SAP’s Niarchos Pombo: LGBT Role Model and Equal Opportunity Advocate

People who raise their voices and engage in creating an inclusive working environment where everyone is accepted and respected, deserve recognition.

Once a year, the network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) business people and allies, OUTstanding, and the Financial Times publish a list of inspirational LGBT global leaders and LGBT Ally role models, to recognize them for their great work.

“If we raise visibility, we will inspire people to be who they are.”

– Niarchos Pombo, in an interview, about his inspiring contribution to SAP as a Global Pride@SAP Leader.

This year, two inspirational SAP employees made the list.  Jenny Dearborn, chief learning officer and global Executive sponsor for Pride@SAP, was recognized as #21 on the list of most influential global LGBT Ally Executives, and Niarchos Pombo, head of Diversity & Inclusion for Latin America and global lead of Pride@SAP, was recognized by the Financial Times as #30 on the global LGBT Future Leaders list.

We spoke to Niarchos and he told us about his inspiring work and engagement for the LGBT community at SAP, what he has already been able to achieve, and where he believes there is still work to do.

Q: What does this award mean to you personally?

A: Being highlighted as one of the top LGBT Future Leaders is great recognition for the work I have been doing for the last four years — and it makes me very proud and happy since it raises visibility for the LGBT community overall.
As a gay man, I see that LGBT people are not always visible in society and organizations. If we raise visibility, we will inspire people to be who they are, to be authentic and to be the best they can be — at SAP and in the world. I hope that my nomination as an LGBT Future Leader encourages people to be, first of all, open about who they are and that it will also show that LGBT-people can grow, thrive and succeed in this company.

Q: What are the achievements you are most proud of?

A: One of the achievements I am most proud of has been the work we have done to greatly increase the number of members of ‘Pride@SAP,’ our internal social media network. We started with just 400 people as part of the community and in just one year we grew the community to over 8,000. That means that 10% of all SAP employees globally proactively support LGBT equality efforts. By joining the SAP Jam group, they have visibly raised their voices for the LGBT community. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, everyone can join this Jam group – and this is important for the cause.

Q: What are your next steps?

A: Our next step is to continue the strong collaboration with the SAP Global Diversity & Inclusion Office, increase the number of members participating in the Pride@SAP Employee Network, and raise awareness with internal learning programs for diversity and inclusion.

We want to send a message that SAP recruits the best talent in the market, regardless of sexual identity…and that people who identify as LGBT and/or are strong allies for the LGBT community have great opportunities here. SAP truly benefits from having a diverse workforce that brings greater innovation to the company and reflects our customers — that creates a big business impact.

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