“Being Different is Perfectly Fine”: Q&A with TIBCO’s Olivier Lebret

Q&A with TIBCO’s Olivier Lebret
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To continue TIBCO’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative, we are spotlighting employees who are members of our various Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), asking them what diversity means to them, how it’s exhibited at TIBCO, and why they participate in an ERG. 

TIBCO: Tell us about yourself

Olivier Lebret: My name is Olivier Lebret and I have been at TIBCO for three years working as a Sales Engineer based in Paris, France. While all ERGs matter to me, I’ve decided to participate in the Pride ERG. I would love to participate in another ERG around sustainability, environment, biodiversity if one existed because humanity without nature is nothing.

TIBCO: What does diversity mean to you?

OL: We all are different, and this is what makes us stronger together.  Imagine a management meeting where all participants around the table are white males, in their 40s, heterosexual, Christians, with no handicaps, etc. Do you think these people would consider people that are different from them as equals? Do you think this group will come up with better ideas than a diverse group with regards to age, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, religion, etc.? The only criteria that should be taken into account in a company is to recognize people for their performance, talent, effort, and achievement. That is the definition of meritocracy, where everyone is given an equal chance of success.

When you can be yourself in the workplace and bring your whole self to work without discrimination, I believe you are more efficient in your work because you feel that your career only depends on your efforts and results—nothing else!  Click To Tweet

TIBCO: How do you think TIBCO embraces and embodies diversity?

OL: When I first joined TIBCO in 2017 as part of an acquisition, I inquired about ERGs because I wanted to join a Pride-like group. I was surprised that only WIT (Women in Technology) existed (with limited visibility and actions from my perspective).  When I shared the idea to launch a Pride ERG inside TIBCO with my manager, my colleagues, and HR, I received very positive feedback and support from everyone.  It was like inclusion and diversity were in TIBCO’s DNA for a long time but it was never talked about out loud and was not promoted as a core value of our company! 

TIBCO: Why have you stepped forward to either spearhead or participate in an ERG?

OL: When I was younger, being gay was considered by some people as a mental disorder or a disease.  I’ve heard many inappropriate jokes and comments at school and later in my first jobs that hurt me. It took me some time to get comfortable with myself, accepting who I was even if this was not a “standard” for most people.  When I came out to my friends and family at the age of 26, I was relieved that I no longer felt obligated to pretend that I was single just to avoid saying “us” instead of “me”.  I don’t want younger people to go through this—lie to themselves and their friends and family just to hide the fact that they are different.  Being different is perfectly fine, and when you look a bit closer, everyone is actually different!

TIBCO: What do you think organizations can do to increase awareness of diversity initiatives and any ERG groups?

OL: Organizations can identify local organizations and associations that support the same matters, meet with other companies, and discuss initiatives that have been implemented there.  I know that one major organization in France, L’Autre Cercle, created a charter that was signed by a large number of private companies, small or large enterprises, public administrations, etc.  L’Autre Cercle organizes meetings every other month with its sponsors and members to discuss initiatives in their own companies.  This could be food for thought to implement what has been successful with other companies.

TIBCO: What are the long term impacts of focusing on diversity and inclusion within TIBCO and beyond?

OL: The two most important impacts an inclusion and diversity initiative can have is talent retention and attractiveness for future employees. Moreover, when you can be yourself in the workplace and bring your whole self to work without discrimination, I believe you are more efficient in your work because you feel that your career only depends on your efforts and results—nothing else! 

Join us in celebrating the diversity woven within TIBCO and our broader communities. Are you a TIBCO team member? To get involved and join an ERG today, visit TIBCO Connect for more details!