Maja Kaczmarek has worked as a Sourcing Manager in Technology Procurement at Nordea since October 2018. She is also head of the LGBT+ Employee Resource Group at Nordea Poland.
“Personally, I have two dogs, two parrots and a lovely girlfriend. I’m a Nordic walking fan with some success in different tournaments,” she says with a smile.
Maja Kaczmarek is happy that her workplace has taken such a clear stand by being a sponsor of Pride. This year, Warsaw Pride will be a joint celebration with Kyiv Pride.
“As a financial institution Nordea shows openness supporting diversity and inclusion. Apart from the way I feel as an employee let’s not forget that thanks to inclusion we can truly support our diverse range of customers”, she says.
And she is supported by Nordea's Chief People Officer, Christina Gadeberg:
"For me, Pride is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate what we believe in - that a diverse and inclusive workplace is the way to succeed. There is still room for improvement and we should constantly contribute to an even more equal, diverse and inclusive workplace.”
As a financial institution Nordea shows openness supporting diversity and inclusion. Apart from the way I feel as an employee let’s not forget that thanks to inclusion we can truly support our diverse range of customers.
Not as controversial as it was
And although Poland still has many challenges in terms of LGBT+ inclusion, a lot of things are also getting better, says Maja Kaczmarek.
“I feel there is still much to be done in Poland, but I can also see the progress. People are travelling all over the world and more foreigners are working in Poland. Being LGBT+ is not easy, there are still some prejudices we need to fight, but it is not as controversial as it was 20 years ago.”
She has been living together with her girlfriend for many years: “I live in a small city, in the same neighbourhood and for the last 14 years I am in a relationship with the same woman – it is obvious for all our neighbours. We live in a great community, and everyone treats us normally.”
Similar rights to register partnerships
“What can be better, both in society in Poland and at Nordea?”
“There is always something that can be done better. I think that from the social point of view it will be good to have the possibility to register our partnerships and make it legal so we can have similar rights to straight people.”
When it comes to her employer, Nordea, she has got a good impression after the four years she has been employed:
“When it comes to ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace, Nordea has taken many great initiatives the last couple of years. Recently, we’ve got a lot of support internally, let’s for example take the equal parental leave for rainbow families and the transgender support policy. Nordea stands behind its values and shows real support.”
Nordea’s Diversity and Inclusion team is located in Group People and works across the entire organisation.“That means that inclusion is a part of what we do from the very beginning and in all aspects. And just to be clear: diversity refers to so many aspects apart from LGBT+ like age, gender, cultural diversity and more. I could enumerate,” Maja Kaczmarek says.
The support from management is also important to make society move forward.
“Nordea supports all people no matter of their preferences. I get a lot of support from my direct leader and management. I think it’s great. When I first joined Nordea, I learnt about the Employee Resource Groups already during the onboarding. I remember how surprised I was to see how natural inclusion is for Nordea and how openly it is communicated.”
Don’t need special care
“What about your colleagues, can you be open about being LGBT+, or is it easier not to talk about it?”
“I think it depends on your personality. If you are not comfortable with yourself, it is always difficult to be open. In our team, we are very open, and I do not feel any form of discrimination. Still, I feel more support from my colleagues from Denmark and Sweden where LGBT + is not something to discuss, it is just normal,” she says.
And she thinks Pride is important for several reasons.
“It shows society’s acceptance of minorities. It is also a symbolic gesture of courage, and a great possibility to build awareness in our society.”
And Maja Kaczmarek has clear advice about what is needed to make society more open to LGBT+ people.
“Stop thinking that we are different and need special care.”