Last November 23rd, saw the seventh edition of the LGBT People at Work Business Forum, held in Milan by Parks, Liberi e Uguali. For the second consecutive year, Avio Aero has participated in this essential moment of study, analysis and sharing of virtuous practices to free the value and talent of everyone in the workplace. Attending and participating from GE/BHGE were the Italian GLBTA Alliance co-leaders (Pasquale Felago & Liam Richards from Avio Aero; Giorgia Terrosi from Global Operations; Jean-Christophe Rigo & Carlo Cortese from BHGE), Avio Aero’s HRBP & D&I Leader (Carlamaria Tiburtini) and Avio Aero’s Executive HR Leader (Barbara Preti).
The forum started with warm greetings from Igor Suran, Executive Director of Parks and Elio de Capitani, director of the event, who highlighted the role of theatre in Italy and its ongoing combat in the current “celebration of ignorance”. To follow, there were video contributions from notable sponsors of the Forum, which are David Mixner - key figure of the American cultural scene, human rights activist and pioneer of the LGBT movement; Italian politician Monica Cirinnà; and Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The testimonials reiterated the importance of promoting inclusion instead of solely “selling tolerance", especially during a period in which, wherever in the world, there is a risk of prejudicing differences, specifically, on diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Houdart presented the new UN Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI People.
Ivan Scalfarotto, founder of Parks - and one of only 2 LGBT deputies openly ‘out’ within in the 630-member strong Chamber - proceeded with a keynote speech in which he recalled that equal rights cannot be "sliced”. Every time a person is diminished, denigrated for what they are, their origins, the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation, we must all raise our voices in their defence. Inherently, worplace culture can be integral to progress in both small and big steps.
The conference was divided into four "acts" whereby Parks' member companies and institutions gave their testimony of their experiences in addition to profitable practices. During the first act, titled “Alt(r)i punti di vista” (other points of view), the CEOs of Accenture, Microsoft and State Street conveyed the LGBT inclusion principles. Moreover, on how inclusion plays as a central compound for their success in diversity and why companies must always strive to be ahead of the rules in all areas; from the experiences of interviews through to the relationship with the customers and striving to spread this culture outside the company.
The second act was titled "Belle storie" (beautiful stories). Susanna Sancassani, Managing Director of METID at the Politecnico of Milan; Giangiacomo Pierini, Communication Director of Coca-Cola HBC; and Francesco Pintus, coordinator of Milano Pride began the act with a roundtable discussion. Interestingly and congruent with Avio Aero’s digital journey, the Polytechnic is now dedicated to Digital Learning where 60,000 people can enrol in education to enhance diversity through an "Embracing Diversity" online course, based on gender and LGBT topics. Correspondingly, Pierini and Pintus also talked about their experiences of participating in Pride as a company, and how these investments have highlighted the importance of recognising the rights of their employees.
Later in the second “scene” of Act 2, GE and BHGE had the honour to share the prized experiences of the GLBTA Alliance, thanks to the presence on stage of Carlo Cortese, Quality Master Black Belt, BHGE, with representatives of Accenture, Vector, Pfizer, Deutsche Bank and TIM. The following third act was dedicated to the presentation of the results to the Parks Diversity Index (list to be publicly released soon), to which GE & BHGE won the award for the best Italian LGBTA Network.
Inclusion is not directed at eliminating differences, but rather at the conscious reception of great benefits: diversity and inclusion increase creativity, commitment and results.
The fourth and final act “Di cultura e di paura” (The fear of culture), focused on the difficulty of creating inclusive cultures in the workplace and the subsequent fear, apprehension. Giving insight onstage were Filippo Maria Battaglia, Deputy Head of Sky TG24; Filippo Del Corno, Councilor for Culture of the City of Milan; Chiara Lalli, Professor of Bioethics and History of Medicine for La Sapienza University; Maura Gancitano, Writer, philosopher and founder of the Tlon Project; Annamaria Testa, Communication Consultant; and Andrea Notarnicola Cociani, Management consultant, member of Newton Spa. The speeches of these speakers highlighted the need for a shared commitment to bring change for an inclusive culture. Leadership, from this perspective, becomes very important in shaping, living and guiding inclusive behaviours. In fact, inclusion is not directed at eliminating differences, but rather at the conscious reception of great benefits: diversity and inclusion increase creativity, commitment and results.