Updated June 21, 2023
“Pride Month” is celebrated each June in the United States to remember and commemorate the Stonewall Riots that began in New York City on June 28, 1969, and launched what grew into today’s movement for LGBTQ2IA+ rights. Pride (as opposed to shame and social stigma) is promoted within the LGBTQ2IA+ community as a way to bolster equality, dignity, and visibility. As we celebrate the progress that has been made towards equality, we also recognize the hardships still facing the LGBTQ2IA+ community.
At Indigo, our Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) advocates for LGBTQ2IA+ employees and works to make sure Indigo is a workplace where everyone can be their most authentic selves. They also organize activities, some of which include happy hours, educational discussions, and even a virtual Pride parade.
We caught up with two of the ERG’s leaders, Chad Craig-Durham, manager in Financial Operations, and Samantha (Sam) Horvath, Principal Product Manager in Sustainability Sciences Product Management, to learn more about the Pride landscape at Indigo and beyond.
First, tell us about your own perspective on Pride – what does it mean to you, and why is it important in the workplace?
Chad Craig-Durham: Pride is more than just a celebration of who you are and living your authentic self. It is a consistent reminder to the world insisting that we are equal, here to stay and will never settle for anything less than to be treated as just another human, living in a world where we all get the same reality in the end.
If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community and are out, the workplace can be a very toxic and stressful environment. I’ve said many times, no one just has one coming out story. It is a constant feeling that one feels and the environments to express that in can sometimes be tough. Pride in the workplace is about showing that there is a safe space and we stand behind you. It should trailblaze a path for all future employees to know they are investing their career somewhere that values not only their skillset, but who they are at their core. And for current employees to enjoy and live in an environment where they feel safe, supported, and can just execute their role with their true selves, without the fear of being ridiculed or pushed aside for how they identify themselves.
Sam Horvath: Over the past several months, we spent a lot of time updating our mission, core focuses, and values. It was really important to write down who the Indigo Pride ERG is. It was time for us to formalize the last two years of learnings (we started in 2020) into a proper value set. Our top value is “inclusivity.” Here is some key phrasing from that value: “We do not entertain questions about what kind of person is ‘queer enough’ to ‘count,’ and we actively prioritize identities that often face gatekeeping, exclusion, and lack of understanding. … They are, and always will be, enough.” Pride (like most ERGs at Indigo) is synonymous with inclusion and being enough as you are, no matter who you are.
How is the Pride at Indigo ERG recognizing 2023 Pride Month?
Chad Craig-Durham: Each year Indigo’s Pride ERG sets out some new interests and ideas to keep the excitement going and show true support to the community and our employees. We’ve decided to make an in-person live event happen at both our Boston and Memphis offices this year. While this is our first time executing these events, we are most excited for what the future holds in terms of just how much more we can add to the events.
Sam Horvath: As Chad said, every year we try to do something new, while still keeping things that people really enjoy (like the virtual parade) – a mix of education and socializing. Indigo is more than just Boston, and so is the Pride ERG. With all that’s going on in Tennessee, we owed it to our Memphis colleagues to be there in person, so we’re having our first ever happy hour there! And we started off Pride month in “super” fashion, discussing Kevin Conroy and how the most successful Batman was shaped by his closeted gay experience. As DC noted in its forward, “Pride is a beautiful event not despite the dark times…but because of them.” We need community now more than ever this Pride.
You’re leading the Pride ERG at Indigo (and thank you for doing that). Before Indigo – did either of you participate in any broader Pride activities?
Sam Horvath: I'm taking a more active role in supporting and advocating. I've never worked at a company that was large enough to have a People team and an ERG, and so these things are all still very new to me (even after three years)! But so many of my close family and friends are members of the community that I want to support them, and I want to understand their struggles. My role is to use my straight, white privilege to amplify voices in the community. I understand that I will never understand, but I can support.
Chad Craig-Durham: Before Indigo, I had the honor of leading a North American Pride ERG with my previous company. It was the most rewarding experience I could have asked for – seeing more and more of the individuals that felt safe and supported enough to come to the events, even if they weren’t officially out – they knew they would receive the love their soul needed where they weren’t receiving it somewhere else. Along with the allies, even ones where the LGBTQ2IA+ world was new to them as they’ve never been around anyone from the community, they wanted to volunteer, learn, grow, and become an ally the community desperately needed. I intend to assist our leadership in doing the exact same for Indigo Pride. That ERG is still running full force and much stronger today and I couldn’t be happier that they continued the good fight. With also being a Drag Queen, I have had the opportunities to travel the states and headline/perform at Pride events. Seeing the love, smiles, laughter – it’s just an amazing sight to see.
What are some of the things you all are trying to achieve through your leadership of this group? Are there some milestones you're trying to hit?
Chad Craig-Durham: In order to build a foundation of trust, love, and acceptance – you first need the self-love and ally support to get there. We have that now! We have updated our mission and values, and are ready to advertise who we are, what we are, and where we want to be. My sole desire at this moment in time is to gain more of a following within the company so that they can see just how strong the Pride ERG is and our hope is that we can work together to support efforts to overcome the current bills and legislation that is attacking the rights of our community.
Sam Horvath: We are a small but mighty ERG, and with our updated mission and values, we have the strong foundation of who we are to orient ourselves, so it’s just a matter of putting our limited energy to maximum effect. I’m really thankful that Chad wanted to step in as co-lead. He brings such great energy and new ideas. We also have a lot of support from Indigo’s new Chief People Officer Erin Bakst and our ERG executive sponsors Vicki Godfrey and Stephanie Quillen. I’m excited to see where that takes us. One of the areas about which we are all passionate is equity among queer people. Our CPO Erin shares that commitment, and we look forward to collaborating on potential policy and benefits updates.
What would success look like for this ERG?
Chad Craig-Durham: Success for me would be for this ERG to show the company that we are not just for Pride-related things. We are here to help anyone and everyone just be their authentic self! Take pride in who you are because Indigo will always have your back and support you.
Sam Horvath: I think that success would be that the LGBTQ2IA+ community sees Indigo as a place where they want to go – a place where they can be who they are and are embraced for who they are. It’s not about recruitment or advertisement; it’s about having the community view of Indigo as a safe (and fun!) place to be. Pride is as much about joy as it is about advocacy. We want people to celebrate who they are, so let’s show off some Pride!
At Indigo, we believe that the future of agriculture has a role for everyone. To learn more, visit our DEI resources page.