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You belong here: Celebrating Pride and Immigrant Heritage Month

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June is both Immigrant Heritage Month and Pride Month, and this year, Chimers who lead our Chimer Resource Groups (CRGs) for the immigrant community and LGBTQIA+ community decided to explore the intersectionality of the two groups through the theme of belonging. Throughout the month, both CRGs—together and individually—explored the theme of belonging and how it impacts both communities.

We sat down with a few Chimers from both CRGs to hear about who they are as people and the role belonging plays for them at work. Their richness of experiences and perspectives is nothing short of inspiring, and we hope you glean some great insights into why and how to create a welcoming environment at work.

Meet the Chimers

What belonging feels like

The Cambridge Dictionary defines belonging as “a feeling of being happy or comfortable as part of a particular group and having a good relationship with the other members of the group because they welcome you and accept you.” For Karthik, belonging starts before you’re even part of a group: “It’s the feeling of being at home in one’s own skin,” he says. “It’s not about fitting in—belonging is about feeling and being seen, heard, and valued for who you are.”

For Chris Yu, belonging at work means enjoying the people he works with, which comes from both within himself and others. “There’s a feeling of closeness that comes with belonging, which is built through daily interactions that show empathy,” he says.

For Aviva, belonging hasn’t always been completely clear-cut. When she moved to the U.S., at first she felt like she should assimilate as fast as possible. “Even though the U.S. is a melting pot, there’s a feeling that life might be easier if you become as American as you can,” she says. “Being an immigrant can often feel like you’re putting on a show, and trying to fit in does not feel like belonging. Belonging is the opposite of assimilation—it’s being comfortable to express yourself authentically.”

Why belonging at work matters

When it comes to belonging at work, feeling like you belong—or, in some situations, like you don’t belong—can deeply affect how you show up, interact with others, and do your job. “Feeling like I belong somewhere is important, but only if I can retain my authentic self in that space,” Taylor explains. “Far too often, belonging only exists if one ‘fits in,’ and I don’t want to fit in. At work, this means that my peers accept me not because I fit into their expectations but because they see and appreciate my differences and acknowledge that those differences can enhance the workplace and our work product.” Feeling a sense of belonging allows Taylor to put energy into his work and build relationships with coworkers rather than code-switching so that he fits in.

For Lizzy, belonging at work matters because of her maturity and sense of self. “Who I am isn’t something I’m willing to compromise anymore,” she says. In her first role in tech, Lizzy tended to lay low and hide who she was. “I was still figuring myself out, but nowadays, it brings me more joy to be at work if I can be myself without having to hide any part of me—while being respectful at the same time,” she says. “When I feel like I belong at work, I can be present every day, which makes working more enjoyable as a whole.”

And for Karthik and Aviva, belonging at work matters because it helps them do their best work. “Belonging at work gives me the confidence to voice ideas and take risks without apprehension, allowing me to channel my energy into my work rather than tiptoeing around my colleagues,” Karthik explains.

The way Aviva sees it, when you spend 40 hours a week doing something, you’ll do it better when you feel connected to your teammates. “I deliver higher quality work when I have common ground with those I work with,” she says. “Besides, there’s no way to think critically or do my best if I don’t feel like I’m accepted by those I’m working alongside.”

When a workplace feels welcoming, it creates space and safety for people to bring their full selves—and their best ideas—to the table. “It takes confidence to speak up, and in a welcoming environment, you can trust that your contributions will be taken at face value and evaluated on your ability to do your job, not on your identity,” Chris says. “When everyone feels like they belong, they have the confidence to share, and better ideas are contributed overall.”

What a welcoming workplace looks and feels like

There are many things that companies, teams, and individuals can do to create a welcoming environment at work, including:

  • Creating and supporting ERGs: “In my first 1:1 with my manager, he encouraged me to become a member of as many CRGs as possible,” Karthik says. “He made sure I don’t think of work as just contributing to my team but also contributing to the culture and environment at Chime. Every aspect of how we curate the Chimer Resource Group (CRG) experience makes me feel welcome and shows me that Chime is committed to creating a genuine understanding and empathy among the whole company.”
  • Celebrating and educating around heritage months: “I love how Chime celebrates Pride and honors the month with programming and delights for all Chimers, like stickers, t-shirts, and special menu items,” says Lizzy.
  • Ensuring company policies are inclusive: “It was really important to me that Chime offers very specific benefits that are inclusive,” says Chris. “Especially for me as part of a same-sex couple trying to build a family, support for family building, surrogacy, and fertility benefits was a big part of me joining Chime. In addition to family building, I also believe mental health benefits are essential for anyone who grew up as part of the LGBTQIA+ community in America.”
  • Having a diverse team: “I feel fortunate because my team is pretty queer,” Lizzy says. “It puts me at ease knowing I’m in a room with people who have felt othered at some point, and because of that, we are all more in tune and gentle with each other.”

Creating a more welcoming environment—at work and beyond

Because it’s every employee’s responsibility to contribute to a welcoming environment at work, we asked Aviva, Chris, Karthik, Lizzy, and Taylor for their advice on helping others feel like they belong. Here’s what they had to say:

At Chime, one of our core values is to Be Human, and we try to practice it daily through how we treat each other, work together, and make an impact. Whether we’re sharing your stories in a blog post, on a Zoom call, or in a meeting with our teammates, we know that empowering each other to share helps make our workplace a more welcoming one. As Karthik explains, “As more and more people share their diverse stories and understandings of the world, the more we will all understand that all of us are unique, not just different.”



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