At Interac, we celebrate diversity and believe bringing our authentic selves to work drives the best results and allows us to learn from one another. We are a diverse group of people and are committed to creating an environment for diversity of thought and experience, where unique ideas, perspectives and voices are not only welcomed, but encouraged.
This year, we are reminded that we all play a role in standing up against injustice. We all play a role in fighting racism and discrimination so we can contribute to a safer and fairer future for all Canadians. Although Pride Month may look different this year, the message it sends has never been more important.
This month, we are featuring the stories of people within the Interac family who are part of the LGBT2Q+ community. This is your opportunity to hear their stories and learn how we can all be better allies.
What is your name and job?
My name is Peter Seney and I work on the Commercial team at Interac as a Communications Specialist.
What is some of the work you do on a day-to-day basis?
A major part of my role is focused on employee engagement and ensuring our culture at Interac remains strong. We’ve done a lot of fun activities over the past few months to keep staff connected while working from home such as a live Cooking Class with one of our senior leaders, a virtual musical bingo event and even a Paint Nite! In addition to fun activities, I also have the privilege of managing logistics and supporting with the content of our larger corporate events including our employee Town Halls. These events give me the opportunity to think creatively and work cross-functionally with several departments across the organization.
I’m also responsible for amplifying initiatives taking place within our organization with our external audiences, including creating employee spotlight videos to highlight the stories and career paths of some of the incredible people from across the company.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Okay, I need to split this answer into two parts.
Firstly, I absolutely love that I have the ability to work on so many incredible projects that make a true impact on the local Toronto community. For instance, in March I had the opportunity to lead an International Women’s Day initiative where we partnered with a local not-for-profit to mentor new Canadian women who are looking to work in the Canadian tech industry. We brought together over 30 Interac leaders to share their experiences and knowledge with these newcomers.
Secondly, and most importantly, I get to work with such an incredible group of people that accept me for who I am. Our Communications team is made up of ten people and every day I get to learn something new from my colleagues. I’m the most junior person on the team and sometimes it can be nerve-wracking when you want to bring new ideas to the table. Everyone has really given me the ability to provide insight, take on new challenges, and progress in my career. I’m really grateful for that.
Overall, we’re definitely a busy bunch, but we’re always laughing and have built so many memories together. #CommsSquad
What comes to mind when you think about your journey at Interac?
When I think of my journey at Interac I think of endless possibilities. We’re a growing company and I’ve had the opportunity to jump in and lead so many projects. I started my professional career focused strictly on public relations, but I recently discovered a love for employee engagement, events, and employer brand at Interac. There is so much power in bringing a team together to achieve the same goals and I’m really grateful that I get to help lead the charge on creating a more united Interac.
What is an interesting fact about you?
This isn’t really an interesting fact about me, but rather my dog! At my previous job, I was working on a story with a publication to feature my boss (nerve-wracking). The article was focused on her experience leading large-scale ethical brand campaigns and how her love of animals translated into that work. We wanted to feature a dog in the story to make it more personable and because we were on a tight turnaround, we decided to use my dog, Ollie! He ended up making the feature in the magazine and online! It was a super exciting experience and you can definitely say I was a proud dog dad.
What has your experience been like growing up as part of the LGBT2Q+ community?
Overall, I’ve been quite lucky. I grew up in a household that encouraged me to embrace my authenticity and I think that really helped shape me into the man I am today. There have definitely been times that I’ve faced discrimination or had to hide who I am for my safety, though. For instance, if I’m ever in a place I’m unfamiliar with or feel I may face judgement, I tend to put on a facade and retreat.
If you are ever feeling unwelcome by people in your life because of your sexuality, please remember that there are people out there who will love you for who you are. Focus on your relationships with those people.
What does Pride Month represent in your life?
To me, Pride Month serves as a reminder of all those before me who paved the way for the LGBT2Q+ civil rights movement. I think it’s really important for people to understand and pay tribute to those who fought for the rights of people like me because without them I wouldn’t be in the fortunate position I am today.
I also think Pride is a time to celebrate your authenticity and the power of owning your narrative. For years I was scared to be who I am out of fear of rejection and hate. I used to wish that I wasn’t different because I was afraid being gay would hold me back from reaching my true potential. For people unfamiliar with the community, Pride may seem like it’s just a chance to dress in colourful clothing and dance in the streets. To me, Pride is a symbol of acceptance of one’s true self and an opportunity to share that message with the world.
What advice would you give to a member of the LGBT2Q+ community looking to start a career in FinTech?
I’d encourage you to do your research. Don’t just find a job that you love, but also find a company that will accept you and celebrates the community you come from. Knowing that you work for a company that encourages you to bring your authentic self to work won’t just make you happier, it will also make you a better worker.
Also, find an LGBT2Q+ mentor in the industry you’re looking to enter. No matter how accepting a company may be, there will always be roadblocks. Having someone you can confide in who can offer you advice and support will go a long way.
Do you have any resources/ words of advice you want to share with people who are looking to be better allies?
The biggest piece of advice I’d give to allies is to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask someone who is part of the LGBT2Q+ community for clarity on something if you’re confused or unsure if something you’re doing could be viewed as hurtful. Also, take time to educate yourself on the support your LGBT2Q+ friends, colleagues and family members may need. You never know when someone may need help.
Sexual orientation is one of the 8 dimensions of demographic and cognitive diversity recognized through the Interac Diversity and Inclusion Program.