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Global Inclusion & Diversity

BMS Colleagues with LGBTQ+ Loved Ones Find Support in FLOAT program

June 10, 2022
CultureInclusion & Diversity
Careers Home  /  Career Stories  /  BMS Colleagues with LGBTQ+ Loved Ones Find Support in FLOAT program

At BMS, we’re proud to have a culture that empowers LGBTQ+ inclusion, awareness and engagement—and we rely on our PRIDE Alliance People and Business Resource Group (PBRG) to inspire and grow that culture. To further our commitment in this community, employees came together in 2019 to launch Family and Loved Ones Advisory Team (FLOAT), a sub-team of PRIDE Alliance.

As allies of PRIDE Alliance, FLOAT members make it their mission to offer support and resources to colleagues who have family or loved ones in the LGBTQ+ community. Together, they foster a sense of belonging for all BMS colleagues so that everyone can bring their authentic selves to work while helping transform patients’ lives.

Transformation starts at home

Transformation starts at home

When one of her children came out as gay in 2016, Danielle Robert, from the Europe Capability Centre in the UK, helped found the local PRIDE Alliance chapter and became active in allyship work. Three years later, when another one of her children came out as trans, she found herself wishing there were a way she could connect with other parents who’d had the same experience. “I started talking to the people I was working with—especially within the PRIDE Alliance PBRG. I said, ‘You know, we really need something for parents, friends and loved ones’ [of LGBTQ+ people].”

Shortly after, Danielle’s colleague in the U.S., Terrye Delmonte, mentioned to her that she worked alongside a colleague with a transgender son. Danielle remembers feeling an immediate sense of kinship and when she reached out to him, she found they had similar ideas. “He wanted to be an advocate, just like me,” she recalls. “We all agreed, there was a need, and it was time to do something about it.”

From there, FLOAT was born and has grown to nearly 60 members across 10 BMS locations, under Terrye’s leadership. Aside from providing support, FLOAT offers resources and tools that have a meaningful impact throughout the company, like the Safe Zone Training program, an ally-training workshop.

“Many parents have heard about FLOAT and raised their hands because they’re in the same position, and they’re not alone anymore,” said Paul Shay, the global lead of PRIDE Alliance. “It’s been a fantastic outcome for them from a support standpoint, and it's been a fantastic outcome for PRIDE Alliance as well. There are a lot of parents who've gotten involved and used it as the catalyst to get more involved and support our efforts across the board.”

Above all, Danielle sees FLOAT as a place where parents, loved ones and allies can share common experiences and learn from one another. When her children came out, she recalled feeling anxious that she might say the wrong thing and “that can have an impact on the support you give your loved ones,” she said. Now she’s hoping she can help other parents give their children the care and support they deserve, as quickly as possible. “Children don't have time to wait for you,” she emphasized. “It's a life journey. I'm learning every day, and the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know enough.”

You’ll find this is a common trait among BMS employees—staying curious to constantly learn and grow. And with PBRGs and sub-teams like FLOAT, our global workforce have endless opportunities to transform lives through leadership, allyship and kinship.

“It’s what humans do best,” Danielle added. “We share information so that we can grow together.”

At BMS, you’ll be on the cutting edge of powerful innovation with colleagues united in a mission to help patients. Our team is growing and looking for likeminded, high-achieving and collaborative thinkers. If you’re searching for a career where you’ll feel a true sense of belonging and purpose, browse BMS’s open roles today.

Safe Zone Training Program

Safe Zone Trainings give allies the opportunity to learn about LGBTQ+ identities, gender and sexuality, and to examine their own privilege. Although many allies earnestly want to be supportive and welcoming, they may not be well versed in the appropriate language and terminologies for discussing LGBTQ+ topics, or they may have blind spots. In the 90-minute small-group Safe Zone workshop, they can deepen their understanding of these subjects and learn how to be truly inclusive and affirming of all genders and sexual orientations. Once they’ve completed the program, employees get a Safe Zone Trained sticker to display and signal that they’re an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Since the program launched in 2020, it’s been attended by nearly 500 employees in nine countries, with Safe Zone materials being translated into four different languages.