Avery Dennison Corporate / UNITE: Avery Dennison’s LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group

Happy Pride! Introducing UNITE: Avery Dennison’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group

Introducing UNITE: Avery Dennison’s LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group

"Our ERG is committed to supporting and embracing our members to promote a safe work environment so we can retain and develop diverse talent."

UNITE is an Avery Dennison employee resource group that supports the LGBTQI+ and ally community. The group’s mission is to promote activities within Avery Dennison that raise awareness about the LGBTQI+ community, provide support and networking opportunities for members and allies, and partner with leadership to define and implement corporate diversity initiatives in an effort to make Avery Dennison a more inclusive and safe work environment for LGBTQI+ talent. UNITE currently has active chapters around the world, including  EMENA, Latin America and  Asia Pacific.

We asked Harvir Kang, project manager, digital customer experience, Avery Dennison Apparel Solutions, to share his experiences as the leader of the group's North America chapter. 

What is the importance of this employee resource group (ERG) to you?

UNITE is important to me because I want those that identify as LGBTQI+ to feel as if they can be their true and authentic selves in the workplace. In the U.S., the LGBTQI+ community continues to be marginalized by a lack of standardized protectionism. In addition, the LGBTQI+ community continues to face societal pressures and stigma that are compounded by those who identify as LGBTQI+ and are persons of color.

What key topics and activities do the members of this ERG discuss and advocate for?

Our focus as an ERG is to educate, support and provide a safe space for our LGBTQI+ colleagues and allies to network. We have created a monthly lunch and learn education series during which we invite external speakers to bring a new perspective to our organization. In addition, our small group network is a way for our members to build relationships in a safe space. 

How does this ERG help further Avery Dennison’s values of diversity and inclusion?

UNITE is committed to not only supporting our members, but ensuring that our company policies are inclusive and current. Our ERG is committed to supporting and embracing our members to promote a safe work environment so we can retain and develop diverse talent.

What is the main goal for this ERG in 2021?

For 2021, our goals are to provide additional events, networking and support for our membership base. While membership has grown steadily since our group’s founding in 2018, we also want to increase our membership by 50 percent in our North America (U.S. and Canada) chapter of the ERG so we can reach more people on an individual level. Our main goal is to focus on providing support for our members and increasing allyship.

What is a memorable success story you can share about how this ERG is making a difference in our employees personal/professional lives? 

Throughout various roles within the company, I've had the privilege to meet and work with a diverse group of people. I remember years ago, I had a co-worker stop me in a break room. This person told me that they were so enamoured by the fact that I could speak openly at work about my partner and our life together. This employee identified as LGBTQI+ but never felt comfortable to be their authentic self at work. This experience was an eye opener for me in realizing that there is still work to be done to support each other in the workplace and know that we are not alone. Since then, and now that our ERG has been active for a few years, I now have people reaching out to me to share that they have an LGBTQI+ child or that they have a family member that has recently come out to them. These moments and conversations affirm my commitment to the UNITE ERG and the value in providing support for our colleagues.

Harvir Kang

Harvir Kang
Project Manager, External Embellishments,
Retail Branding and Information Solutions

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