CEO Talk: Pride Month
In our new “CEO Talk” format, we would like to chat on a regular basis in a relaxed atmosphere with our CEO at alfa Media, Michael Marcks. Here is the start of our series.
Every year in June, more and more rainbow flags appear on social media, in company logos, but also on the streets of cities and boroughs. Pride Month is celebrated to raise awareness for the LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersexual) community and issues. The attached plus sign or asterisk stands for all other orientations that are not explicitly mentioned but should not be excluded. At alfa Media, the logo was also adapted in the colours of a rainbow.
Silke: What are your thoughts on diversity and the pride month?
Michael: Diversity has always been important and a significant driver of innovation and progress. Only when different opinions or perspectives meet is one “forced”, as it were, to rethink and consider other ways than the conventional ones. This requires individual personalities who stand by their opinions and defend them. In the end, respect for diversity is simply respect for progress into the future. That includes people’ s personal lifestyles. I cannot demand diversity when it suits me well and reject it when I see … let’s say, no benefit in it.
So if we want to participate in a progressive life, we must not hide from “new” subjects or sit on a bench like grouchy critics and rant about the “crazy youngsters”. We have to be open-minded about the issues that drive younger people and that they consider important. Otherwise, we will always sit on the park bench and rant and lose touch.
Especially as an innovative software company, I think it is extremely important for us to be curious and to learn what the future holds for us. Diversity is not even a new topic, it is just being thought about differently and is now being demanded more vigorously. The measures to create awareness and educate people ensure that this topic is now more present. An important sign for the future.
At #beBeta, for example, the topic was addressed in several presentations. This not only pleased me, but also showed me that raising awareness about diversity and different lifestyles is really being received and taken up. As a positive change.
Silke: Why was changing the colour of our logo so important to you?
Michael: I want to show the outside world that we are a company that respects diversity of lifestyles and life choices, but also sets an example against discrimination. In addition, I would like to help raise awareness of the issue. That’s why we also used rainbow colours on our tshirts for the Silpion football table tournament.
Silke: How many employees at alfa Media are part of the LGBTQI+ community?
Michael: We don’t know that. And quite honestly, it’s none of our business. For our daily work, it is also irrelevant whether staff members follow a certain sexual orientation. If someone wants to reveal that they are part of the movement, then of course that’s fine. We respect people as people. Not as men, women, transgender or non-binary, but as individuals in their own right. Name changes or pronouns are formalities that can be handled by our HR department if someone wants to claim that for themselves.
Silke: It sounds like the subject has already been fully implemented.
Michael: We are certainly still making mistakes, I will openly admit that. The change is new and unfamiliar and we certainly haven’t got to the bottom of the issue yet. But I think the important thing is not to have to do everything the right way at once, but to want to do it the right way. So when mistakes happen, we are open to learning and doing it better in the future.
The main thing is to find a common path marked by progress and not stagnation.
Silke: Thank you very much for your open and direct words. We are already looking forward to our next CEO Talk.