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Introducing Proudflare, Cloudflare's LGBTQIA+ Group

by Andrew Fitch.

My-Post

With Pride month now in our collective rearview mirror for 2018, I wanted to share what some of us have been up to at Cloudflare. We're so proud that, in the last 8 months, we've formed a LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG) called Proudflare. We've launched chapters and monthly activities in each of our primary locations: San Francisco, London, Singapore, and Austin. This month, we came out in force! We transformed our company's social profiles, wrapped our HQ building in rainbow window decals, highlighted several non-profits we support, and threw a heck of an inaugural Pride Celebration.

We’re a very young group — just 8 months old — but we have big plans. Check out some of our activities and future plans, follow us on social media, and consider starting an ERG at your company too.

The History of Proudflare

On my first day at Cloudflare in October, 2017, I logged into Hipchat and searched LGBTQ. Fortunately for me, there was a "LGBT at Cloudflare" chat room already created, and I started establishing connections right away. I found that there had been a couple of informal group outings, but there was no regular activity, sharing of resources, nor an official group. Proudflare was born that day, and the ball kept rolling.

San Francisco Lunch & Discussion Event

Our first official event was a Lunch & Discussion in December. We had a gathering of eleven Cloudflare employees around lunch to discuss articles about LGBTQIA+ issues in tech. We unanimously agreed to continue holding events like this and form an ERG.

Here are the first two articles we discussed:

Once we established a regular structure of events, we started introducing Proudflare to our other locations. In March, we held our first SF mixer with LGBTQIA+ ERGs from other tech companies. We decided we wanted to fully announce the group to the whole company during Pride month, so we sent out an email to the entire company introducing Proudflare and gave presentations at our All Hands meeting.

All of Cloudflare welcomed us and embraced us as their first ERG.

Our Pride month activity

Austin

Our Austin chapter held its second Lunch & Discussion event, where Cloudflare employees got together to discuss how to write more inclusive job descriptions. They also discussed ideas for a Pride celebration and announced the first Proudflare service day, where the group will take time off to volunteer at a LGBTQIA+ youth organization.

London

The London chapter held its third Lunch & Discussion event, where the group brainstormed better processes for welcoming new employees to the London office, supporting them with resources, and making Proudflare a more salient part of the office culture. They also began planning their first Pride Celebration, which will take place after London Pride this July.

Singapore

The Singapore chapter held its first event this month and was overwhelmed with support. A group of twenty-five Cloudflarians gathered to learn how they may make the Singapore office inclusive and supportive of LGBTQIA+ individuals. They discussed articles about LGBTQIA+ issues in Singapore and started planning their first external event in support of Pink Dot's PinkFest.

San Francisco

At our headquarters, where roughly half of our global employee base is located, we felt it important to really make an impact. We wrapped our SOMA offices with rainbow window decals, organized a contingent to march with Bluegrass Pride in the parade, and renamed Cloudflare to "Proudflare".

We also held a Lunch & Discussion event where we shared stories of what Pride means to each of us and hosted our inaugural Pride Celebration, where we welcomed one hundred sixty people into our space to learn about nonprofits we believe in and celebrate with us.

Here are the nonprofits we highlighted:

The Trevor Project: Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13–24.

We're honored to support the Trevor Project with Cloudflare's Project Galileo. Organizations working on behalf of the arts, human rights, civil society, or democracy, can apply for Project Galileo to get Cloudflare’s highest level of protection for free.

Rainbow Railroad: In response to the confirmed reports of abductions, detentions, enforced disappearances, torture, and deaths targeting over 200 gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, Rainbow Railroad immediately went into action to assist those in danger. Rainbow Railroad has been working closely with the Russian LGBT Network, a non-governmental organization currently leading the campaign to rescue those facing danger in Chechnya.

Project Open House: Openhouse enables San Francisco Bay Area LGBT seniors to overcome the unique challenges they face as they age by providing housing, direct services, and community programs. As a result, they have reduced isolation and empowered LGBT seniors to improve their overall health, well-being, and economic security.

What's Next?

We're a new ERG and we've come a long way in a short amount of time, but we have a lot more planned. Here are some projects we're currently working on:

  • Hosting an event in support of Pink Dot in Singapore
  • Hosting Pride Celebration events in Austin
  • Inserting a presentation about inclusion and ERGs in our new hire orientation
  • Supporting ally skills trainings for employees
  • Working with recruiting on writing inclusive job descriptions
  • Advising human resources on which benefits packages are most LGBTQIA+ friendly
  • Establishing a framework for LGBTQIA+ diversity data collection and reporting with our people team
  • Publishing all Proudflare-related resources in a Wiki for all Cloudflare employees to access easily

Call to Action

I suggest starting an employee resource group at your company. Whether it be focused on LGBTQIA+, women, people of color, parents, or other underserved populations in tech, conversations about inclusion and community-building make for a better work atmosphere. Here are some beginning resources I used.

Let's make our industry a better, more inclusive place for all.

Follow & join us

Also, follow us on social media and join us at our next events.

<3

Proudflare

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