Every year on the International Day of Pink, millions of people around the world wear pink to unite in celebrating diversity and raising awareness to stop homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, anti-LGBTQ bullying and discrimination. At BMO, Day of Pink is also a chance to listen to and learn from the experiences, perspectives and backgrounds of our employees and customers.
This year, BMO’s Day of Pink theme was “Celebrating our Allies,” recognizing the important role all of us play in disrupting bullying and barriers to acceptance. We held a variety of events focused on that theme in cities across the organization. In Toronto, for example, we hosted “Road to Allyship,” where members of the LGBTQ+ community set up stations alongside an ally of their choice. Attendees were encouraged to move from station to station, learning about the experiences of their colleagues and engaging in conversation. The event was as educational as it was moving. Colleagues exchanged stories, laughter, advice – and even some hugs.
BMO Branch Manager Michael Kirouac, who ran one of the stations along with his Regional Vice President, put it this way:
I am very grateful to work for a company that highly promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace. At a previous employer, it was something that wasn’t really discussed or acknowledged, and though there was no obvious bullying or harassment, people would gossip, and it did not promote a welcoming environment. I would constantly have my guard up, thinking about how I would refer to friends and partners when talking about my personal life to avoid being ‘outed.’
At BMO I have always felt as though I could be my true self with the support of my leaders and colleagues. I found this experience has continued throughout my career and in various roles from the CCC to Branch Manager. I always knew there was a genuine sense of acceptance from leaders including the unconditional support of my current RVP, Nardine Flaro. Acceptance is a part of our team’s culture.
As we celebrate Day of Pink, I think back to my peers and leaders who have been allies in my journey. Sometimes a small gesture of support can be greatly impactful and far-reaching in the lives of those who struggle to ‘fit in.’
The ability to show up to work as your true self knowing that you are surrounded by allies is invaluable.”
Learn more about Day of Pink at their website
Learn more about our workplace representation goals here
(April 10, 2019)