We Are Family: Supporting Our LGBTQ+ Community and Allies

June 27, 2022

Building strong communities and ensuring Deltek Project Nation is a diverse, inclusive and respected community has always been a priority. As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, the Pride at Deltek employee resource group (ERG) is hosting events to educate and entertain employees throughout the month. These networking opportunities and panel discussions have brought together employees from around the globe to share their individual stories and highlight personal experiences with their families and friends.

We recently spoke with Pride at Deltek members: Chris Lawton, a Senior Director of Customer Care; Lou Cuneo, a Sales Manager; Miracle Guiao, a Senior HR Specialist; and Marisol Barraza, a Senior Customer Care Analyst, about what it means to be an ally, how to show support for loved ones who identify as LGBTQ+, and how Deltek is building a community of allies in the workplace.

Building a Community of Allies

Diverse and inclusive workplaces can be both difficult to find and hard to create. But organizations who care about making their workplace truly inclusive have the ability to effect change. Since 2016, the Pride at Deltek ERG has done just that, serving as a platform for our LGBTQ+ employees and allies by providing educational sessions, networking opportunities and social activities.

“It’s a wonderful community here at Deltek – everyone is very welcoming, accepting, and supportive of each other. I truly love seeing people living authentically – it’s a freeing experience,” shared Chris.

As a long-time Pride at Deltek member and ally, “I have learned a tremendous amount about the LGBTQ+ community through these meetings and the various struggles other members have shared. This has opened my eyes and helped me relate better with my step-daughter,” Lou added.

Through this employee resource group, Team Deltek has a safe space to learn about the unique issues and challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces, and to be a part of a group with similar experiences that can help them become a better allies to their families and friends.

Chris went on to say, “It’s important for allies to educate themselves. It’s not the responsibility of LGBTQ+ community members to educate others on what it means to be part of the community. It’s also important to understand that individuals don’t speak for an entire community. Be sure to take the time to research topics that you’re not clear on.” 

Becoming an LGBTQ+ Ally

For many, the LGBTQ+ journey is hard – and it takes courage, strength and the willingness to face adversity. But like many things in life, with love and support from allies, members of this underrepresented community don’t have to experience these challenges alone. “To me, being an ally means genuinely accepting others for who they are. It means educating myself on various LGBTQ+ topics, supporting LGBTQ+ rights, and challenging bigotry and intolerance,” said Chris, who has multiple family members in the community.

Miracle, who lives in Makati City, Philippines, has always provided emotional support for her sister throughout her journey, explaining: “Being an ally is not a mere brand that you give to yourself. Others make that determination about you based on the trust and confidence that you have built with members of the LGBTQ+ community. It equates to understanding the community on a deeper level – knowing not just the definitions of the diverse range of sexual orientations and gender identities, but also exerting the effort to know how to communicate, support, and promote equality to make them feel that they are not different, but they are accepted and respected, not just tolerated.”

As a parent of two LGBTQ+ children, Marisol expressed, “Becoming an ally has meant working to develop an understanding of the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community and confronting my own biases regarding gender identity and sexual orientation. I try my best to keep an open mind and reassure my children that they are loved as they are.”

Supporting Our LGBTQ+ Family

One of the first steps in becoming an ally is often acceptance either as a parent, a sibling or as a friend. From there families have the opportunity to learn to become an ally by building a network of trust and understanding. But sometimes families or even colleagues who want to show personal support for the LGBTQ+ community struggle with how or what they need.

When asked about how she learned to be an ally, Chris said, “I don’t think it’s anything I really learned. I love my family and want nothing but the best for them. I want all people to have the same opportunities and to feel love and acceptance, no matter who they love.

“It’s really sad to me how many people in the LGBTQ+ community don’t have familial or community support. I can’t imagine being shunned by my family because of who I am or who I love. I attended the Pride events in Denver with my family a couple of times prior to the pandemic, and really enjoyed the energy and atmosphere of people celebrating exactly who they are. It broke my heart to think of how many people there didn’t have much (or any) support at home. I bought a shirt reading “Free Mom Hugs” for the next post-pandemic Pride event I attend, and plan to share a hug with each person there who needs one.” 

While support can be demonstrated in many ways, actions often speak louder than words. “We have to be intentional in listening and learning about other people’s experiences and journeys for us to understand how we can be a better ally – whether as a confidant who provides a safe space, an amplifier that ensures that all voices are heard, a sponsor who gives credit to whom the credit is due, or a champion who redirects to someone with more expertise.

“I believe one of the most important things we can do to show our support is to build our relationships based on trust, confidence, and accountability. This can be started by being open-minded in learning about the LGBTQ+ history, terminologies and challenges, without our inhibitions and preconceptions,” explained Miracle.

In closing, the panel members agreed, in addition to treating everyone with compassion and respect, allies can show support by publicizing their connections to the LGBTQ+ community as long as friends or family members don’t mind them sharing their story. Noting, allies play an important role in educating those around us; they can and should use their voice to speak out against homophobia, bigotry, and intolerance whenever they encounter those attitudes. 


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Deltek is committed to creating a company our employees, customers and all of Deltek Project Nation can be proud of. It is important that each member of Team Deltek and Deltek Project Nation is treated with respect, included and appreciated – and that every employee has the opportunity to pursue their professional interests and grow their careers.

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