The Drinks Association's Embrace Difference Council hosted the official launch of its Pride in Drinks Chapter, the first LGBTQIA+ Industry Resource Group for the Australian Drinks Industry.
The event, held last night at Lion's office in Sydney during Pride Month, and attended by 120 guests, centred on celebrating and promoting LGBTQIA+ inclusivity and diversity.
Pride in Drinks marks a milestone in the association's commitment to embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive industry. The evening provided networking opportunities and encouraged the establishment of Pride Stream Groups in workplaces.
The event was hosted by Pride In Drinks Workstream Leads, Alex Bailey, National Account Executive at Lion, and Tammy Heuych, National Sales Operations Manager at CUB.
Following the Acknowledgement of Country led by Linda Smith, Anewan woman and Indigenous Careers Talent Acquisition at CBA, opening remarks were made by Embrace Difference Council Chair Sandra Gibbs, who appeared via video link.
“The purpose of the Embrace Difference Council is to advance the drinks industry as an inclusive destination of choice, reflective of our society. We set up Pride in Drinks to focus on connectivity, celebrating the community, and educating and sharing best practices. And we want to represent and support the LGBTQIA+ community through an employee lens, drive awareness of experiences and create visibility and connection,” said Gibbs.
In her address to the attendees, Heuych said the reason why Pride should be a strong focus for the industry is that it's incredibly intersectional, but there needs to be more information on who the community are.
“Over 6% of the population identify as LGBTQIA+, but what is interesting in finding this statistic is that there are no hard facts. There is nothing that shows you how many of us there are in Australia,” she said.
During his presentation, Bailey spoke about the progress made by the Industry Resource Group over the past year.
He said: “We’ve been like a duck on a running stream – calm on the top and paddling furiously below. We’ve been working really hard and Pride Month is an opportunity for us to celebrate how far we’ve come, but also acknowledge how far we have to go.”
Bailey also pointed out the specific benefits that inclusion and diversity can have on a business, including increased financial performance, improved competitive advantage and attracting and retaining talent.
"A 2022 Meta Study found that diverse companies have a two-and-a-half times cash flow rate per employee. And gender-diverse executive teams outperform mono-cultural teams hand down, because you have different people with different ideas and perspectives," he said.
Heuych added that getting involved is the best way to make a tangible difference. “Encourage awareness of Pride In Drinks and LGBTQIA+ initiatives within your organisation, be an active ally, learn more about communities, champion proactive inclusion, and share your story.”
When discussing future initiatives and plans for Pride in Drinks, Bailey said: “We're currently working with our senior leaders on engagement and education and looking at the development of toolkits and scorecards.”
The Pride In Drinks launch event concluded with a fundraiser for Black Rainbow, a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA+SB social enterprise dedicated to promoting positive health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, Sistergirl, and Brotherboy individuals.
Prizes for the raffle were donated by several drinks companies, with a total of $1,300 raised on the evening for Black Rainbow.
For more information on how you can establish your own Pride Stream Group within your workplace, contact Kylie Le Lievre
Pride in Drinks is the Embrace Difference Council's first Industry Resource Group.