Creating an inclusive work environment is more than just lip service. It requires listening, understanding, and constantly evolving a company’s processes to ensure that every employee feels included and understood.
Canva Philippines, with its over 700-strong workforce, celebrates diversity beyond the much-celebrated Pride Month of June. Every day, Canvanauts are encouraged to celebrate and embrace their identity at work and beyond.
Advocating for equal rights through education
Yuni Lao, a senior brand designer at Canva Philippines, marries her passion for creativity, education, and equality through the different hats she wears. Aside from her work at Canva where she helps conceptualize and bring ideas to life through various design applications, Yuni also advocates for human rights and equality for different gender expressions and identities. She is also a design lecturer at Ateneo de Manila University and a content streamer.
As a bisexual woman, Yuni realized there’s more she can do to educate others. She lets her advocacy bleed into her work and in her class, “I try to impart to my students that the space I make for them is something they can have even outside the classroom,” Yuni shared. Aside from talking about her sexuality openly to make her class feel more comfortable, she also encourages them to propose topics that they care about through class projects.
Geryl Minguillo, a learning designer in Canva University, also brings his advocacy to work. Canva University is the company’s learning and development unit. “Gender rights, specifically LGBTQIA+, rights, is something I feel extremely passionate about. Growing up as a closeted gay kid, I’ve experienced being teased and bullied about my self-expression,” Geryl said.
It wasn’t until college when he fully embraced who he is and got exposed to the different realities of LGBTQ+ individuals. He continues to join, advocate, and celebrate at Pride where he meets more people from the community and learns about their experiences. Now, through his work in Canva Philippines, he helps champion this advocacy through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) sessions for newbies and educating fellow Canvanauts from using respectful and nondiscriminatory language and understanding someone’s preferred pronouns to practices that cultivate behaviors of inclusion.
“In my first week at Canva, one of the first things I shared with everyone, in my newbie intro, was that I’m a gay-mer. 2 facts in 1. And I’ve never felt more welcomed in my life! The level of safety and openness I experienced was inspiring,” he added.
Championing diversity from people to product
Canva Philippines Country Manager Yani Hornilla-Donato highlights the importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace to enable employees to do the best work of their lives. “We encourage Canvanauts to bring their whole selves to work and be proud to share them with others. Whether they’re advocating for an organization or want to educate others about gender equality, we aim to provide them with an environment where they feel welcomed and appreciated.”
From hiring to doing the actual work, every Canvanaut gets the support they need through DEI learning sessions, various interest clubs, accessibility features at the office, and even Slack channels dedicated to sharing resources. Hiring is also made inclusive through conducting accessibility and awareness training for the talent acquisition team, organizing a diverse interview panel, and investing in Textio, a tool that assesses the use of inclusive languages for job ads.
Canva also allows Filipinos to design with pride with its new collection of playful and illustrative Pride templates following a Filipino retro style. From Instagram stories to podcast covers, these templates can be used by anyone who wants to design with pride.
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