Help us celebrate the 15th anniversary of LGBT History Month, which is celebrated in countries around the world, and National Coming Out Day, celebrated in the U.S. on October 11, and learn about the latest initiatives to create stronger connections for our employees. Meet Wayne, one of our accessioning managers, and hear about his plans for a remote chapter of our PRIDE Network employee resource group in the New York City metro area.
How do employees who work in the field outside of a physical site connect to employee resource groups (ERGs) and benefit from our Pride community? Wayne, New York City manager of accessioning and pre-elite services, hopes to make it easier for our employees to join the PRIDE Network, an employee resource group at Labcorp, the parent company of Covance, and connect through a new remote chapter.
The idea sparked last year during WorldPride in New York. Even though Wayne and his partner Matthew live just 20 miles away, they took vacation time, booked a hotel, attended the WorldPride events and parties and watched the Pride parade to support their community.
Wayne recognized an opportunity to provide greater outreach and build awareness with the LGBTQ+ community at events like Pride, while also helping to connect employees across the many Labcorp sites around the greater NYC area.
“What we do as a company is really important,” he said. “I thought it would be great to show that not only does Labcorp support LGBTQ+ employees with the PRIDE Network employee resource group, but they also support the LGBTQ+ community with medical testing. Our PRIDE Network is even piloting sensitivity training in the New York area so Labcorp staff can better assist the transgender community with their medical needs.”
Launching a remote PRIDE group
Wayne envisioned that our first off-site PRIDE Network meeting for the greater NYC area would kick off with a Sunday brunch. The idea was to create a space for employees across the broader area to come together and make important connections that can provide both personal and professional support. But until the social distancing requirements of COVID-19 are relaxed, the plan is to hold virtual meetings during the work day.
“Any of our employees in New York City that want to hop on and join can,” said Wayne. “We also created an email address so if you don’t want everybody to know, you can email us privately. We’re here to help answer questions, share stories or even point you in a direction that maybe you didn’t know about within the company.”
Wayne can share his own stories about career development within the company. In his career, he progressed from a role starting in phlebotomy to specimen management to leadership. His work also earned a Labcorp Chairman’s Award, the highest honor that the company bestows, in 2018, and recognized him in the category of innovative thinking.
Fostering an inclusive environment
By applying his out-of-the-box thinking toward the new remote PRIDE Network chapter, Wayne hopes to help LGBTQ+ employees feel confident, progress in their careers and be comfortable as their true selves because he understands the importance of belonging.
“Growing up, I always felt out of place,” he said. “I lived in a small town of approximately 3,000 people in Oklahoma. I didn’t let anyone know that I was gay – but people still knew. I am also a burn victim after an incident in eighth grade and still have scars on my body today. When I moved, I wanted to live somewhere that I felt more accepted.”
After graduating from high school, he moved to the New York City area with certifications in phlebotomy and EMT services and has worked with LabCorp for a majority of the last 20 years.
“I appreciate that we all approach our personal lives differently, but it’s important that we are able to come to work and not feel like we must hide things about ourselves. Embracing all of our employees’ unique perspectives helps us to thrive and also provide better services to our customers.”
Wayne has been working with other PRIDE Network leaders like Amy, who helped launch a chapter of the PRIDE Network in Raritan, New Jersey this year. He hopes the NYC metro remote chapter will serve as a model to further connect employees across the globe, which will especially benefit remote employees across our diagnostics and drug development businesses.
Aligned with his desire to ensure people’s unique needs and perspectives are heard, Wayne works with Labcorp’s clients that have tailored needs and excels at providing personalized customer care. This means he has to think beyond some typical productivity goals and metrics to ensure the company is performing at its best.
“A lot of people don’t realize all of the growth opportunities within our company,” he said. “By holding these PRIDE events, I’m hoping to help talk through people’s ideas, guide them and tell them, if you want to go places in the company you can – while being free to be yourself.”