At Dunkin’ Brands, everyone is welcome, diversity is embraced, and individuality is celebrated.
As a community that is truly committed to creating a safe and comfortable workplace for all, we recognize that our journey to do more is never-ending.
We strive to be a community that cares for and supports one another every day. A community that stands tall for hope, equality, and unity. And, working together in partnership with our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), we continue to find ways to make a difference.
Our ERGs serve as networks that increase cultural awareness, provide career development opportunities, and promote our commitment to diversity and inclusion. The voices of our employees are not only heard here, but they help build and grow our welcoming and inclusive culture.
In celebration of Pride, we are sitting down with Matt Tenore, New England Field Learning Manager and co-chair of the INspire ERG.
Q: Thanks for joining us Matt! Tell us a bit about INspire and how long have you been a member of the group?
INspire is our LGBTQ+ & Allies employee resource group that is run by our employees. The purpose of this ERG is to lead and educate Dunkin’ Brands employees on issues and needs specific to the LGBTQ+ community. We promote a culture of inclusion that celebrates and affirms each person’s inherent worth and dignity.
INspire was started by two Dunkin’ Brands employees in 2017, and I’ve been with the group right from the beginning. What’s great about INspire is that every year the group rotates co-chairs. I am honored to be a co-chair this year, which makes this my second year as a co-chair.
Q: In your opinion, why is it important to have an ERG that is dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community?
It makes such a difference when employees can be their authentic selves at home and at work.
INspire represents how we come together as a community, how we care for the causes we feel strongly about, and the pride we have for each other. INspire allows employees to get more involved and provides opportunity for us as a community to learn and grow together.
Looking back at what we’ve done with INspire, the accomplishments have been impressive. We have celebrated diversity and fostered an inclusive culture in the workplace through employee participation in community events like the Boston AIDS Walk & Run and the Boston Pride Parade, partnerships with local LGBTQ+ youth organizations and agencies, and have hosted speakers from not-for-profit, community-based organizations as well as ERG leaders from other local companies.
Earlier this year we received some great news: for the second year in a row, Dunkin’ Brands achieved a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, making our company one of the BEST places to work for LGBTQ equality. I am proud of the work INspire has done to help create a workplace where all people feel included and have a sense of belonging.
Q: Pride Month (June) is being celebrated differently this year due to COVID-19. What are some things the ERG has done to keep engagement high among employees?
It’s unfortunate that we cannot physically get together to celebrate Pride Month this year due to social distancing guidelines, but we have been able to adjust our plans to still celebrate and recognize Pride Month 2020.
At the beginning of 2019, INspire had sent a survey asking Dunkin’ Brands employee what they wanted to hear and learn about, and many people said they wanted to learn how they can be a better ally. So, we kicked off Pride Month 2020 with an ally training session that discussed how you can become a better ally. There was a great turn out! It was virtual, so it was a great way to engage both the corporate teams in Massachusetts and field teams around the world.
As a company, we traditionally love lobby events at Brand Central (our headquarters in Canton, Mass.). Employees gather in the lobby for presentations, celebrations, and social hours throughout the year. This year, we proudly hosted the company’s first ever virtual lobby event! We had an amazing turnout and a lot of fun with a virtual happy hour that included a game of pop culture trivia.
We are also looking into how INspire can help support national and local LGBTQ+ organizations.
What’s important to INspire is that we don’t want people to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community only during Pride Month. We want to support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community year-round, and we want to continue talking about the importance of Pride even after Pride Month has passed.
Q: Lastly, what do you think makes our INspire group unique?
First, our reach. We have Dunkin’ Brands employees from all over the country who are a part of the INspire ERG, and we can pull ideas and perspectives from people of all different walks of life.
Second, our culture is one-of-a-kind. People bring their full selves to work and can be who they are freely, and I think that’s so incredible!
Finally, we have a great ally presence at Dunkin’ Brands and I am reminded of it every time there’s an INspire event or activity. The support from our colleagues is outstanding and makes me proud to be a part of this community and #dunkinbrandslife.