Avery Dennison Corporate / Pride 2023: Meet UNITE LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group Ally, Will Sandman

PRIDE 2023: Meet Members of UNITE, our LGBTQI+ employee resource group

Pride 2023: Meet UNITE LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group Ally, Will Sandman

"There are so many ways to enjoy PRIDE, so as long as there is a feeling of love and support, you can do anything."

At Avery Dennison, our business success revolves around innovation, sustainability and growth. Central to all three are diversity, equity and inclusion. We’ve experienced the value a depth of perspectives brings to our culture, our business, our customers, and our communities. One way we experience diversity is through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) which bring together employees with shared interests for community and support. We are proud to have more than 24 ERGs worldwide. UNITE is Avery Dennison’s LGBTQI+ resource group. With chapters in global regions, UNITE focuses on supporting the LGBTQI+ community and its allies. For PRIDE 2023, let's meet Avery Dennison employee and UNITE ERG ally, Will Sandman.

Will Sandman, Business Development Manager and UNITE ERG Ally, APAC

How do you celebrate PRIDE and what does it mean to you?

I think the way that we celebrate PRIDE now is very different from the way we used to celebrate PRIDE and I think it depends on where you live and what part of your life you are in. Currently we would probably spend some time with our friends in the LGTBQ+ community and just enjoy hanging out.  In the past, in the US, we would have gone to a parade and made a full-day celebration. There are so many ways to enjoy it, so as long as there is a feeling of love and support, you can do anything.

At Avery Dennison, we have an employee resource group, UNITE, ERG for LGBTQI+ colleagues and allies in each region we operate in. How did you come to join UNITE as an ally? How has being part of UNITE supported you inside and outside of the workplace?

During Covid, our leadership had a very encouraging message to get involved in ERGs.  I thought the UNITE ERG in Asia would allow me to branch out, stay connected, and help a community where I have a great deal of friends.  

Inside the workplace, I have made some new friends and I have been able to support the group with some products and some hosting responsibilities.  In addition, I have been able to be a voice to promote a discussion that people might have trouble talking about due to societal pressures.  

Outside of the workplace I think that I hold a bit of higher credibility with people when I explain my involvement.  The people that I care about as mentors, friends, and leaders respect that Avery Dennison allows for this type of platform and it helps me to build closer and more genuine relationships.

How have DE&I initiatives within your region, improved your experience working at Avery Dennison?

The DE&I initiatives have helped me because they have made me feel more welcome.  Being an ex-pat in Vietnam and Hong Kong has been a very easy transition.  

My colleagues here in Vietnam have made me feel welcome in so many ways.  I had a birthday recently (we won't talk about what year), and it was so nice for many of my colleagues to come and celebrate.  The Vietnam team is so friendly and nice and they include me in dinners, birthdays, coffees, happy hours, as well as simple things, like just inviting me to have lunch in the cantine.  I know it seems small, but these things make a difference.

I felt the same way in Hong Kong.  The team asked me to play basketball on a regular basis.  Just this small gesture made me literally feel like part of a team and it allowed us to have some new ways of communication while trying to get in better physical shape.  There were numerous times we met them for food.  Hong Kong has an amazing hot pot.  We built some great friendships in a very diverse office and I felt very included.

And yes, maybe this would have happened anyway, but the attitude of the company to embrace DE&I makes it more likely that these kinds of things will happen and it gives us the license to accept this kind of behaviour.  I think we are very lucky that our company wants and expresses that EVERYONE should be included.

Be part of a team that values diversity of thought, culture and ways of working. 
Apply to roles at Avery Dennison, APAC.

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