Employee Communities (ECs) have always played a critical role in building the culture at Zendesk, and our most senior leaders are actively involved in helping them strive within the workforce.
Senior vice president of sales in EMEA, Andrew Lawson, has been a listening ear and supportive voice to members of our Global Veterans Network (GVN) since he became the group’s executive sponsor over two years ago. To mark Veterans Day in the U.S., Remembrance Day in the U.K. and Armistice Day in France, Andrew shares the group’s mission and commitment to the military community and what led him to become its sponsor.
Can you share your connection to military Veterans?
Supporting our Veterans has been close to my heart for a good while. When I was at Oracle, I led the U.K. security and defense business which gave me a daily insight and greater understanding of the outstanding work our service people do. I also have numerous friends who have served in the military over the years, including a good friend who suffered catastrophic injuries while in Afghanistan. He is an incredible individual who’s shown such resilience and passion to keep moving forward and live life to the fullest. He has rowed the Atlantic Ocean twice and is guiding a team of injured troops on a 2,000 mile kayak to Alaska. I find him truly inspirational.
As the executive sponsor of the GVN employee community, can you shed light on its importance?
It is an absolute privilege to work with such a passionate and driven team. I love the no nonsense approach and let’s get things done attitude. We want to showcase that Zendesk is a great choice for Veterans, that we understand them and the experience they bring will make our company a better place. Our Veterans are truly helping us build a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for all Zendeskians.
What initiatives or projects are you particularly proud of?
The founding team and their absolute commitment to the cause. They work tirelessly to attract new members and allies, and are devoted to helping service members who are recalled to active duty and have training needs.
Recently, we collaborated with the Total Rewards team to improve our global Military Leave Policy, which allows compensation to be supplemented for up to six months of a deployment. This shows just how much we care about military families and provides a much needed safety net for them. We have also supported Operation Paperback, to donate books for families of deployed service members, and have donated to the Travis Manion Foundation in partnership with the global DEI team.
As we look ahead to what is in store for GVN, what are you focused on?
I am very keen to leverage the knowledge and experience of our members. We are focused on how GVN can help contribute to educating our people. What that looks like for us is stressing the importance of teamwork, resilience, problem solving and clear communications. We are fully committed to doing our part.
To learn more about Zendesk’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, please visit here.