It all started in 1969 with a brick and a trans woman named Marsha P. Johnson. Since the Stonewall riots began in New York City, pride celebrations were born worldwide, laws have been repealed, and many spaces have become a little safer for those in the LGBTQIA++ community.

This year in honor of Pride Month, KUDO is proud to celebrate some of our talented team members from the LGTBQIA++ community. We sat down (digitally) with LGBTQ ally Janeth Becerra, Lynn Hagen, and Jordan Washington to talk about their start in the tech world, their experiences working at KUDO, and what they envision for a language barrier-free future.

“It’s very encouraging to see that CEOs worldwide are recognizing their LGBTQ+ team members during Pride month by adding rainbows to their logos and campaigns to show support. However, in my humble opinion, a month isn’t enough. Celebrating LGBTQ+ employees shouldn’t be a novelty celebration. At KUDO, Pride is in our DNA, we celebrate Pride every day within our team and within our logo. I understand that it takes time to get there, but it’s very important for business leaders to get onboard and to start making their employees feel accepted, respected, and celebrated 365 days of the year.”

– Fardad Zabetian, CEO and Co-Founder of KUDO

Janeth Becerra

Language Lead for the Americas

Hometown: Mexico City
Languages Spoken: Spanish, English, French

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How and when did you get into tech/interpretation?

It’s been 10 years since I dove into interpreting for the first time. I had always been passionate about languages and social sciences, and I stumbled upon a curriculum from ISIT – Instituto Superior de Intérpretes y Traductores. I immediately fell in love with the array of social, cultural, political, scientific topics to study and their relation to interpreting.

How long have you been with KUDO? What’s your experience been like so far?

One year and two months, but I started as an intern in NY back in 2018 for 4 months. This ever-learning journey has been incredibly exciting! Working with an outstanding team at the forefront of multilingual online meetings with the sole aim of breaking down language barriers internationally could not be any better.

What does a language barrier free future look like for you?

It is a future where everyone speaks their own mind and hearts in their native language, that is when real communication truly happens!

Lynn Hagen

Digital Marketing Specialist

Hometown: Berlicum, Netherlands
Languages Spoken: Dutch, English, German

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How and when did you get into tech/interpretation?

KUDO is my first job within this industry. I previously worked in more of an entertainment industry – so working for KUDO is a very different experience. What attracted me to start working here was being able to really be part of a journey and make a difference with a product that can really be instrumental in the development of business all around the world.

How long have you been with KUDO? What’s your experience been like so far?

I officially started with KUDO’s sister company Conference Rental back in January of 2020. However, due to the pandemic I switched over to KUDO a few months in. I’m very happy working for KUDO so far, it was definitely very hectic in the beginning working in a start-up experiencing hyper growth. But that has given me the ability to gain a lot of knowledge and experience in aspects I hadn’t previously and kind of shape my own path within the company.

What does a language barrier free future look like for you?

A language barrier free future to me would look like being able to speak to anyone no matter what language they speak, not just in meetings but for more personal reasons as well. Moving to a different country and having my family be in my native country not speaking other languages, it would be great to be able to introduce them to new people in my life through video calls, especially in a pandemic or just because of the distance. KUDO recognizes these needs and is actively working on realizing them. Which is why I’m very happy to be a part of the journey.

Jordan Washington

Content Marketing Specialist

Hometown: Windsor, Ontario
Languages Spoken: English, French

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How and when did you get into tech/interpretation?

KUDO is my first job within the interpretation industry. I was previously working at startups in the travel world and before that I was working in the entertainment industry. Even when I was working in the travel startup space, I was proud to work for companies that were actively working toward a greater good (in these specific cases- sustainable travel). It’s important to me that I’m working at a company that contributes to making the world a better place. Naturally, KUDO was an easy transition.

How long have you been with KUDO? What’s your experience been like so far?

Working for KUDO has been great! I joined early December and hit the ground running. I’ve never worked remotely before so that took some getting used to, but I’ve really been enjoying it. I’ve learned so much about the interpretation world, it truly is fascinating to me. I’ve also had the opportunity to work closely with our CEO Fardad and our VP of Marketing Rebecca, both of whom are incredibly knowledgeable in their fields. I feel lucky to be working on a team that is so diverse and talented.

What does a language barrier free future look like for you?

A future where everyone can communicate and be understood. Living in France and speaking French as a second language, I’ve really come to recognize the difference between being able to communicate and being understood. I would love to see KUDO in medical spaces specifically. Struggling to be truly understood only adds to the unpleasantness of visiting the doctor in a foreign country.

What is it like working in a male-dominated field?

I grew up in a household with two brothers and two sisters. We were raised with equality; my brothers are outstanding cooks, and my sisters are outdoor sportswomen. My parents coached our swim team, so we all worked out together and competed together. It wasn’t until I got into college and then joined the workforce that I learned there were vast gender differences in the real world. I tend to view people through a particular lens – by their hearts, their minds and their actions. A quality person is a quality person. And I have been fortunate to have worked with many quality people across the gender spectrum.

Today we celebrate Pride month keeping in mind both how far we’ve come, and how much further we have to go. While we have made great advancements when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights worldwide, as of today:

  • 29 out of 195 countries have legalized same-sex marriage
  • homosexuality is criminalized in 69 countries
  • 55% of trans women experience discrimination against hiring

For the LGBTQ+ employees at KUDO, we are grateful to work in an accepting environment with a leadership team that is enthusiastic about diversity in every way. We are also excited to be a part of a global team that works daily to help people understand each other by breaking language barriers. Afterall, ‘equal rights’ sounds good in any language.

 

Sources: Statista, BBC, Wikipedia