As Pride Month draws to a close, it is important to highlight what the gaming industry is doing to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. Accordingly, SBC Americas has spoken with Katie Wiberg, the SVP of Finance, North America for Sportradar and the founder of the company’s LGBTQ+ ERG SR Pride.
Pride Employee Resource Group helps promote inclusion and the support of the LGBTQ+ community within the company and beyond. In an industry that is largely dominated by men, this group helps to give a voice to those who are underrepresented. SR Pride has 123 members around the world and is organizing Pride celebrations across the company during the month of June.
Wiberg discussed how SR Pride came to be and what other companies and individuals can to do bring similar ERGs and resources to their organizations.
SBCA: Can you walk us through the process of establishing SR Pride?
KW: The idea of forming an LGBTQIA+ employee resource group (ERG) was ignited during a discussion held at our New York office. As a prominent leader in our industry and a global organization, we recognized that it falls upon us to set a positive example and drive change throughout the entire industry. Embracing this responsibility, we felt compelled to create an ERG specifically dedicated to supporting our LGBTQIA+ employees. Recognizing that true and meaningful progress would be difficult to achieve without the commitment of industry leaders to support the LGBTQIA+ community, I was heartened to find that members of our executive leadership team shared this sentiment. From there, the establishment of this ERG gained momentum, marking a starting point for Pride.
While in its infancy, we have over 150 members with Pride month celebrations planned in over 20 offices around the world and the global Pride conversation in high drive. I believe the ERG has initiated a dialogue centered on inclusivity and acceptance. While it may appear insignificant to some, its significance runs deep for others, carrying profound meaning and impact.
SBCA: Did it require much buy-in from the company that this was a worthwhile thing to do?
KW: From inception, the concept of our Pride group received strong backing owing to Sportradar’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion. It is crucial to acknowledge the existing disparities within our industry, but even more important to take tangible actions that bridge any gaps in representation within our workforce. After conceptualizing the idea, I engaged in discussions with several individuals both within and outside the organization, gathering valuable insights to shape our approach, and was inspired to witness numerous individuals expressing their eagerness to contribute and support SR Pride. Sportradar Pride, alongside our Women in Tech group, serves as a testament to our company’s commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment.
SBCA: Can you talk about SR Pride and what the community looks and sounds like? For those who might want to join or get involved, how can they do so?
KW: Sportradar Pride is open to everyone, regardless of who you are and how you identify. One of our values is diversity + inclusivity, and one of our goals is to cultivate a sense of belonging. We encourage ideas and engagement and embrace everyone. In its infancy stage, and as a grassroots effort, we’ve taken the mentality that as an ERG, we must start somewhere. This month, across our global footprint, Sportradar offices are bringing employees together to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community in their own ways. We have pride swag being worn by team members globally and our Sportradar branded pride logo is flying high. That is cool to see, considering 12 months ago it was just an idea.
For anyone who wants to get involved, we have established the Pride Leadership team: a diverse group located all over the world, available to answer questions and provide support. We have created active pride communications channels, welcoming those interested in joining the conversation. At the end of the day, there is a seat at our very long table should you wish to join… no questions asked.
SBCA: What advice would you give to others trying to build similar communities at their workplaces?
KW: First and foremost, be brave. Be inspirational and don’t shy away from difficult conversations in your process. Additionally, I urge you to tap into your network. Other organizations have successfully established employee resource groups and people are generally willing and happy to share best practices.
Identify what you are missing as an employee and what resources or communities would make you a better, more productive member of your organization. Once you know, look around for others who would benefit from being in such a group. These groups are not created to be exclusive – they exist so people with shared values and goals can work together to advance them. It all starts with an idea. You will find like-minded individuals and before you know it, your idea will come to life. Embrace it and enjoy the journey!
SBCA: As an industry, we’ve acknowledged our shortcomings when it comes to racial and gender representation. What would you like to see more of to address the inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community going forward?
KW: I’d like to see increased belief in the idea that diversity enables better business. I’d like to see traditional patterns and ways of doing business evolve. As the LGBTQIA+ community within our industry grows, so will the level of awareness. That is a positive thing. Removing any bias would be a great start and leading by example is paramount.
Larger fireside chats and panel discussions around topics of inclusion would be beneficial. Education and open dialogue help, not only to break down barriers but also to promote awareness and better understanding of the prejudices the LGBTQIA+ community often faces. We may have a journey ahead in terms of breaking down barriers, but what we have created is a solid, positive start. The only way is up!