Traxer in the Spotlight: PRIDE Month interview with Matthew Jovaneli
Matthew is a Senior Operations Manager responsible for the Trax App implementation and data collection. When he’s not ensuring the perfect data flow, he’s busy cross stitching for his loved ones.
What is pride for you?
Pride is the ability to not be scared of being myself in everyday life. It may be a weird way to define pride, but it’s a feeling where I’m proud of who I am to a point where I don’t have to hide it. It doesn’t matter to me what others think; I don’t have that fear of rejection or isolation anymore. That’s what being proud of who I am means to me- it’s letting go of what others think and not letting that fear run my life.
How do you feel diversity is expressed at Trax?
There are definitely things that our community notices- the little hints as to how a company treats LGBTQ+ employees. For example, my husband and I were approved for adoption in November and as we were going through the process, we were asked how much time we were going to get off work. So, I went to HR and it turned out Trax didn’t have an adoption policy at the time and it’s very important for members of the LGBTQ+ community. However, HR worked with me to identify what adoption policies usually look like and helped get a policy in place for the company. Even though I was just one employee in a thousand, that experience said so much about Trax and its priorities/focus on the individual.
How do you think a company can be LGBTQ+ friendly?
When you apply to a job, there’s always this paragraph that says, “The company does not discriminate against race, origin…”, and there are some companies that leave out sexual orientation and there are others that include it. Trax includes it, which for me means that Trax is shooting for a more diverse company. When companies leave that out, those of us in the LGBTQ+ community feel that the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community is not important to them- whether that’s their intention or not. Being LGBTQ+ friendly means standing up for the rights of the community, even when not all your clients are approving of it. MLK once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Silence is complicity.
What do you think companies can do to become more LGBTQ+ friendly?
In June, companies always change their logo to a rainbow one for Pride Month. For example, BMW changed it this year for the first time. However, they only changed it in certain countries where LGBTQ+ rights are supported. As a member of the community, that says BMW doesn’t actually care about equality, it just wants us to keep buying their products. There are however some great examples – Target is always doing something for the community; Sony launched the PlayStation Pride range; and even when Starbucks was questioned by shareholders for their LGBTQ+ policies, they stood their ground which means even when they’re being challenged by their investors, they stand up for the community. Whenever we have speakers at Trax from the LGBTQ+ community, that representation means so much to me. Trax wanting to be a sponsor for the Atlanta Pride Run this year with participants wearing Trax t-shirts – that’s great. It’s a completely different story than just being a silent sponsor. Things like that makes us feel supported and appreciated.