With a population of employee’s equivalent to the town of Roscommon, Intel Ireland is home to a vibrant, diverse and dynamic collection of people.
Intel is a place that is full of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends and neighbours and we are proud to share their stories – in this special edition of the series to coincide with the celebration of Pride month, we share the story of Fiona Kenny.
Fiona Kenny, 30
Compensations and Benefits Specialist
Long before lockdown made Skype job interviews the norm, all my Intel job interviews in 2018 were done over a very erratic phone line from Africa. After building my HR career, I took a couple of years off to travel and spent a few months in South East Asia and a year working in Australia. It was while I was travelling through Africa I started my interview process with Intel. It was very stressful at times, and my boss and I still laugh at how we were shouting at each other to be heard on this feeble line before we even met, so we’re well used to it in this current environment.
I got home to Ireland on a Thursday in October 2018 and was sitting at my new desk at Intel within the week. The excitement of getting to know everyone, and then the run up to Christmas meant it wasn’t until the new year and the depths of winter that I really felt the shock of being back. It was just when I was feeling a bit flat, that I had a conversation with a colleague who mentioned she was organising Intel’s participation in Pride. It has long been one of my favourite days of the year and so when she asked if I’d like to get involved, I jumped at the chance. I’ve always been an LBGTQ+ ally and a lot of my friends would identify in that space, so being involved at work is just an extension of my outside groups of friends.
We put a lot of work into Intel’s participation for the main Pride parade, but it was nerve-wracking on the day, wondering if anyone would show up. As it happens, we actually ran out of T-shirts and face paint because while it was the third or fourth year Intel had participated, it was by far the biggest effort, with over 70 people representing the company on the day. We got to walk and participate in the main parade and it was an incredible experience. We had developed our own merchandise, highlighting our Intel Pride Inside message and walked behind a large banner. It was amazing, with the crowds cheering and clapping and it felt a privilege to be involved of such an important part of Irish life. I spent the day just grinning from ear to ear on how well all our hard work had panned out.
While organising our participation in the Pride parade was great fun, there is enormously important work going on throughout the year within Intel to ensure that we are creating an environment that feels comfortable for everyone, and a place where people can express who they are in a supportive space. As an organisation of thousands of people, and only about 500 women, it can naturally feel like quite a masculine environment, and it is crucial that everyone feels they can being their full authentic selves to work.
Last year, we set up the first iGlobe – Intel Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender Employees – resource group outside of the U.S., to provide a network and visibility for people to see that everyone is welcome. Working in HR, I know how important it is for a company to support our employee’s belief that they can celebrate themselves, and bring their true authentic self to the workplace. It can’t always feel that easy for some people. But when you see an avenue where there are like-minded groups available to network and socialise with, especially if you might feel a bit different to everyone else on your team, it makes you feel more welcome.
I know this is showing up more and more on Intel’s global agenda, but is also a very important part of my own life philosophy and so I’ve really enjoyed being a part of establishing the iGlobe group and creating opportunities for everyone to engage. The U.S. have so many different Employee Resource Groups for any kind of topic, group or outlook. As you can take from the name they are completely employee led so if they are any employees out there in Ireland that would like to consider creating their own group for whatever topic I would always encourage them to do so. There are loads of aides and information on there to help you get you started.
For obvious reasons, we have had to postpone our 2020 Pride parade, but there is still a lot going on for Pride month this June at Intel, both onsite and virtual. We’re hosting a Diversity and Inclusion seminar, which is open to all sites as part our wellness programme. We’re also organising meet ups, including one of our iGlobe quarterly coffee mornings.
The events of the last couple of weeks following the death of George Floyd have shown just how important it is to create visibility and opportunity to express and share experiences. Our CEO Bob Swan came out with a strong message that we need to band together for Black Lives matter and that the organisation won’t stand for any type of discrimination or limiting of anyone’s potential in work and the community. In fact, the U.S. iGlobe also emailed our group to support Black Lives Matter and remind us how important it is to stand for change. It affects everyone. Two of the main people of the Stonewall riots who founded Pride were black and browns, and so it’s important to remember we are all connected.
Being involved in iGlobe has really been a huge part of my Intel experience. It opens up your personal network into different groups outside of immediate work colleagues, and you get to meet leaders you may not have met otherwise. It’s fun and makes the workplace a more rounded experience. People come in and out as they please and everyone is welcome. It’s a place to let off steam, or socialise and be as involved and uninvolved as they want. It’s also a great space for younger members to show leadership skills too. I think for me, the benefits are really felt when you have a colleague reach out to you and thank you for your efforts in setting up this community, expressing how it makes them feel more supported and belonging at Intel. That’s what its all about isn’t it?
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