Learning from Pride @ QIAGEN's successful launch

We spoke with Mattias Finnström, a leader of Pride@QIAGEN, about how he and his team leveraged Mindr Connect to plan a successful event for the launch of their employee community.

From the perspective of an employee community leader

Employee communities require the time and behind-the-scenes work of dedicated leaders in order to be successful. To learn some tips, we spoke with Mattias Finnström (he/him), Digital Business Manager and a leader of Pride@QIAGEN, about how the team leveraged Mindr Connect to plan a successful event for the launch of their employee community.

What inspired you to become a leader of the Pride@QIAGEN employee community?
I wanted to do what I could to help the initiative be a success. As a gay man who has experienced prejudice and hate simply because of who I am, I wanted to help provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ QIAGENers to come together to support each other and learn from each other’s experiences. I also wanted it to be a space where allies can show their support for colleagues within the LGBTQ+ community, and somewhere people could come for information, and to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. I also know there is a lot for me to learn, as I only identify with one of the letters.

What were your hopes for the Pride@QIAGEN launch event?
As community leaders, our plan was to introduce ourselves and give some ideas on what we were hoping to achieve with the community overall. We wanted the event to be informal and intimate so that others would feel comfortable to introduce themselves and share part of their story. Lastly, we really wanted feedback from the wider community so that we could make sure we are going in the right direction.

How did you leverage Mindr Connect in planning and executing the event?
Using Mindr Connect to create the event was easy, and the benefit of using the platform is that once you have created a draft event, all the leaders can view and edit the content until we are all happy. We also made sure to review the [pre-submitted] questions section before the meeting to ensure we answered as many questions as possible from the community. We also used the platform to email our members with a reminder before the event, just in case someone had missed the invitation.

What worked well? What did you learn?
My main concern before the event was that people might be expecting something very polished and professional; something like a TED talk, where they would just sit and listen. This isn’t what we wanted it to be. We wanted it to feel informal to encourage people to come forward and talk, and, honestly, I was blown away by the engagement and the amount of people who joined in the conversation. My biggest takeaway from this was that a lot of people just want to connect, and so for future events, we will mostly keep it intimate and informal but will make sure to include some external speakers at times as well, as some of the other communities have done this very successfully.

How was the event received? What kind of feedback did you hear from attendees?
The feedback was very positive both during the call and in the post-event survey, but also in emails and messages we received afterward. We actually found another few QIAGENers who were interested in being part of the community leadership team! There is also a lot of interest in how QIAGEN as an employer is showing support for the LGBTQ+ community, and what we can do to create an even more inclusive workplace. Both of these topics were top of the list for the leadership team as well. It’s nice to see that we were already on the right track.

What are you most looking forward to as you continue leading Pride@QIAGEN?
I really look forward to seeing how the community will grow and change over time, how QIAGENers will get involved with local and global events, and how we will be able to all support each other as a community. I’m also excited to see where all the other communities go, and how the initiative itself evolves, and I really hope we will see other communities being created in the future. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with the other communities to highlight how intersectionality can play an important role in creating unique experiences and barriers for people. I can already imagine some of the great conversations which could be had between the different communities.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about the experience so far?
Personally, I have had a great time being involved with this. It’s been hard work at times to try to pull everything together on top of regular work, but I feel that it’s 100% worth the effort. Having a larger leadership team is definitely useful if you can encourage everyone to get involved and share the work and responsibilities, that way there is less pressure on individuals. I would also recommend joining all the communities, as I have learned a lot from each of them. You don’t need to identify as part of a community to join, as allies and supporters are welcome in all communities. In all honesty, I think I will probably learn the most from the communities I identify the least with.

Find more resources on building belonging at work here, and check out the first enterprise SaaS ecosystem for building belonging at work, Mindr Connect.