Pride Month Employee Spotlight: Bernice Wong
To celebrate Pride Month in June, Zynga is highlighting employees from our LGBTQIA2S+ community who are championing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. We embrace the history, struggles and achievements the LGBTQIA2S+ community has made in advancing equal rights, and are proud to support a culture where everyone can be their authentic selves. Join us as we ask our incredible employees to share what it means to #PlayWithPride.
Today we’re spotlighting Bernice Wong, Senior Experience Designer at Zynga. Read on to learn more about Bernice, what Pride means to her and why she believes diversity requires leaders to be intentional.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride means being able to completely celebrate who I am and who I love. It means honoring all aspects of myself and embracing my intersectionality without shame. It’s also about honoring the history and activism of our community in advancing human rights. It takes a lot of reflection, vulnerability and courage to show yourself in a world that may not always react positively when you embrace who you are. That’s why the work of lifting others up is extremely important to me. I want to live in a world where everyone can feel safe being who they are without fear or judgment. That’s how I celebrate Pride.
When was the moment you knew? The moment that everything sort of crystallized?
When I fell in love. Looking back, I can point out specific behaviors about myself that revealed my sexuality without me realizing it. The greatest liberation came the moment I embraced this new understanding of myself.
What are some ways we can help foster an inclusive environment so that everyone can bring their authentic selves to work? Why is this important?
It’s important to establish strategies, practices and processes in the workforce where employees can feel safe enough to thrive. Our leaders, or people in positions of power, can have a huge influence over how cultures of inclusion are shaped. Promoting diversity in the workforce requires being intentional about amplifying underrepresented voices and making sure we embrace diversity in our hiring practices and the language we use. Raising awareness for LGBTQIA2S+ issues through education or consultation opportunities can also help employees better understand how to treat others with respect. The world is already diverse; we just need to prioritize harnessing it.
What positive policies or actions have you seen at Zynga that help promote equity in the workplace?
Being a part of the zPride employee resource group (ERG) and seeing Zynga’s commitment to Diversity, equity and inclusion have been one of my favorite aspects of working here. I’ve never seen so many passionate and talented leaders at a company who are all eager to volunteer their time, come together and push to do the right thing. It’s been incredible to see the amount of resources Zynga offers to support doing what’s right.
Zynga’s commitment to its ERGs has been integral in giving back to the community through outreach work, educational opportunities and community events, as well as Benevity donation campaigns like the one we did for International Transgender Day of Visibility in March. Also, the fact that Zynga offers domestic partner health insurance is huge!
How can people be good allies in the workplace and beyond? What are some ways for people to educate themselves?
Use your voice to help lift others who may not have the same kind of privilege. Respecting pronouns, using inclusive language or educating friends and family on harmful language are great examples. Be willing to listen and learn about the LGBTQIA2S+ community without judgment. And when it’s time, take a step back so other voices can be heard. Big change often starts by making small changes to our day-to-day habits. Listening more and breaking misconceptions among our peers will result in more inclusivity in how we treat each other.
What is a LGBTQIA2S+ movie, tv show, book, or game you think is a “must”?
One of my favorite LGBTQ2S+ media pieces is “Steven Universe,” a cartoon show by Rebecca Sugar that explores adult themes about belonging, mental health and finding love for yourself. For video games, there are a lot of LGBTQ2S+ interactive narrative games that I enjoy, such as “There’s This Girl” by Angela He.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
If I could meet a younger version of myself, I’d like to say two things.
- “Remember that the most important thing in life is to surround yourself with people who care about you.”
- “Don’t worry. You’re going to be so happy with the person you become.”