Celebrating Deltek’s LGBTQ+ Community – Part 1: Pride, Passion and Perspective

June 22, 2020

At Deltek, we take pride in creating a culture where all our employees feel valued, included and empowered. Every June, as part of our continued emphasis on diversity and inclusion, we communicate a reminder of our commitment to these values. It has never been more important than now to renew our focus on what it means to be a global organization that supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

Our strong shared values drive our accountability to powering project success for our customers. We believe that those values are only enhanced by the variety of unique identities, experiences and perspectives that our diverse group of employees brings to the table.

Pride, Passion and Perspective

In celebration of June being Pride Month, we are sharing stories of our LGBTQ+ colleagues around the globe and highlighting what it means to have pride at Deltek. To help promote acceptance and understanding, members of #TeamDeltek are telling their personal stories and sharing how they bring their authentic selves to work each day.

We caught up with Ashley Clewes, a Software Engineer in Nottingham, England, and Vincent Fabello, a Solutions Engineer in Dallas, Texas, to discuss the importance of pride, their passions and their perspectives.

What does Pride Month mean to you and why is it important?

Ashley: As someone who focuses more on the smaller, day-to-day side of things, I approach Pride Month as a way to reinforce visibility and acceptance. When I came out as transgender, one thing that really helped me feel safe and accepted around town was seeing pride flags in shop windows. Now, I make sure to always wear a rainbow pin so those around me who are less open with their identity can feel the same passive support that meant so much to me. During Pride Month I also double down on the opportunity to encourage learning and understanding, and to show that the LGBTQ+ community exists in everyday life, not just in the pride parades.

Vincent: Pride Month represents a communal experience. An undeniably powerful show of love and acceptance of who I am and who my wacky friends are. This is in stark contrast to the negative and hateful messages out there about LGBTQ+ people that I grew up with. For me it is a sustaining event of hope and a celebration, representing how much better the world can and should be.

Especially now, when we won’t have official parades or huge gatherings, Pride Month has become more about celebrating the communities I’m a part of and that I get to meet.  

Pride Deltek 2020

What does it mean to bring your authentic self to work?

Ashley:  Working at Deltek allows me to be true to myself. I'm able to share my identity openly and be the representative in everyday life that I aspire to be. I can wear my rainbow pin and make my gender transition freely and openly without feeling like I need to hide those parts of me. If someone asks me about them, I treat it as an opportunity to share my perspective freely, rather than worry about how it reflects on my "work persona".

I feel at home in my job because I'm not just sticking my hands in, but I am able to step in with my full self and work with others person-to-person instead of just employee-to-employee.

Vincent: One of the great things about working at Deltek is that I have never felt like I had to hide who I was at work. And for me, not only does that include talking about my husband openly and freely, but it also means that I get to be the personable and inquisitive individual that got into computers. 

I find joy in listening to our clients and helping them articulate their problems. I get to lean into what I know of engineering, medicine, architecture, and project management to relate to our clients and understand their problems. Then I help them see how our Deltek solutions can help solve their challenges. I get to be me, and being me helps Deltek help our customers.  

What types of activities are you passionate about? 

Ashley: I have a huge passion for building communities that foster acceptance and mutual support, and I’m also very passionate about learning. I love to seek out new perspectives and to challenge my own biases and prejudices. I have deep fascination with psychology, sociology, and political philosophy, and I'm always trying to find better ways we all can live together, support each other, and share our knowledge and experiences in open, non-judgmental environments.

Vincent: As an adult, I’ve found a love of cooking together as a way to build friendships and family. My husband and I love tackling a new recipe, technique, or genre of food. It’s also a way to explore cultures from your own kitchen and better understand the world and people you get to meet. 

How did you get involved with Deltek’s LGBTQ+ and Allies Employee Resource Group?

Ashley: I came out as transgender after being at Deltek for just over a year, and as part of the process I announced it to all my colleagues. Since then, I've been transitioning freely and have made it a point to be an open, active, and an approachable member of the LGBTQ+ community at Deltek. This includes welcoming new members and suggesting and contributing to topics where I'm able to.

Vincent: Being based in Dallas, Texas, I typically visit Deltek’s headquarters only for training and corporate events. During my initial visits, I met a lot of great people including Allies, but it took a while to find other LGBTQ+ people. So I found them virtually! By working with the Deltek HR team, we set up an online community for LGBTQ+ and Allies employees, where we could meet and share our stories and collective wisdom. 

Pride Deltek 2020

As #TeamDeltek celebrates Pride Month, what is one thing you would like to share with your colleagues?

Ashley: If I could share one thing about Pride Month, it would be to open your mind and listen to the experiences of those around you in minority groups. There are some things you would never think of unless you are part of that group and there are so many simple changes that can help make the world better for everyone.

Vincent: Pride Month is a chance for everyone to get to know their amazing coworkers, friends, neighbors and family members, and to celebrate their unique experiences and perspective and individual awesomeness. But it’s also an opportunity to recognize the contributions they have made and continue to make in the world.

A contribution I’d like to share comes from Alan Turing, a WWII Code breaker extraordinaire, but also the father of “computers” as we know them. Our industry, our company stands on his shoulders. As part of that modern recognition, The Queen of England granted him a Royal Pardon for his 1952 criminal conviction of his homosexuality. 

What do you appreciate most about Deltek’s culture?

Ashley: Much of what originally attracted me to Deltek when I joined the company five years ago as a Software Engineer in the UK, was how open, accepting, and human the company was. Employees at every level surprised me with how willing they are to listen to and accommodate others. When I came out as transgender, I felt just as safe at the office as I did in my own home.

People always go on and on about "being in this together", but at Deltek, that shines true because everyone approaches each other with a level of openness and respect that makes you feel like they are really listening and you're tackling challenges as a team.

Vincent: When HRsmart, where I worked prior to Deltek, was acquired 5 years ago, I was worried about being an outsider. However, it was never an issue, everyone at Deltek welcomed us as part of the team and made sure we felt included. Since joining Deltek, I have ALWAYS felt accepted by the people I have met, it is just part of the culture. 

Last question, and this is one that we ask each of our #TeamDeltek spotlights, which one of Deltek’s company values most resonates for you and why?

Ashley: Without a doubt, curiosity is the Deltek value that resonates the most with me. I follow my mind and strive to learn while keeping an open mind because by immersing myself in different ideas, teasing them apart, and understanding what they mean and where they lead, I can synthesize my best self.

Vincent: Of our nine values I would choose collaboration. In my role, I represent a product that gets to help people and make their work-life better. I get to work with a team whose goal is to get the product in the hands of our customers. It’s a team that supports each other and helps each other prepare. Even when it’s just me and my salesperson, I love working with this team. 

Diversity & Inclusion

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To continue our celebration of Pride Month, we will be catching up with more members of #TeamDeltek to hear their stories and learn what pride means to them. Look out for part two of this blog next week! 

About Lisa Roberts

As a senior member of Deltek's HR team, Lisa Roberts functions as a HR Business Partner supporting Finance, Global Consulting and Marketing. Lisa works closely with executive and leaders to evolve their HR strategies to take their business forward, innovate and challenge standard HR practices. In addition to her HR business partner role, she is also the Leader of Diversity and Inclusion. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.