The OPEN Spotlight: Hannah Goodfriend on the Importance of Bringing Your Authentic Self to the Workplace
Nasdaq employees take pride in making Nasdaq the leading company that it is, with respect for our diverse backgrounds and colleagues included. For our Nasdaq Pride series, we are highlighting global members from the OPEN (Out Proud Employees of Nasdaq) and learning about how they are supporting inclusion and belonging for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace year-round.
With the OPEN, Nasdaq aims to:
- Promote LGBTQ equality in the workplace
- Provide career development opportunities for LGBTQ employees
- Lead events for LGBTQ employees and allies
- Participate in efforts and volunteer on initiatives that serve the needs of the LGBTQ community
We recently spoke with OPEN member Hannah Goodfriend, Diversity Equity and Culture Senior Analyst at Nasdaq, about bringing your full and authentic self to the workplace and supporting others to do the same.
Please tell us about your role at Nasdaq and what it entails?
At Nasdaq, I serve as the Diversity Equity and Culture (DEC) Senior Analyst. In this role, I work with all of our 11 employee networks in their endeavors, including event planning, succession planning, leadership development and mentorship. As a member of the DEC Team and the People Experience team, I take a particular interest in the mental well-being of all our employees, but most specifically, our diverse employees. My team helps to provide resources and emotional support, as well as events and activities for those in historically underrepresented or undervalued communities. We also make sure our talent pipeline is full of diverse and unique individuals.
How did you find out about the OPEN? What do you hope to take away and bring to the LGBTQ+ community?
I thank my first manager at Nasdaq for introducing me to the 11 employee networks at Nasdaq. I had never heard about employee networks or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) before, and I felt so excited to be working at a company dedicated to supporting underrepresented communities. By having these networks, Nasdaq recognizes that inequities exist and that certain groups need more resources at certain times, which is really powerful and essential.
I want to continue to learn what it means to be queer at work, and how being queer empowers me to be an ally to other underrepresented communities. I also hope to continue to be inspired by the OPEN leadership – their positive attitudes, resiliency, and ability to be vulnerable, honest and open.
What is your most memorable experience while being a member of the OPEN?
My favorite experience with the OPEN was genuinely life-changing: In the spring of 2022, the Season 7 contestants of my all-time favorite show, RuPaul Drag Race Allstars, came to Nasdaq to ring the opening bell for their press tour. Not only was I able to meet my queer, gender-bending idols, but I was able to proudly stand as part of a company and a community that stood behind the LGBTQ community both internally and externally. Not every company out there would allow these eight incredible drag queens to enter their world headquarters in full drag and allow them to be their boisterous, silly selves. Nasdaq did, and since then, I now feel more comfortable being my boisterous, silly self.
How can groups outside of The OPEN network be allies to the LGBTQ+ community?
I’d like to quote Ashlee Marie Preston, a Black and transgender activist. In her TED Talk: Effective Allyship: A Transgender Take on Intersectionality, she acknowledges that “It’s in our nature to subscribe to the single-slice ideology [of] if you get yours then I can’t possibly get mine. And so, we start lining up our experiences” and comparing them, deciding who’s been wronged the most. But she corrects this inclination, saying that “we can all be allies on our own individual quests” and that “our support of one another is contingent upon acknowledging other people’s experiences.”
That is my advice to allies: Struggle and inequality are not a competition. Underrepresented communities don’t need to compare struggles or prove their struggle is the hardest; they do not need to compete for resources, a spotlight or a platform. Rather, underrepresented communities can take their opportunities, resources, struggles and support and use them to amplify the struggles of those within and outside of their community who are also fighting for equality. For example, allies in underrepresented communities can show their support to the LGBTQ community by finding the areas where their struggles intersect, including racialized queer hate crimes or the lack of medical care for trans youth in underserved communities, and collaborating across communities to solve these issues. Through collaboration, allyship and teamwork, equity is achieved faster.
What does Pride mean to you?
To me, Pride is authenticity; Pride means knowing that strength comes from being true to yourself. Pride means bringing your full and authentic self to work, regardless of who might be in the room. Pride is saying “no” when your plate is too full. It’s setting boundaries. PRIDE is telling your manager about your mental health struggles rather than suffering silently. Pride is trusting in others, trusting in the universe and trusting in yourself.
What are the challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces in the workforce, and how does The OPEN help overcome these challenges?
One of the biggest challenges that the LGBTQ+ community faces in the workplace is representation. The workplace has become increasingly safer to be “out” and queer. However, some members of the LGBTQ community, including bisexuals, lesbians, transgender people and nonbinary/gender non-conforming people, are still very much underrepresented at work. This makes it difficult for those who identify in these ways to feel comfortable expressing their gender and sexual identities at work. I hope that as more young people enter the workplace, this matter of underrepresentation will decrease, as young people embrace queer culture as no generation has previously. I also think that as the OPEN increases in size, more “closeted” people will feel comfortable coming out at work.
Do you see an intersection between Pride and technology? Are there tech trends the LGBTQ+ community gravitates to for networking and expression?
LEX! I heard about LEX at a queer crafting club I occasionally attend. Lex is a text-centered social app that connects the queer community. Unlike other apps geared more towards the straight community, LEX promotes queer values, including the idea of “texts first, selfies second.” I’m so happy to hear that gender non-conforming people and other queer people have a space where they can find safety, peace and friendship without being reduced to their physical appearance.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
Celebrating Pride and our efforts to advance diversity, inclusion and belonging in our communities.