Team Deltek's Jens Balbaligo: Proud To Be Part of an All-Inclusive Workplace
In this month’s #TeamDeltek spotlight, we had the opportunity to chat with Jens Balbaligo about how Deltek’s winning workplace culture supports her long-term goals, passion for educating others, and commitment to giving back to her community.
When Jens Balbaligo joined Deltek three years ago, she was looking for a company where she could grow her career and be her authentic self. Thanks to her long-time friend and Deltek colleague – she was able to find that in Deltek and so much more.
Finding an Inclusive Culture
For a transgender woman living in the Philippines, it’s hard to break the career stereotypes that others place on you. “I’ve often been labeled as a hairdresser or retail associate because of the way that I look. I dress and identify as female and care very much about my outward appearance. And while these professions are respected, it is important to me that future generations know that we are not limited − that transgender women have opportunities in the corporate world as well,” shared Jens.
Prior to Deltek, Jens had spent ten years working in the airline industry, most recently as a customer service supervisor, when she decided to leave her position. As someone with a college degree and more than a decade of work experience, the thought of going through the interview process and subjecting herself to potential criticism − was not something she was looking forward to.
Fortunately, Jens’ college friend Jaja who is also a transgender employee, recruited her to Deltek. She helped Jens navigate the interview process while assuring her that Deltek's workplace culture was one where she would feel safe and at home. “When I accepted my role as Associate Research Analyst on Deltek’s Information Solutions team in Makati, I had a clear understanding of the culture that existed and knew I wanted to be a part of it!” said Jens.
And while it’s no secret that workplace culture can be complex, sometimes it’s the little details that make all the difference. “After being hired, I remembered being so excited to use Miss in my title and she as my pronoun! It was something new to me and something I now had the right to use, which I never experienced with my previous employers,” Jens exclaimed.
“From day one, my manager and team welcomed me for who I am and my ability to get the job done,” she shared. “Throughout my time here, I’ve seen so many positive examples of how supportive Deltek is of its employees – including all members of our LGBTQ+ community – and that is something I will be forever grateful for.”
Trans-forming Our Workplace
Deltek takes pride in creating a values-driven environment where employees are accepted, included and empowered to innovate and grow. It’s important that every employee feels respected, appreciated and given opportunities to pursue their professional interests and grow their careers.
“One of the things I’ve learned about working at Deltek is that you should never be afraid to be yourself or share your ideas. No matter who you are or what you do, your thoughts and ideas are valued here,” Jens explained.
Earlier this year, after attending an Empowerment session hosted by the Women@Deltek group, Jens reached out to Deltek’s leader of Diversity & Inclusion, suggesting a session on transgender employees in the workplace. She believed that by sharing her experiences she could help educate her #TeamDeltek colleagues and allow them to have an open dialogue and to ask questions.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my idea would turn into a two-part panel discussion with members of our LGBTQ+ community and more than 500 employees in attendance! I was so humbled that Deltek’s leadership not only considered my topic but also asked me to participate in the discussion and provided a platform to share my story,” said Jens.
Misconceptions about transgender and gender-nonconforming people continue to drive political and social agendas in the UK, the Philippines, and around the world. This is why it’s important to discuss these issues openly so that we can all better understand and support the LGBTQ+ community. “I want to help change these misconceptions, serve as a positive influence and create greater visibility for transgender individuals in the corporate world,” she added.
Being Respected and Accepted
For many members of the LGBTQ+ community, acceptance is still a challenge. Despite great strides made in the past decade in the fight for equality − discrimination and many legal issues still remain. Regardless if individuals choose to identify as male, female, transgender, gender-neutral, non-binary, or a combination of these, Deltek is committed to providing a workplace environment where all employees will be respected for their individuality and accepted for who they are.
“My manager once told me about a conversation she had with a very conservative coworker who asked, ‘Why is a transgender woman allowed to use the Women’s bathroom?’” Jens recalled. “She went on to explain to this coworker, ‘There's nothing wrong with a trans woman using that bathroom because that's her gender identity − she can choose whatever identity she feels right – and therefore she can pick whatever bathroom she wants to go in!’ I was so very proud to learn about how she handled the situation and the support she provided.”
Having the support and allyship of leaders and coworkers is important to all employees at Deltek. And while allyship can come in all different forms, Jens states, “It’s important to educate individuals on the different challenges our colleagues may be facing, so that we can be supportive, speak up and have an open mind.”
Making a Difference
In addition to her role as an Associate Research Analyst, Jens is part of a Deltek group that coordinates outreach and philanthropy efforts, and is a valued member of the Pride@Deltek employee resource group (ERG). Each June, the Pride ERG coordinates a month-long celebration in honor of our LGTBTQ+ community. “Throughout the years, I’ve taken an active role in our Makati Pride celebration by hosting several different employee events. And although we are celebrating virtually again this year, I am still very excited to see all the creative ways #TeamDeltek will be participating,” Jens added.
But Jens’ support and commitment to helping others extends beyond Deltek. When asked about what she is passionate about in her local community, Jens shared, she “loves helping other people, donating food to those in need as well as serving and protecting our environment." Jens recently used her volunteer time off (VTO) at a Community Pantry in the Philippines, where she packed and manned supplies, marshaled lines, and distributed ready-to-eat meals.
Encouraging employees to intentionally separate their personal time from their professional time has become increasingly important during the pandemic. To help support this work-life balance effort, Deltek introduced Project Nation Days, where employees around the globe have the option to work a half-day every other Friday.
"Not only does this benefit help offset the many hours #TeamDeltek puts in while working remotely, it allows me to dedicate more of my time to causes that I care about outside of work," she shared.
In closing, when asked what she likes most about Deltek, Jens replied, "I am beyond grateful to be part of an amazing company where diversity and inclusion are a priority and where my coworkers are like family. I am Happy@Deltek and hope it's the last company that I'll ever join!"
Supporting Diversity & Inclusion
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