Pride was one of Box's first employee resource groups (ERGs). Our ERG story is fairly familiar: in late 2012, we started out as a social and awareness group, focusing on building community by hosting events, holding coffee talks, and raising awareness about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. Known as LGBT Boxers at the time, we created our first mailing list and started organizing socials and talks - we even still have a video from one of the first talks! Video quality has really improved in the past 6 years...
At the time, Box didn't have any formal policies in place for ERGs, so "asking HR for approval" meant asking one person for their thoughts before moving forward with it. Funding for events came from various sources and wasn’t centralized. However, we never needed for much, which is one of the benefits of working at a socially progressive company. Shortly after our informal inception, we were supporting the Box AIDS/Lifecycle Team by organizing fundraiser happy hours and participating in the ride itself, and marching at San Francisco Pride 2013.
My, my, how we have grown since then.
Looking back, Box and Pride@Box have both grown considerably. Box now has established best practices for ERGs that help groups organize and move all of us forward towards a more diverse and inclusive culture. Pride@Box holds events for recruiting, building community, and reaching out to our customers and partners. Our leadership team consists of 11 people globally, and we have chapters in Redwood City, San Francisco, Austin, New York City, London, and Tokyo. In June, we hang the rainbow and trans pride flags in our reception areas to raise awareness of the LGBTQ issues and causes.
Last year, the Box AIDS/Lifecycle Team of raised over $145,000, and this year we're almost at $90,000. We have many allies to thank for helping us raise money to support people living with HIV/AIDS in the San Francisco and Los Angeles communities. To learn more or donate, visit the 2018 Box ALC Team page.
As a board, we have made a few observations over the past few years at Pride marches around the world: Pride marches are becoming "corporate," and communities are starting to talk about it. Many corporations have been an allies to the lesbian and gay community for a while, and more recently to the trans community. However, Pride marches are more than celebrations, they are also protests for civil rights and equal treatment -- not just under the law, but from society.
Instead of using Pride marches as platforms for showcasing Box, we are looking to elevate our LGBTQ-focused non-profit partners. Box.org, the philanthropic arm of Box, already provides non-profits with licenses and discounts on our platform. Pride@Box is looking to leverage this and other opportunities to support the community from "behind the scenes." We'll be piloting our efforts in San Francisco and look forward to sharing the results.
Happy Pride everyone!