Voices of Agoda Pride 2024

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To celebrate Pride Month, we’re sharing stories from members of our Agoda Pride community on solidarity, acceptance, and what this time of year means for them. 

Agoda Pride is our company’s official Employee Resource Group (ERG) for LGBTQ+ members, allies, and advocates. The ERG has a leadership board made up of volunteers and stands for community-building and advocacy, with a vision of creating a safe environment where LGBTQ+ employees and allies can thrive and bring their authentic selves to work.  

Fully embracing who I am

Agoda Pride Pitichoke Chulapamornsri

Pitichoke Chulapamornsri
Senior Director of Marketing Innovation
Agoda Pride ERG Executive Sponsor

“Pride means fully embracing and being proud of who I am. My first job after college was at a well-established investment bank. At work, I hid part of who I was. I was always self-conscious about the way I dressed, the way I talked, and even my hand gestures. It was exhausting. Even simple questions about my weekend plans filled me with anxiety.

When a Managing Director who was proudly out joined our office, I suddenly had a role model to look up to. I saw that it was possible to be true to yourself and still succeed. The establishment of the LGBT Employee Resource Group helped with my coming out process. Now, being out means I can finally be open and honest. I don’t have to waste my energy trying to be what I’m not and can fully focus on my work instead.

In 2023, I became a founding Co-Executive Sponsor of the Agoda Pride ERG. It’s an honor to help drive our mission of creating an environment where all employees can truly be themselves. Through educational and social activities, we foster a supportive community and gather feedback to make Agoda even more inclusive.

Personally, one of my proudest moments at Agoda was spearheading our sponsorship to be the official online travel partner of Bangkok Pride. Bangkok is Agoda’s biggest office, and as a Thai, it’s incredible to see this support for our local community.”

A respectful environment for everyone

Noey Kongdara

Noey Kongdara
Customer Experience Specialist
Agoda Pride ERG Member

“Pride means showing who we are and who we want to be. For me, it’s about being confident in my identity and seeing the world become more accepting, especially with Thailand on its way to legalizing same-sex marriage soon! Today’s generation is more confident and open about being LGBTQIA+ than ever. 

At Agoda, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could claim our employee benefits program, Agoda Choice, for my partner even though we’re not legally married yet. This policy shows the company is serious about equality and creating a respectful environment for everyone. As a result, I feel incredibly comfortable being myself at work, and I hope everyone can experience that for themselves. Hiding who you are only leads to stress and unhappiness. 

The progress made by the Agoda Pride Employee Resource Group shows that Agoda values all genders and sexualities. I’m proud to be part of a community that supports and uplifts each other.” 

Advocating for equality

Agoda Pride Tim Hughes

Tim Hughes
Vice President of Corporate Development
Agoda Pride ERG Executive Sponsor

Being an ally is deeply personal to me. As the son of two gay dads and proud parent of an LGBTQIA+ child, I’ve witnessed the pain that discrimination causes. Friends losing jobs, being cut off from family, being denied medical care, or facing violence just for being themselves. Being LGBTQIA+ is as natural as any other human trait. No one should have to hide who they are.

I became an Executive Sponsor of the Agoda Pride Employee Resource Group to give our LGBTQIA+ staff and their families the respect and equality they deserve. The ERG drives awareness and advocates for necessary policy adjustments, ensuring that the group’s efforts are global and backed by the C-suite to make a real impact.

In the past, Agodans had to get manager approval for their flexible employee benefits which cover wellness and learning. We successfully advocated to change this policy and give employees greater privacy and control over their healthcare information. Since the group’s founding, we’ve also established partnerships with local organizations like APCOM and Pride at Work Thailand, and joined the Out and Equal Summit, and helped Agoda become an official partner of Bangkok Pride. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved so far across our offices and the world.

Within this group, I’ve connected with colleagues from places still struggling with discrimination, reminding me that our work is far from done. Pride is about celebration, acknowledgment, and love for all.”

Building supportive communities

James Keiyo

James Keiyo
Work Force Management – Real Time Specialist
Agoda Pride ERG Comms

“Growing up in an environment that wasn’t always LGBTQIA+ friendly, I often felt alone and misunderstood. Everything changed at university, where I found mentors and friends who helped me navigate my identity. When I came out to my family, their positive response showed me the power of love and acceptance. As time went on, I realized many LGBTQIA+ people face similar struggles, which deepened my commitment to advocacy.

Joining the Agoda Pride Employee Resource Group was another turning point. Our mission is to make Agoda a place where everyone can thrive, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Together, we raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, create educational opportunities, and celebrate our diverse identities.

I focus on graphic design, coordinating events, and driving awareness campaigns. It’s incredible to see the positive impact of our efforts, from increased event participation to changes in company policy. At Agoda, I’ve found not just a workplace but a safe space to be my authentic self.”

Learning that it’s okay to be different

Agoda Pride Teetawat

Teetawat Khammeeswang
Internal Communications Specialist
Agoda Pride ERG

“For so many years, I struggled with being comfortable in my skin due to fear of judgment. As a child, I was often ridiculed for being ‘too soft,’ which made me question if something was wrong with me. Back then, I misunderstood Pride, thinking it was about seeking attention. With time, I realized that Pride is about love and acceptance. That flipped a switch in my head and changed how I view myself. Now, instead of anguishing over my actions, I learn to love myself as well as others, and I accept that it’s okay to be different. Only you can define who you are.

Before joining Agoda, I never felt included anywhere. But here, I found genuine support, especially within the Internal Communications & Engagement team, who support my growth and help me celebrate every milestone. They showed me that it’s never too late to find people you can trust and care about. Seeing others succeed by being unapologetically themselves at this company inspires me.

I’m truly grateful that Agoda has so many supportive communities that you can rely on, and one of them is the Agoda Pride Employee Resource Group. Being part of the ERG means that I’m helping to shape a better workplace for everyone. Whether you’re a member of the community or an ally, there’s a place for you here.

Earlier this year, we helped to pack safety kits for LGBTQIA+ people and attended a talk on STI prevention with a doctor. Despite being mainly educational, I had a great time being part of these events, contributing to our community and making a positive impact.”

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