“Showing up and standing up” – Optus’ employee pride network turns ten





LinkedIn

Following Optus’ appointment as Premier Network partner of Sydney WorldPride, we caught up with Kirsty Hunter, Chair of their ‘Express Yourself’ employee pride network.

Thanks for chatting with us Kirsty! Firstly, could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I grew up in country NSW, and I am still connected to the Hunter Valley through family and friends. I came to Sydney for uni and made it my home! My long-term partner and I are mums to two incredible children, aged eleven and nine. We are Inner Westies and are currently completing a major house reno.

Sounds like a busy life for you! What is your role at Optus? 

I am a Senior Director in Optus Enterprise, leading the Customer Experience Practice. I have been with Optus for close to a year and am loving the adventure so far!

 Can you tell us about the Optus ‘Express Yourself’ network – what is it and why was it created? 

As part of Optus’ Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging strategy, we have formalised our Employee Networks, which represent and celebrate the amazing LGBTQIA+, women, culture and heritage, ability and disability, and veterans and service communities at Optus, and their allies.

‘Express Yourself’ has been part of the Optus LGBTQIA+ fabric for over 10 years and was a vital advocacy group for Marriage Equality in Australia. Optus has taken that established affiliation amongst LGBTQIA+ community members within Optus, to formalise it as an employee network that our amazing people can rally around, unite our community, engage our colleagues, and use to inspire our customers and the communities we are a part of. Connection helps build community.

A picture of Kirsty Hunter, Chief of Optus' Express Yourself network
Kirsty Hunter.
Optus team members walk in the Mardi Gras Parade in silver outfits
Members of the ‘Express Yourself’ network march in the Mardi Gras Parade 2022.
Optus team photo with lots of rainbows and glitter
The Optus team attend the Mardi Gras Parade 2022.

Why is it important for companies like Optus to have employee networks specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community? 

Optus celebrates diversity, inspiration, creativity, inclusiveness, and pride, and stands proudly in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. As an organisation, we need to connect with each other to build a brand that people really want to be part of. Diversity in our organisation reflects the diversity of our customer communities and enables us to deliver the best possible service experience for everyone. We’re committed to building authentic and lasting relationships with our amazing people and our customers so that together, we can become Australia’s most loved everyday brand!

What does ‘pride’ mean to you personally? 

To me, pride means acceptance of yourself and others. Pride means showing up and standing up, in any and every capacity, for the less able and vulnerable. Pride is about loving life – loving those around you, and most importantly, loving yourself!

Finally, looking ahead to our big celebration of pride next year, what are you most excited about at Sydney WorldPride 2023?

The sheer spectacle of Sydney hosting WorldPride will be historic! I am so excited to share this event with my family, especially my two children. Sydney WorldPride 2023 will be such a life affirming event for them, our community, and our nation.   

Optus is the Premier Network partner for both Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (2022, 2024) and Sydney WorldPride (2023). 

Acknowledgement of country

Sydney WorldPride will take place on the lands of the Gadigal, Cammeraygal, Bidjigal, Darug, Dharawal people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney Basin.

We pay our Respects to their Elders past and present. Always was Always will be Aboriginal Land.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people come from many different clans and communities across Australia & in 2023 will come together as one, to celebrate with our global LGBTQIA+ community.