At a time in which the world seems to keep serving up reminders of the hate and intolerance that still exist, it’s truly refreshing to work for a company that celebrates diversity and encourages you to come as you are each and every day. Occasionally, we have the opportunity to share this message outside the birdhouse, as was the case last week when we hosted a Queer Youth Tech Camp.
In partnership with the nonprofit, Maven, 20 students between the ages of 14 and 19 visited our Domain office on July 18 and 19 for an introduction to a career in tech. The youth participated in icebreaker games and coding exercises, as well as discussions about the tech industry’s impact on the LGBTQ community (and vice versa). However, the highlight of the event occurred on Day 2 during the “Out in Tech” panel, in which 13 HomeAway employees, who identify as queer, shared their personal experiences about how their sexuality and/or gender orientation has influenced their career.
“It was important to show these youth that being out in the workplace isn’t a scary thing and that it will not prevent you from being successful,” said HomeAway Recruiting Coordinator Layne Box, who volunteered both days, and participated in the panel.
This is the second year the Austin team has hosted the camp and the 30+ employee volunteers were excited to both have the opportunity to impact the next generation of tech leaders, and to celebrate the diversity within the HomeAway family!
"We recognize the transformative nature that a career in technology can have, and are proud to support programs that increase the participation of minorities in the industry,” said HomeAway Staff Software Engineer Matt Vestal, who coordinated our involvement in the camp.
HomeAway has long been committed to supporting the LGBTQ community. In fact, in 2015, we participated in the Texas Competes campaign, pledging our commitment to providing a workplace that was welcoming of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. That same year our brand campaign focused on celebrating whole vacations with the whole family – regardless of how you define it – and prominently featured a same-sex couple in the campaign imagery.
The team is gearing up to march in the Austin Pride Parade at the end of August.