PROUT EMPLOYER ERGO
“I believe that in addition to the pure visibility that we achieve with pride networks, for example, other things are also important. We need to point out unconscious bias. We need gender inclusive language. ”
Markus Bader is 45 years old and lives with his partner in Hamburg. After studying business informatics, he joined Hamburg Mannheimer Versicherung, part of the ERGO Group, as IT coordinator in 2002. After 3 years he was able to take over a first management position as group leader in this area. In 2013 he had the opportunity to join a department manager position in ITERGO, the IT service provider of the ERGO Group. In 2018, he left IT with a step into business as division manager for Life Classic Operations.
As a leader at ERGO, what does it mean for you to advocate for more LGBT*IQ diversity and visibility?
Markus Bader: As a gay and outed executive, I think it’s important to advocate for more visibility and I’m glad that we’ve also had a pride network for a little over 2 years now and that I can get involved there. We know that there are still many LGBT*IQ people who decide against coming out in a professional context because they fear disadvantages. We need role models who make it clear that your choice of job and your career goals are not dependent on your sexual orientation.
What experiences in your career so far have shaped you in terms of LGBT*IQ?
Markus Bader: In fact, in the first (un-outed) years of my career, I had the experience that derogatory remarks were made about outed colleagues regarding their sexual orientation. Not always and often, but it happened. That definitely shaped me for the years to come. I didn’t feel ready to expose myself to that at the time. The confidence to come out to colleagues didn’t develop until a few years later. However, I never experienced rejection or disadvantages and to this day I am happy and grateful that I can be open with my sexuality with my employer. I was therefore all the more pleased that, in addition to the many other diversity issues, the topic of LGBT*IQ has also become an institution at ERGO with the Pride network.
You are committed to LGBT*IQ diversity at ERGO, to what extent do you receive support from your colleagues?
From my immediate colleagues, I feel the normality and matter-of-factness that my life model is met with is actually the strongest support. Today, I never have the feeling that someone avoids asking me how my summer vacation with my partner was, for example, just to avoid bringing up the subject. On the contrary – I experience just as much interest in my life and partnership as I do with others.
pride@ergo was founded by committed colleagues.
The Diversity Management Team has provided support from network building to the present day, and the godmother of our network is our Chief Human Resources Officer. This is an important contribution on the part of the employer and also shows me that the topic is important and is seen.
You were part of the PROUT Executives list in 2021 and 2022, congratulations again! What did that mean for you and how did you perceive the reactions?
Markus Bader: I was very happy about the positions on the Prout Executives list. For me personally, it was also an exciting process – I’m not very active on my social media channels, or rather a consumer than a creator. Sharing the list position on LinkedIn, among other places, was another new experience for me – and I received positive feedback without exception afterwards – from previously unknown people, from people I had lost sight of, but also from my immediate environment.
What specific actions for more LGBT*IQ diversity are you concerned about right now?
Markus Bader: I believe that in addition to the pure visibility that we achieve with pride networks, for example, other things are also important. We need to point out unconscious bias. We need gender-inclusive language. We have already revised the language and image of our brand presence at ERGO. This will certainly not happen overnight, but we have made a start, and ERGO must continue to develop.
Dear Markus Bader, thank you very much for the interview!