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Archive for 2011


Jérôme is one of EQUAL!’s vice-presidents, based in Hong Kong, China. Get to know him, as part of our ‘Meet the Board’ series!

What country is on the top of your list to visit?

Japan has always been my all-time favorite. Although I’ve already traveled there a couple of times, its culture never fails to fascinate me every single time! Next year though my partner and I are going to try something a little different and spend a vacation in the US (hello, NYC!) – which is kind of exotic as we are so far away from it here. Oh, and I don’t mention China because that’s where we currently live – but there are so many things to do here, too!

What sport do you practice?

I’ve been playing badminton for a while (and since it’s very popular in Asia, it’s somewhat easy to find venues to play in) and recently I’ve started to enjoy squash, too (although I’m terrible at it!). But at least it’s fun – much more so to me than, say, being on a treadmill. I’m actually a specialist in taking gym subscriptions I never use; I’m proud to say I’m a bit stronger-willed now – I will simply refuse to sign any more of those contracts ;-).

What is the decisive factor that triggered your involvement in EQUAL!?

In 2010 my partner and I entered into a civil union (for those of you familiar with the French system – a ‘PACS‘) and I suddenly realized that I could not get the same benefits as my co-workers. This led me to discuss with my local HR team to try and harmonize those benefits, and shortly after to take a more active role in EQUAL’s Board.

The other interesting thing is that while we have a strong and active membership in the US and Europe, there aren’t that many EQUAL! members here in Asia-Pacific. So I thought I’d get the ball rolling and make our organization more visible in the region – which is sometimes a challenge as GLBT topics are often not openly discussed in the society at large. Thankfully my co-workers have shown nothing but support, so I’m very hopeful things can change for the better.

What is the craziest thing you’d do for the one you love?

Spending the Christmas/New Year break at my in-laws? 😉

Which movies made you cry/laugh the most?

Hmmm, tough one. I’m more of a TV series person though, so I’ll just say that one of the very few times I’ve actually cried in front of an episode, it was the ‘Six Feet Under’ series finale. Loved the series – one of HBO’s finest.

And in terms of laughing – no brainer for me – it’s any episode of 30 Rock. Tina Fey is just that good!

Sylvie is President of HomoSFèRe, an NGO which gathers lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees of the SFR group and their friends. SFR is the second biggest telecom service provider in France, and its workforce includes more than 10,000 employees.

 

Sylvie has been working at SFR for 12 years; she was a victim of lesbophobia at work, which pushed her to change things in the company so that any employee could discuss freely about this topic and GLBT matters in general. Then, as SFR was working on its “Diversity” policy, she started thinking about creating an organization within the company; when she saw the float of Homoboulot at the Paris GLBT Pride – and in particular with signs of Mobilisnoo, the LGBT group within France Telecom Orange – she had made up her mind! With other employees of the group, Sylvie launched HomoSFèRe in October 2009 – just two years ago.

Very quickly, the Employee Resource Group gets visible by posting an article on the company-wide intranet which allows to get a snapshot of the perception of people, with some hostile reactions arguing the usual comments on splitting private/professional life or being cliquish, somewhat revealing that taboo was still very present for some employees.

Since then the NGO is regularly in contact with the executive team (although it is sometimes a challenge to be heard) in particular to set up visibility actions inside the company walls, e.g. for the international day against homophobia (IDAHO) on May 17 or for the World Aids Day on December 1st. These actions are key in developing awareness for employees and favor prevention instead of limiting the actions to punishing inappropriate actions.

Glenda is EQUAL!’s Treasurer and former Co-President, as well as the Columbus, OH Chapter representative. Get to know her, as part of our ‘Meet the Board’ series!

What country is on the top of your list to visit?

I have traveled so much for work that I feel that I have been to all of my top countries. However, I would LOVE to return to Greece, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Austria, Australia, Switzerland, and Ireland. I don’t know if I will make any of those trips, but it is so fun to remember the great things I saw and was able to do there.

What sport do you practice?

For over 30 years I have ridden Dressage – this is an equine sport that you’ll find in the Olympics, however, you won’t find me there. I enjoy Dressage because no matter how much I train, I learn something new everyday. I own several horses and my greatest riding partner is named September. He was imported from Germany to the states and I love him dearly.

What job or task do you believe you have had your greatest impact at ALU?

During my years as Director in mobility, I had a large team at three locations and I feel that those were my years of greatest impact. Being able to work with a highly motivated and generally very happy team was rewarding for me personally. Being open, honest, approachable and clear in my expectations seemed to have a very positive impact with my department.

What is the decisive factor that triggered your involvement in EQUAL!?

I started many years ago with the founding organization LEAGUE. I got involved with the then struggling organization as people were trying to obtain corporate recognition. It angered me how co-workers and corporate were responding as GLBT folks were trying to organize. I was at a great point in my career, was promotable, very well thought of, and I decided that I could risk being public about my support and challenging upper management. This was one of the best decisions of my life – and – career.

Which movies made you cry/laugh the most?

Although I saw these many years ago, I can still remember laughing so loudly at Ghostbusters that people were turning their heads and looking at me my date. And as for crying, The Color Purple had me and a friend sobbing. And we couldn’t stop. His partner got up and moved away from us.

 

Thierry is EQUAL’s co-president and a member of the At Large chapter, based in Paris, France. Get to know him as part of our new ‘Meet the Board’ series!

What country is on the top of your list to visit? 

There are none which are really at the top of a list for the simple reason I don’t maintain a list and I like to travel where ever that is… That said, there are a number of trips I sometimes think about: driving through US Route 66, Roadtrip accross California and Australia “a-la-Priscilla”, Moroccan Desert Walk & Meditation, Trekking in Myanmar and Northern Thailand, Discovering North Korea and also travelling back in South East Asia with my spouse who has never gone to Asia yet, though I’m not sure it’s a good idea to go back to places I kept great memories of…

What is your link to GLBT?

Besides my job at ALU and my role in EQUAL!, I’m also actively involved in a French NGO by the name of CONTACT – the equivalent of the American PFLAG – whose role is to support parents of GLBT children to understand and accept their children the way they are, as well helping GLBT people who are not sure about themselves and do not know how to talk about their “difference” with their parents, and sometimes help them when this situation causes family troubles. Thanks of this involvement, I have a number of close friends who are GLBT or parents of GLBT. Oh and also my spouse is gay.

What job or task do you believe you have had your greatest impact at ALU?

I would think this was in the frame of contract negotiations with a customer in South East Asia back in the early 2000s. At the time, I was tendering manager and we were a rather small team, from tendering and sales organizations, very focused on this opportunity. We spent several weeks together in-country interacting with the customer on a daily basis until the final contract signature. This was a great experience and i was very fortunate to be part of it.

What is the decisive factor that triggered your involvement in EQUAL!?

Before the merger, I had gone through a tedious coming out process at work, with a few selected colleagues. Because this started when I was working in Kuala Lumpur, it was making the process a bit harder as this topic was sensitive in Malaysia, a muslim country which is condemning homosexuality. When I came back in France, the company was going through the merger and soon after it, I discovered EQUAL! and from the start I thought it was great to have a (virtual) place to discuss and interact with people which had this particularity in common. And because this was volunteer-based, I wanted to contribute in making sure this network would remain active and known for those who feel isolated or who might need it.

Which movies made you cry/laugh the most?

I don’t remember very well the story, but i remember very well how shocked I was during the movie “Dancer in the Dark”. Honestly I can easily cry when watching a movie or even TV series, but then I was crying and suffering so much that I wanted to leave the theater. Finally I stayed till the end, but it was really painful.

On a brighter note, I’d say I laughed the most with “Little Miss Sunshine”. I’m an easy spectator but rarely laugh, I usually smile and laugh only inside my head… For this movie, I was laughing for real and the whole theater room was doing the same. I watched the movie on DVD afterwards and I still had lots of fun watching the movie. If you have not watched it yet, you should give it a try !!

And since I started giving advice, you might also want to watch “Modern Family”, a very funny american TV-series. A really good TV show!

 What is World AIDS Day?

December 1st is World AIDS Day – a call for a spirit of social tolerance and a greater exchange of information on HIV/AIDS. Established by the World Health Organization in 1988, World AIDS Day serves to focus global attention on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, bringing messages of compassion, hope, solidarity & understanding about AIDS to every country in the world.

Observed annually on December 1, a range of activities are organized during the weeks and days before and after the official commemoration. It is a day designed to encourage public support for and development of programs to prevent the spread of HIV infection and to provide education and awareness of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

World AIDS Day Events at Alcatel-Lucent

This year the following Alcatel-Lucent’s Employee Business Partners are partnering together to host World AIDS Day events at Alcatel-Lucent.

  • EQUAL! (Supporting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees and Their Friends and Family)
  • ABLE (Leaders of African Descent)
  • IDEAL (Individuals Dedicated to Enabling Accessibility in Life)
  • LUNA (United Native Americans at Alcatel-Lucent)
  • HISPA (Hispanic Association of Alcatel-Lucent Employees)
  • WLN Chicagoland Chapter (Women’s Leadership Network – Chicagoland Chapter)

The following events will be held in Alcatel-Lucent on this occasion:

  • Status of the global HIV/AIDS day epidemic on Dec. 1st by Kristin M. Hartsaw, Case Management Supervisor, DuPage County Health Department in Illinois
  • World Holiday Bake Sale Fundraiser in Naperville on Nov. 30th in Alcatel-Lucent’s premises to raise funds for the  Annual EQUAL! Holiday Stocking Drive for the HIV/AIDS clients of the Open Door Clinic in Aurora and Elgin Illinois. Stop by to purchase cookies, cupcakes, cakes, fruit baskest, and nut baskets. More details on the stocking drive will be available soon!

We also invite everyone to light a candle at home on that day, wear a red ribbon throughout the day and/or participate in other local World AIDS Day events scheduled in your community.

The Red Ribbon Project

 

The red ribbon is a symbol of hope. Wear it to show your commitment to the fight against AIDS; it unifies the many voices seeking a meaningful response to the AIDS epidemic, serves as a constant reminder of the many people suffering as a result of this disease, and of the many people working toward a cure – a day without AIDS.

More Information

(images courtesy of worldaidsday.org)