Have you heard this phrase? It’s true in many places and, in my view, it’s especially true at work.

Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time working. The average person will devote one-third of their life to the workplace. With that kind of commitment, it’s important to feel at home in the workplace. We should feel appreciated and at ease. Many factors are involved to be able to achieve that, including the quality of your job, feeling successful at what you do and having good people around you who know you and respect you for who you are.

Celanese has started to recognize that to achieve this, many employees can benefit from developing a community of likeminded people for support, sharing experiences and sharing advice. In many locations within the Celanese network we have now started ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) in support of these needs.

We have several ERGs established: women’s groups, young parents, young professionals and groups supporting Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender employees (called Pride) to name a few.

My personal connection to the Pride groups is strong. Not just because I live in Amsterdam where Pride is simply part of everyday life, but also because I have two gay adult children. That has allowed my wife Beth and me to really understand what that means. I am enormously proud of my kids: what they do, what they stand for and what good citizens they are.

Pim, Ellie, Mimi, Marcel and Beth van Amerongen

There’s still the occasional struggle, but that is far outweighed by the fact that they can be who they are, that they are accepted and they lead successful, fulfilled lives in all parts of the world.

With the work the Pride groups are doing in Budapest and Dallas, I am strengthened in the belief that we are on the right track in creating an environment at Celanese in which people simply belong.

My charge for you is to support these groups. Educate yourself, reach out to them, and, most of all, work together so that one day “special” groups will not be needed at Celanese as we will have achieved the culture that inclusion is part of our DNA.

If you’re in Amsterdam on Aug 6, the city hosts its annual Gay Pride Canal Parade. Please join us. It’s good fun, a great celebration and a great opportunity to connect. If you’re in Dallas, the Gay Pride Parade is taking place on September 18. Gay, straight or ally, all are welcome.