At Interac, we celebrate diversity and inclusion, and believe bringing our authentic selves to work drives the best results and allows us to learn from one another. We are committed to creating an environment for diversity of thought and experience, where unique ideas, perspectives, and voices are not only welcomed but encouraged.
It’s Pride season at Interac, and we spoke with Eric Forsyth, AVP of IT Operations on being an ally to the 2SLGBTQ+ community. As the father of a non-binary child, Eric shares how the diversity and inclusion initiatives at Interac have had a positive impact on him and his family.
What is your name and job?
Eric Forsyth, AVP of IT Operations.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Leading and building relationships with people is definitely my favourite part of my job. I wake up every day looking forward to saying “hi” to people on my team. I think it’s equally important to have non-work conversations, making sure that you’re acknowledging everyone is human and has their struggles. My life partner has always brought a fresh perspective to challenging scenarios, by teaching me to recognize people might be going through things in their personal life. Connecting one-on-one is a critical part of my day.
How have you grown professionally and personally since starting at Interac?
I started as a 2Keys employee as the Director of Operations for five years before the acquisition of 2Keys by Interac. I entirely transitioned to Interac about a year ago and looked at all the projects, streams and strategic initiatives that are ongoing within the business and helped the team prioritize.
I tend to go into every meeting thinking I’m the least intelligent person in the room– because often I am! What I love to do is leverage the collective intelligence of our people. My Interac transformation has included moving away from individual problem solving to leveraging the collective intelligence of our people and partners to solve problems.
What does a typical day at Interac look like for you?
Every day looks a bit different. Some mornings start with a morning “scrum” to align our priorities, and review the changes, incidents and risks to IT OPs. I’ll check in with project progress and identify and support the removal of progress blockers. I’ll usually follow up with staff for one-on-one requests – smiling, being supportive and encouraging participation goes a long way.
I check in with the Interac 2SLGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group to see what is going on and if there are any new activities or support that might be needed for new members. I think that reaching out to people who are new to Interac and the support group is essential to building an inclusive culture.
I find that checking the ERG group grounds me every day. If I just take a look and see if there’s something new, it sets a tone for the day, gives me motivation to get up and do good work related to helping others. This is what gives me purpose.
Could you share your connection with the 2SLGBTQ+ community?
I’m the parent of a non-binary child (now adult!). My kid has taught me so much, they’re the most intelligent, grounded human I know. It was a really amazing learning experience for me to learn new perspectives, and what they have gone through has fortified the importance of being supportive and empathetic.
The past seven years have been an incredible learned experience, widening my perspective of our world.
For other parents and allies, the best piece of advice I could give would be that we don’t know what we don’t know, and we can’t possibly understand what everyone goes through. However, we can listen, we can empathize and support. Eliminating the feelings of loneliness, isolation and fear with the superpowers of love, friendship, and acceptance, makes us better humans.
What does it mean to be an ally of the 2SLGBTQ+ community?
My kid said it best. I was always trying to “get it” for the first couple of years, and they always reminded me that I didn’t. It was a beautiful back and forth until I finally realized that I would not be able to fully “get it”. Always having an open mind and being aware of what you don’t know is such an important aspect of being an ally.
My kid has taught me to listen, learn and evolve. I had to reshape the definitions of words, perceptions and legacy beliefs.
Love is the most important thing. It’s just about being there listening and loving your fellow humans. When my kid talks, I listen. I don’t try to find a solution, I just listen, am there and am present.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Interac is an amazing place. I’ve never worked in an enterprise or corporate environment that had a diversity and inclusion team with a support group. I get emails from D&I periodically and I am proud to forward them to my family, and say, “check this out!”.
My family thinks it’s really cool and a real value add that Interac is a diverse workplace. A lot of companies might say they believe in diversity and inclusion, but at Interac it’s practiced and a part of our culture.
I had a recent conversation with my kid, as they were off school and struggling to see their place in a corporate environment. They’re excited to go into gender studies at Carleton University, after I shared Interac as an example of how corporate spaces have evolved. I told them that they have an amazing opportunity that a lot of previous generations did not.
Forwarding and giving awareness to how Interac has developed their culture around diversity and inclusion has helped create corporate awareness and momentum. Without it, I think a lot of us would feel excluded. Our new reality is they can, and there are tons of opportunities for them. That warms my heart as a parent.