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11 July 2024

As June draws to an end, it is a privilege to be able to comment on this year’s extremely successful Pride Month celebration. This year’s theme and focus was embracing and finding joy in our LGBTQIA+ identities.

I have been a Smiths Detection employee in the United States for thirteen years and for the past few I have been involved with our Pride Coalition. The Pride Coalition is an employee resource group that provides an opportunity for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies to connect, socialise, support one another, and discuss issues of relevance to their communities. We are committed to making Smiths a safe space where everyone feel that they belong regardless of their sexuality, gender or gender identity, race, ethnicity, or background.

The Pride Coalition’s mission is to help foster a culture of belonging and to promote a safe workplace where LGBTQIA+ people feel comfortable and protected to express their authentic selves at all levels of the business. Our specific goals are to grow the number of LGBTQIA+ in professional roles, provide networking opportunities, establish activities to raise awareness, and provide support to better attract and retain LGBTQIA+ employees.

To close Pride Month, we were delighted to welcome Dr. Mark McBride-Wright, founder and Managing Director of EqualEngineers, to speak about working to create a more inclusive culture in engineering firms like Smiths. To everyone who attended or viewed a recording of the talk, I thank you for your support. A link to the recording can be found here.

As a global organisation, Smiths already recognises the value of diversity. Combining different viewpoints and experiences from our thousands of colleagues, we gain unique, valuable perspectives and generate insights to improve our world. Diverse individuals working cooperatively is our greatest human advantage and when we are free to be who we are, that cooperation is most profoundly present.

At Smiths, safety is our key priority. During the presentation, Dr. McBride-Wright highlighted that an inclusive workplace is, above all, a safe workplace. Feeling compelled to hide oneself daily needlessly expends energy and leads to distraction and isolation. A colleague who feels accepted in the workplace is a more mindful and engaged teammate. We need to remember that understanding and celebrating one another improves the collective mental health and sense of community at work for all of us equally.

Mark and I also discussed the role that allies can play. His best advice to anyone wishing to be a supporter to marginalised or struggling individuals is to find them. Look in your personal or professional spheres, in person or even online; it’s not difficult to find a story to share or a small kindness to show interest and concern. Small acts like showing interest, offering words of support, and checking in with one another have a profound impact in raising the emotional state of our workplace as well as our communities.

Lastly, on behalf of the Pride Coalition, I want to paraphrase some words one of our members offered for this year’s celebration: To our co-workers, especially those who are unable to fully self-express for whatever reason, we want you to know that we see you, you are valid, and you do exist. You don't have to be loud and brazen to be proud of who you are. We are all members of this community together.

If anyone would like to become a member of our coalition or discuss anything related to Pride, please feel free to reach out to me.

Michael Frunzi, Ph. D.
Smiths Detection

Michael Frunzi
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Diverse individuals working cooperatively is our greatest human advantage and when we are free to be who we are, that cooperation is most profoundly present. 

Michael Frunzi Ph. D.
Senior Business Development Manager in Smiths Detection and Pride Coalition co-lead

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