Proofpoint Celebrates Pride Month 2024: Week 3

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At Proofpoint, our people—and the range of their experiences, perspectives and work skills—drive our success. We embrace and foster the diversity of our team members, customers and stakeholders. Everyone is valued and appreciated for their lifestyles, thoughts and talents, all of which contribute to the growth and sustainability of our business and the strength of our communities.  

To support our diverse workforce, Proofpoint has Employee Inclusion Groups (EIGs). Our EIG communities serve as structured, employee-led organizations that are formally recognized and integrated into the fabric of our company. EIGs cultivate compelling conversations, workshops and activities. And they empower our employees to learn from one another and express their authentic selves.  

Our Pride EIG provides an environment that encourages others through shared experiences and fosters support across recruitment, career development, community outreach, professional growth and retention initiatives.  

In many countries, Pride Month is an annual and monthlong global celebration. Proofpoint stands with the LGBTQIA+ community each and every day. But we also join the world each June to recognize and celebrate the importance of inclusion and diversity at our company and in our communities.  

As part of our Pride celebration, we are excited to highlight employees who have volunteered to participate as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or as an Ally. In this blog post, we feature Denise R. Halyama, a contracts manager based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Denise R. Halyama

Denise R. Halyama, Contracts Manager 

What does Pride Month mean to you? 

As an Ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, I look forward to the month that celebrates, honors and brings awareness all year. As a mother, wife, coworker and friend, I try to live my allyship in the choices I make and interactions I have every day.    

What are some ways to be an effective Ally this month—and all year long? 
The best advice I can give is to challenge your innate reactions to any situation or conversation. Really examine your immediate thought or feeling. Where does that stem from? Old, antiquated messages from society and family and friends often come through us without our realizing it. Sometimes, it’s as simple as pausing and asking yourself some questions.    

What do you think are the most pressing issues that members of the LGBTQIA+ community face today?  
I’m learning that the most obvious issues aren’t always the most pressing to the community, and that’s where becoming part of a diversity, equity or inclusion group or an EIG comes in. The issues continue to evolve as we learn more about true acceptance and inclusion.  

What’s one unexpected thing you’ve learned or experienced as an Ally? 

By being an Ally and participating in the PRIDE EIG at Proofpoint, I’ve found so much value and personal growth by being accepted and supported as I AM.  

As a heterosexual cisgender female, I could very easily be judged or excluded for what I don’t know, for what I don’t understand, and for what I’m not even aware of in the lives of our LGBTQIA+ community. I have found a place within this group where I can ask the questions I have, where I can hear the hard truths, and be accepted as a flawed person who is trying to do better and be better.    

As an Ally, how do you celebrate Pride Month? 

First and foremost, I want my support to be visible and impactful. I have several T-shirts, sweaters and bags that have PRIDE-related colors, patterns, flags and logos as well as things for the outside of our home like garden flags and a welcome mat. I don’t limit the use of these items to Pride Month but I’m certain to wear and display them during all of June! I have a great nail technician who makes my hands a part of the celebration, too.  

I also search for LGBTQIA+-owned businesses and shop with them. And I celebrate at work by attending the events hosted by our PRIDE EIG throughout the month.   

Denise R. Halyama's pride nails

Any final thoughts? 

I am a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community through my allyship. I’m happy to be an active member of the Pride EIG. I’m also grateful to be employed by a company that cares about every potentially marginalized group of people and makes sure we can all show up as our authentic selves.  

To learn more about Proofpoint and our employee culture, follow #LifeAtProofpoint on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and X.