Barracking for the rainbow: Not an exclusive club

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NAB0781_Icon_v1_400px (2)For 16 years, I’ve endured the questions. Why don’t you? If you don’t, how do you fit in? What do you talk about with people at work, especially in winter?

Yes it’s true, for as long as I’ve lived in Melbourne I haven’t followed an AFL club.

I will, however, be watching the St Kilda and Sydney game tomorrow night, and I’ll tell you why. This is more than a game of footy.

I have recently been appointed national Chair of the Pride@NAB Committee. A committee dedicated to the inclusion of our LBGTI people, and helping everyone realise their potential in the workplace.

I believe that the one thing we all have in common is our difference.

If we stifle people’s differences we deprive our culture and our organisation of the ability to relate to our customers.

Where norms prevail to the point of exclusion, be it on the basis of sexuality, gender or race, they prevent people from bringing their authentic selves to work, or – in the case of the Pride Match – to the game. This makes maintaining the ‘norm’ the most important objective, more important than meeting customer needs or playing the game.

At our core, as humans, we want to feel part of something significant, that we are all trying to achieve the same outcome. Wouldn’t it be good if we could all bring our best authentic selves to the challenge? Why would we want to make this difficult?

Inclusion is about more than winning, and more than money, it’s about celebrating people.

This is why I love working somewhere that values difference and inclusion – both in its people and its customers.

As our CEO Andrew Thornburn says, “The NAB Pride match has been created because at NAB, we don’t just sponsor the game. We want to use football’s reach to demonstrate our support for our people and our customers in the communities we serve, regardless of their gender diversity or sexual orientation.”

And that’s why I’ll be watching the Pride Game tomorrow night. I like that the norms of old are changing and I’ll be included as a passionate ally alongside my LGBTI friends and colleagues. And I’ll be barracking for the rainbow.

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