Stephan Horn-Janson is 36 years old and married to Mark Janson-Horn. He has worked at Rabobank since 2012, and is currently Scrum Master in the Human Resources department. He is also on the board of Rainbow, the employee network run by and for Rabobank colleagues who identify as part of the LGBT+ community.
What is Rainbow?
“We are an in-house employee network for LGBT+ colleagues at Rabobank. We started as an employee initiative eleven years ago. At the time, our greatest wish was to sail a Rabobank boat on the Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade. We ended up taking part for two years. Now we use a wildcard to lend the boat to an organization that doesn’t have sufficient budget for its own boat, like Stichting Meer dan Gewenst, a foundation for rainbow families. This year the wildcard went to Staatsbosbeheer (the Dutch Forestry) to advocate for forest rangers who are too afraid to come out.
Since starting Rainbow, we have worked with the Rabobank Managing Board to determine how we can dedicate more time and attention to the subject. One of our achievements was to organize gender-neutral restrooms at our headquarters. Another was to give employees a gender-neutral salutation for internal communication.”
What is Rabobank’s role in all this?
“In addition to Rainbow, there are many other employee networks, like JongRabo, RaboWomen, Kleurrijk Rabo, and so on. We organize all kinds of things with the members and boards of these groups. Rabobank supports our projects by giving us a budget and the right connections within the bank. It’s fantastic to see how it’s becoming more active throughout the organization. The Communications and Corporate Affairs department is even approaching us now about different creative initiatives. One example is the idea to use a special pride version of the Rabobank logo on our social media during Pride Month. Last year the Club Support campaign gave the LGBT sport club Ketelbinkie a financial contribution from Rabobank to refresh the club’s approach and policies.”
What did you learn from your term on the board?
“By becoming a member of Rainbow, I have created a big network for myself. And I’ve made many new friends in the organization and beyond it. I became an active member of Rainbow when I worked at the Local Rabobank in Rotterdam. I got to know other colleagues at headquarters through that. That proved very useful when I was interviewing for my job here.
As a board member, you learn how to plan and organize events. We have regular meetings, cocktail hours, and knowledge sessions. An example of the latter is Ellie Lust’s presentation about her experience working on the police force and about starting up the Roze in Blauw (Rose in Blue) group. By connecting with different organizations, we learn a great deal from each other’s way of working.
It’s easy for me to combine my involvement in Rainbow with my Scrum Master role. I have a lot of freedom in that respect. I usually spend about 10 percent of my working hours, sometimes a little more, on Rainbow. The rest of my time goes to coaching HR teams about agile working at Rabobank. It’s amazing to see how we keep improving. Our colleagues are taking purposeful steps towards working smarter and with more agility. While always keeping the client centerstage.”
Where do you see Rainbow in the future?
“I can’t change the world. But it is important that everyone within the four walls of Rabobank accepts one another, and for all employees to be themselves. I hope that one day we won’t be needed anymore, because everything will be acknowledged, accepted, and perfectly fine. A good next step would be to adjust the way we communicate with clients. By offering a gender-neutral option. That will be no easy task because of the bank’s complex systems. Another thing we will be doing is telling new colleagues about the Rainbow network during onboarding. So I really hope to see lots of new, active members. And who knows? Maybe some new board members.”