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LGBTQIA+ leaders – Stefania Chaplin from GitLab

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LGBTQIA+ leaders – Stefania Chaplin from GitLab

This year we are highlighting LGBTQIA+ global leaders. This week meet the fabulous Stefania Chaplin, solutions architect from GitLab.

"Over the last five years spoken at over 100 events globally and virtually including DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES), RSA Conference, OWASP 20th Anniversary, Women of Silicon Roundaboout and many meetups including Women in DevOps.

I worked a variety of careers in my 20s, makeup artist, pole fitness teacher, sales, recruitment, HR, python developer and finally a cybersecurity solutions architect - I give careers talks to teenagers about how it's okay to change your mind! Founded Women at Sonatype, improved diversity from 4% to 11% in two years and helped to shape global recruitment strategy."

When asking Stefania what Pride meant to her, her response was:

"Pride is an opportunity to be my true self! Pride is an opportunity to be proud of who I am without feelings of fear or judgment. There’s a lot of history in pride, sometimes people get caught up in rainbow logos and think pride is just an excuse to party and forget about the protests/riots of the past and how being gay used to be illegal until fairly recently."

What makes you feel empowered in the workplace?

"Autonomy! GitLab is great, we are all remote and have a 'manager of one' policy which means I am in control of my workload. Also, transparent communication, collaborating on projects and generally feeling in control."

How can colleagues be allies in the workplace?

"Listen, really listen, and speak up when you see or hear injustice! Also checking in on colleagues and seeing if they're okay. A great recommendation I saw on social media recently 'do you want comfort, a solution or a distraction. I think one way to be an ally in the workplace is to understand and respect that people will have different struggles or problems than you that may be hard for you to understand, but that doesn't make them less important or false. This of course is relevant for more than just LGBTQIA+. For example, I would say most allies do not generally have to be concerned about whether they can pee in peace."

What can businesses do to empower the LGBTQIA+ community?

"Create a safe space for your team members, allow autonomy for members of LGBTQIA+ groups to communicate, don’t force it but definitely support it. Does your company offer employees the ability to volunteer time to their local community? Does your company support charities? Trevor Project is a great place to start. If you have team meetings/offsites are they safe for LGBTQIA? For example bathrooms, and changing rooms, are appropriate options available for all employees?"

Who is your role model, and why?

  • "Lara Croft / Tomb Raider! (The 1997 PS1 one #OG). She is a woman in a man's world who uses her strength and problem-solving abilities to achieve her goals and get what she wants!

  • Elle Woods from Legally Blonde! She taught me I could be pink and professional and it inspired me to go into Computer Science and stay my true self even in the face of adversity."

Advice to your younger self

"Don’t be afraid that you are the only woman in the room. Use your superpowers! Everyone is different and brings a different set of skills.".