Affinity Group Series: HomeAway Pride

Trailblazers, innovators, activists—all words that can be used to describe the employees who make up our affinity groups at HomeAway. What is an affinity group you ask? A group of people uniting for a specific goal or interest, typically an underrepresented population. This month we are highlighting each of our affinity groups at HomeAway, starting with HomeAway Pride. You'll be blown away by the impact these groups have on our company and local communities!

 HomeAway Pride at the 2017 Austin Pride Parade.

HomeAway Pride at the 2017 Austin Pride Parade.

Q: How and why was the HomeAway Pride group founded?

The HomeAway Pride group can trace its roots to the summer of 2016, the first year a group of employees self-organized to participate in Austin Pride and HomeAway sponsored our parade entry. In 2017,  we formally organized under the HomeAway Affinity Group umbrella, with the following goals:

      • Foster an environment of inclusion, safety, and understanding at HomeAway.

      • Provide an anchor in the community to advocate and educate our colleagues at HomeAway and in those in our local communities.

      • Promote diversity and recognize the value each person brings to the team.

      • Attract and retain a diverse workforce.

      • Give back to the Austin community through service projects, hosting events at our offices, and other inclusive activities.

- Cory Lowder, Senior Manager, Program Management

 Celebrating at the 2017 Austin Pride parade.

Celebrating at the 2017 Austin Pride parade.

Q: Ah, from humble beginnings to a group of over 100 members now! What were some of your wins in 2017?

As a result of hosting the Maven LGBTQ Youth Tech Camp for the third year in a row, the bathrooms on the first floor at our Domain office are now gender neutral. HomeAway also sponsored our entry in the Austin Pride Parade for the second year in a row. Lastly, we had a big turnout at the Pride parade even though it was rescheduled! We had 3X more people join our Pride Slack channel after hearing about our participation in the parade.

- Cory Lowder, Senior Manager, Program Management

 The 2017 Maven Youth Tech Camp group.

The 2017 Maven Youth Tech Camp group.

Q: Congratulations, those are some big accomplishments! What does the Homeaway Pride group have planned for 2018?

The Pride group is going to walk in the Austin Pride Parade again in August. It will be even bigger and better than last year. We’re also taking our celebration international and participating in the London Pride parade for the first time! We’re hosting the Startout Hackathon at HomeAway—one of the only LGBTQ hackathons in the country. We’ll be hosting the Maven LGBTQ Youth Tech Camp again in June; it’s a great opportunity to provide a safe and encouraging space for youth interested in STEM.

- Juliana Leon, Software Engineer

Q: Any employee can join HomeAway Pride, with that said, why is it important that allies join as well?

It's important for any group to have allies supporting it, as there is power in numbers and one shouldn't have to identify as “X” in order to appreciate the value of people who identify as “X.” Great social movements typically experience their tipping points when people in a majority recognize the positions of people in a minority and actively express their support for that minority group. So I think it's important to be vocal and active as an ally because I'm supporting my friends, family, and colleagues; there's no better way to show I care than to put myself on the front lines with them.

- Dan Driscoll, Mobile Product Manager

 James Cassidy, Senior Director, EU Sales and Supply, tabling during Culture Week at HomeAway.

James Cassidy, Senior Director, EU Sales and Supply, tabling during Culture Week at HomeAway.

Q: Do you connect with other Pride groups outside of HomeAway?

We partner with other Pride groups as often as we can. We’ve had members of our affinity group speak on panels at Facebook during their LGBT meetup. Later this year, we will be hosting a citywide meetup in Austin for other tech pride groups.

- Layne Box, Talent Acquisition Event Specialist

Q: How has this group helped you feel more comfortable working at HomeAway?

The HomeAway Pride group has helped me become a better person and more self-aware. My coworkers have accepted me since my first day at HomeAway and I want to extend that same warm welcome to others regardless of sexuality or gender. Every day I look forward to coming to work and getting updates from my friends in Pride and talking to them in our #HAPride Slack channel.

- Jeffrey Lord, Customer Service Representative

 Juliana Leon, Rustan Valino, and Layne Box tabling for HomeAway Pride.

Juliana Leon, Rustan Valino, and Layne Box tabling for HomeAway Pride.

Q: How can we learn more about what the HomeAway Pride group is doing?

Employees can visit our wiki page for more information about the group, upcoming events, and membership. Team HomeAway can also join the #hapride Slack channel. We are always looking for employees to spearhead events and we encourage people to attend our monthly planning meetings to propose new ideas. If you don’t work at HomeAway, the Life at HomeAway Facebook and Instagram are the best places to find out about upcoming community events.

- Juliana Leon, Software Engineer

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