By Mary Jane Yap
I’m MJ Yap from IBM Manila, Philippines.
I’ve been an IBMer since graduating from university in 2008. In my day job, I work in IT Service Management for IBM Business Services, mostly with accounts that deal in financial services delivery and in my gay job, I’ve had the privilege of co-leading IBM EAGLE since 2011.
After finishing my bachelor’s degree, it was a conscious decision to work with a company that has a stellar record on LGBTQ+ diversity. It was a non-negotiable criterion for me. IBM was the obvious choice based on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. Though the index was based solely on US data, it felt safe enough for me because I learned that IBM has a global policy on equal opportunity without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Because I live and breathe rainbows, I needed to find the LGBTQ+ constituency in IBM and later on had the privilege of leading it. Leading it gave me so many opportunities to expand my network internally in IBM and externally too with partners and clients. It also gave me access to mentorship from executives, especially those that are also LGBTQ+ and allies, and I was able to travel to places to share IBM’s good work on LGBTQ+ diversity. The work on LGBTQ+ diversity continuously inspires me and adds to me being an essential IBMer.
Getting involved in LGBTQ+ activities has always been a passion, from organizing art exhibits, a national LGBT symposium, pride activities in school (while being an out student leader in my university), pride marches, doing volunteer work for local LGBTQ+ organizations and since becoming an IBMer, a champion of LGBTQ+ diversity in the workplace. In EAGLE Philippines, some highlights we’ve had are the first business inter-company business forum, the implementation of the full same-gender partner benefits, film showing, forum on recognizing discrimination in the workplace, roundtables with execs and creation of learning material on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and I’d say that it’s a source of motivation for me in performing well in my day job.
Bringing my whole self to work is truly important because it allows me to be at my best, and it’s just as important that I help make the workplace environment a positive experience for other LGBTQ+ folks like me.
Mary Jane is an account IT lead with IBM Philippines Global Technology Services
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