Human Resources

‘Pill Hill’ members give voice and visibility to LGBTQ+ community

Health Industry Hub | February 24, 2023 |

Human Resources: Connect Macquarie Park Innovation District members, including Sanofi, attended a networking event on Thursday 23 Feb, in celebration of Sydney World Pride and the 45th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Attendees heard about Macquarie Park or better known to many as “Pill Hill” organisations’ commitment to diversity and inclusion, including programs and activations hosted by different members in honour of World Pride.

The Hon. Jerome Laxale MP, Federal Member for Bennelong, welcomed attendees by sharing his government’s commitment to equality – promising that the Prime Minister would be the first sitting PM to march in Mardi Gras this weekend.

Michelle Zimany, Director of People & Culture at Sanofi shared how Sanofi values inclusivity, including details about their first-in-industry Gender Affirmation Policy.

“We’re building a wonderfully inclusive culture with our people at Sanofi, and it is with the support of employee resource groups like Pride+ who keep connected with the community and challenge our status quo. Our Gender Affirmation Policy is one example of our efforts to remove any barrier preventing people from being their best selves at work. While we’re very proud of the progress we’ve made so far, we never settle. We strive to be diverse, equitable and inclusive and to help shape a community with equality and respect for all,” Ms Zimany said.

The most recent Australian Workplace Equality Survey of 45,000 employees found 85% of people supported the work their organisation does for LGBTQ+ inclusion. Nearly 60% of respondents said a business’s track record in this aspect of inclusion would positively influence their decision to join the organisation.

When considering the state of LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion in the pharma industry, the survey participants from the industry painted a more positive picture compared to the national results.

Guest of honour at the Connect Macquarie Park Innovation District event was Ken Davis, a “78er” – a participant in Sydney’s original Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 45 years ago. Mr Davis shared moving testimony on what the first Mardi Gras was like, the conditions for gay and lesbian people in Macquarie Park at that time, and how Union-led support for a gay student led to a “Pink Ban”, or construction work strike, on the Macquarie University campus as early as 1973.

Event hosts Optus shared how they’re putting their LGBTQIA+ employees at the centre of their partnership with World Pride, while Associate Professor Michelle Power, Co-Chair of Macquarie University’s Ally Network gave an overview of how they’re building an inclusive and welcoming campus – from employee policies to rainbow walkways.

General Manager at Connect Macquarie Park Innovation District, Mark Ames, commended Macquarie Park’s ongoing commitment to progress.

He said “Macquarie Park is packed with highly educated, connected and diverse talent – including LGBTQIA+ members of our community. Connect MPID aims to bring our community together; to build networks, to learn from each other, and to act as a united voice. Our innovation district is celebrating Sydney World Pride with this forum, rainbow walks, history talks, film screenings and more because Macquarie Park is a place where everyone can thrive.”

The event included a proactive discussion about areas where more work can be done to improve equity, with a mutual willingness to continue having open conversations in pursuit of a future that’s better, brighter and more inclusive for everyone.

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