June 27, 2022

Pride Month Employee Spotlight: Sara M.E. Ventura

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 Sara M.E. Ventura, User Acquisition Producer at Zynga. Read on to learn more about Sara, what Pride means to her and why she believes everyone should feel enabled to get involved with pride.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is being your unabashed genuine self while encouraging others to do the same. It’s about learning from those who paved the road before you and guiding the next generation with education, love, respect and acceptance.

You’re still valid if you feel safer in the background versus being loud and proud. You can be quiet and proud. You can be anything you want to be during Pride.

When was the moment you knew? The moment that everything sort of crystallized?

When I was 12, I attended a couple meetups at Vassar College’s LGBTQ+ club called, “Circles” with some of my friends.

I was happy that the older students didn’t ask why a few pre-teens were there (and thankfully they didn’t ask for our parents’ permission). The internet was still the Wild West and looking up lingo wasn’t easy. Wikipedia wasn’t the force it was today. Being raised Catholic and attending a strict private school, I had no knowledge of queer culture and verbiage until I went to these hangouts. We just sat in a circle on the ground and shared about ourselves, having the safety and the knowledge that we were there for each other.

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?

Encourage folks to put their pronouns in their email signatures or on Zoom. If everyone does it, then it becomes the norm. Join employee resource groups (ERG) and be involved if you can. You don’t have to be of that specific marginalized identity in order to be included or assist.

Lastly, if you have any questions, there are people within human resources (HR) and in leadership positions in ERGs who can assist you. Lean on us!

What positive policies or actions have you seen at Zynga that help promote equity in the workplace?

Zynga is the first company I’ve worked at where management is extremely receptive to improving the workplace culture for marginalized folks. I feel safe to workshop ideas with HR about new learning and development initiatives or ask how we can do better. Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives will always exist because human beings are works in progress. So keeping training, education and community at the forefront is a necessity.

How can people be good allies in the workplace and beyond? What are some ways for people to educate themselves?

You can start attending events for groups that you identify with, and groups that you don’t. Never stop learning and make some friends along the way. No matter what your identity is, no one person can be the spokesperson for it. We’re all uniquely made up of different attributes so it’s cool to learn about what you have in common and what you don’t.

What is an LGBTQIA2S+ movie, tv show, book, or game you think is a “must”?

Most of my favorite queer media is the kind where you could tell the writers wanted to highlight queer culture, or pair a couple, but were unable to do it for various reasons (culture, publisher, etc.). “Haruhi in Ouran Host Club” is coded as being non-binary. “Rean and Crow in Trails of Cold Steel” is also queer coded. These examples are both from the Japanese media. Also, I love the gay singer Rufus Wainwright who grew up near my hometown.