On the 11th of October, SAP had the pleasure of hosting Vasu Primlani as a part of our Pride@SAP campaign.
Vasu Primlani is a well-known name in the Indian stand-up comedy circle. She is also a triathlete, a counsellor, and an environmentalist. She has received the 2015 Nari Shakti Puraskar from the Government of India for her positive impact on society.
Vasu doesn’t mince her words, and we enjoyed her company to the fullest as she throws her sharp remarks gift wrapped in plentiful cynicism and humor. In our Ally meeting, we touched upon the topics of homophobia, gender sensitization and how to progressively spread awareness and reduce active and passive discrimination. She added many relevant examples from her personal life and described her personal struggles wrapped with anecdotes. She said that despite the challenges in life, we must rise and be who we truly are, else we'll never be able to reach our full potential. She also outlined the impactful role the HR and leaders play in creating a safe work culture for everyone irrespective of gender, beliefs, physical abilities or sexual orientation. She outlined that until employees can be expressive and be their true self at work, productivity and innovation will be greatly hampered. She lauded the efforts of SAP to create a Best Place to work for ‘everyone’ and opined the need to continue working towards understanding and eliminating unconscious biases which affects our decision making and interactions.
This was followed by an amazing presentation by Vasu to an eclectic mix of audience from multiple LoBs.
She engaged the audience with continuous dialogue and discussion on assorted topics around diversity, rather than just a monologue or a traditional "talk session". Many of our colleagues clarified their doubts on bias, phobia etc. Many people in the audience wanted advice on how to detect homophobia in the preliminary stages and how to nip it in the bud, to make SAP a healthy and respectful place to work for people from all walks of life. Vasu was direct, yet very graceful while answering the questions.
Vasu touched upon the lives and works of various famous LGBT personalities (like Ellen DeGeneres) and their perennial contribution to humanitarian causes. She also mentioned that LGBTQ is a force to be recognized with and not ignored or brushed under the carpet as the people from this community have contributed to societal upliftment over the centuries. Moreover, in the 21st century, this community has become a consumer powerhouse and if ignored will hamper innovation in companies, and basic rights and freedom of people.
Vasu signed off with an applause from a thoughtful audience.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller