Advancing Life & Work

Experience defines everything that we do and shapes how we respond or don’t respond to prejudice.

66305264_2116196898673362_5064266157133922304_n.jpgInterview with Shane O'Brien, HR, HPE UK & Ireland

My own experience of growing up gay in rural Ireland wasn’t particularly easy. I did not know any other gay people. Gay was a word that was used in a derogatory way. I had no visible gay role models. I spent most of my teenage years being badly bullied in school. Even after leaving school, I found that I would have to check myself constantly. Was I doing anything to ‘give the gay away’? Was I acting ‘too gay’? This isn’t a way to live life and this extends to everyone. No one should have to look over their shoulder. This should be no one’s human experience.

Part of the influence on the pivot in my own experience was the marriage equality referendum in Ireland in 2015. This movement was a huge pivot for me in questioning myself on how I wanted to be in the world with respect to pushing for change with respect to LGBT+ issues. Our small, but an independent republic, steeped in a history of oppression, came together as the first country in the world to pass marriage equality by popular vote in which 62% of the population said ‘yes’ to LGBT+ equality. This could only have happened as a result of some very hard work over the last 15 years by relentless campaigners and supporters. Hugely monumental considering homosexuality was only decriminalized in Ireland in 1993. The Monday morning after the ‘Yes’ vote as above, I walked into the office and was immediately embraced by several colleagues, many of whom said they either voted yes for me or were thinking about me all weekend. This was such a show of solidarity that I will never forget.

This experience was enhanced when I joined HPE. I found encouragement, support, allyship, and reminders throughout the company that I am valued unconditionally and with no contingencies. This to me is true inclusion. This should be the human experience we should all be looking to extend to every single person.

This Pride month reminds us to reflect on our history. Those who have come before us who have given their lives so that we can walk openly through the streets holding hands with a significant other. But this is not the case everywhere of course. This Pride month, look out how you can challenge even further, speak even louder and stand and push for better for everyone.

There is so much value in being part of a network, externally and internally. I strongly encourage all of us to expand our learning about unknown areas of inclusion. Read more. Join an ERG. Get involved. Be part of something.

You Have Been Paid For. It was Maya Angelou who said that each of us has been paid for by those who came before us, and so therefore it is our duty to pay for those who are yet to come.

Michael Lopez
VP and Chief Diversity Officer
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Shane O'Brien, HPEShane O'Brien, HPEInterviewee
Shane O’Brien is HPE’s HR Lead to Ireland Managing Director, counts with more than 12 years of experience within Human Resources, and considers himself an HR lead, a talent enabler, and storyteller. Shane is particularly excited by business transformation, culture evolution, and stepping outside of convention and tradition.

Stay connected to Shane via LinkedIn and if you are interested in learning more bout HPE Culture and career opportunities, stop by HPE Careers pages explore our openings and join the team today!




About the Author


Michael drives the strategies that foster an inclusive experience for HPE employees and diversify our workforce to position the company for success today and tomorrow.