The OPEN Spotlight: Richard Taylor on Actively Learning and Supporting One Another to Build Strong Social Bonds
As Nasdaq continuously strives to advance inclusive growth and prosperity, we spotlight Out Proud Employees of Nasdaq (The OPEN), an employee resource group (ERG) that represents the LGBTQ+ employees, their families and allies. We spoke with Richard Taylor, VP of Employee Experience at Nasdaq, about joining The OPEN and his goals for the network.
What is your role at Nasdaq, and please describe what an average day looks like for you?
I look after many of the aspects of working at Nasdaq that make it a positive experience. This includes typical “HR” things like training, career development, and diversity and inclusion, but also broader cultural aspects like a sense of empowerment, an innovative mindset and whether it’s easy or bureaucratic to get things done at the company.
When and why did you decide to join your employee network group?
I knew I wanted to join The OPEN as soon as I joined Nasdaq. As an out gay man, I wanted to connect with others like me and also support Nasdaq’s efforts to build a welcoming community for LGBTQ+ employees and allies.
Please tell us about a memorable experience you had at your employee network group.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been so difficult in so many ways, including creating a sense of isolation and loneliness for many people. To help counter this, The OPEN put on a Disco Dance Party (via Zoom) and invited the whole company to join. Many folks came alone, and many joined with their spouses or partners, their kids and their pets. Some even dressed up in wild outfits and put on strobe lights at home. It was such a wholesome moment to take an hour off work and just dance together. For me, it really deepened my sense of Nasdaq as a community and that “we’re all in this together.”
As a member of your employee network group, what is one thing you would like to tell others?
Each member of the LGBTQ+ community has their own personal journey in deciding if, when, and how to come out and share that part of their identify. Some people are not ready yet to share their "secret," but I want them to know that Nasdaq is truly welcoming and safe. I want to especially acknowledge and thank the tremendous number of straight allies at Nasdaq that go out of their way to include and support their LGBTQ+ colleagues -- I’m truly grateful.
Why is discussing and advocating for diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace important?
I think it’s really important for everyone – including members of the LGBTQ+ community – to know that we aren’t alone and to be made to feel welcome and wanted. People perform at their best when they feel they can bring their "whole selves" to work, and this is important for both personal well-being, as well as driving company performance.
What would you like to achieve at your employee network group?
Like other Employee Networks at Nasdaq, The OPEN has developed a multi-year strategy around bringing in more diversity through our recruiting, creating an awesome environment for our employees, and engaging in our local external communities. In addition, my personal vision is to help create a society where sexual orientation is treated similarly to one’s eye color, first language or number of siblings -- interesting parts of our identity, and also not a big deal.
Has your employee network group collaborated with another group at Nasdaq? Can you elaborate on that experience and what you learned from it?
The OPEN regularly seeks to collaborate with our other Employee Networks, and vice versa – Nasdaq is a highly collaborative environment. Recently, The OPEN published an edition of our internal newsletter (humorously titled The Agenda, get it?) around the same time as Black History Month and Women’s History Month. So, The OPEN team took the opportunity to showcase important Black and female leaders who were also LGBTQ+, sharing photos and stories about their lives and their impact. We are all better off when we actively learn from each other and support each other. The company is better off too when we build these strong social bonds.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.