work. The ERGs provide a way for us to continue to educate ourselves, connect and laugh with others who have had similar or different backgrounds. Working at McGraw Hill is the first time I have felt encouraged to express all the parts of myself, and I know they will be supported. For me, this is being gender neutral/pansexual, having disabilities and being part of an interracial family. In the past, I have had workplaces that supported maybe one of these parts of me but not all, so McGraw Hill is a special place.”
- Shay Muhonen, Rostering Advisor
MH PRIDE Jeopardy!
Why it’s important: “This June marks our third annual MH PRIDE Jeopardy game, and it’s one of many events that our ERG hosts. I love being part of putting this event together because I get to be creative in creating the categories and questions. We have some really competitive people here at McGraw Hill!
It’s also a fun way to bring people together. I love getting to connect with LGBTQIA+ coworkers and all the allies. Who doesn’t love trivia sprinkled with a little fun, glitter and rainbows too!”
- Brandon Harvey, Senior National Literacy Specialist
Why they’re important: “We’ve had a lot of people who happened to have started here in June say to us things like, ‘I started in June, and when I saw the focus and celebration by McGraw Hill of the things this ERG is doing, I knew I had found a safe place to be my true self. It made me want to work harder, and I felt more connected to my brand-new job than I have in any other company I’ve worked for.’
It’s these kinds of things that people say to us that make me so proud of the work our ERG does. We’re just volunteers doing this on top of our other important jobs of creating meaningful content for students around the world. Sometimes it can feel like too much to do, but knowing that the work we put into this ERG can make someone feel seen and safe? It’s just the most incredible feeling.”
- Amy Clarke-Spencley, Senior Portfolio Manager