Bringing your whole self to work isn’t an abstract concept to Chris Maulden, Employee Relations Senior Manager. It’s a way of life. From his role focused on the employee experience to his participation in GDIT’s People Representing Inclusive Diversity Everywhere (PRIDE) Employee Resource Group (ERG), Chris knows that him showing up as his full self helps others show up that way too. “I feel I can bring my whole self to work in every way. I feel very much supported by my leaders. In my role in employee relations, I have to be a champion of that and so in order to be a champion of that, I really need to be able to live it.”
Helping employees transition
Chris has the unique opportunity to impact employees across the organization and he partners with the Diversity and Inclusion team to help employees who are going through gender transitions in the workplace.
Chris shares, “We meet with those employees and talk about what they need and then connect with their managers and leaders. We have discussions around what they can do and what we can do as an organization to help support them. We found such great success not just with the individual who’s going through that in their life, but with the whole community they’re a part of in the workplace.”
Not everyone’s transition is the same so it’s a tailored support plan for each individual. Chris engages with the individual, their leaders, and the wider organization to make sure they have what they need to feel supported. “We’ve had really great feedback and have seen employees who have come out of these processes with stronger relationships, not just with their managers, but their peers as well.”
All work, with a little play
Chris also brings his humor and playful attitude to work, a remnant from his time in the entertainment industry. “I’m a creative, talkative guy and people let me be that,” says Chris.
Whether it’s through infusing manager training with a little bit of humor or by showing off his dance skills leading a Zumba class, Chris finds ways to bring all of him to GDIT. As a certified Zumba instructor, Chris was asked to teach a virtual fitness class in a joint event with the PRIDE and HOLA ERGs.
“We had people from all over the world at the class. We had a lot of our employees in Latin America join and it was tons of fun. It was very cool to have that outreach to some of the programs that we don’t have regular interaction with.”
Bringing allyship forward
As a council member for GDIT’s PRIDE ERG, Chris also spends time focusing on activities, community events, and opportunities to help educate employees and provide a safe place for LGBTQ+ team members. Over the years, Chris has seen PRIDE grow and contribute to the community in a number of ways.
The group has been involved with a local DC area LGBTQ+ organization, focused on at-risk youth. And they have also created opportunities for important dialogue within GDIT.
This past year, PRIDE hosted an education session on allyship that included participation by Amy Gilliland, GDIT’s President. The event was a facilitated discussion around what allyship means to people and what we can all do to become better allies. “Being an ally to me is about so many things. It’s about walking the talk. It’s about being courageous to speak up when you see something that isn’t right. It’s about living your truth every day and being who you are every single day.”
Chris sees allyship in action from the organization’s overall support of the ERGs to the day-to-day actions of managers. He shares, “I feel very comfortable bringing my full self to work every day and I know that feeling can’t be created just by a company message. That has to be created within a culture.”