Marriage equality crucial for attracting talent and embracing staff – tech leaders

16 Apr 2015

The Silicon Republic and GLEN hosted event saw industry leaders converge on the NDRC

Silicon Republic and GLEN hosted a panel discussion on Ireland’s upcoming marriage referendum, with creating an engaging, freeing culture in the workplace inherently aligned with a Yes vote.

Chaired by Silicon Republic editor-at-large Ann O’Dea, the panel included Stephen McIntyre, Twitter’s Ireland MD and vice-president of EMEA sales, Chris Horn, co-founder and former chair and CEO of IONA Technologies and John Hamill, CEO and co-founder of Vennetics.

It was Stephen, who penned an op-ed on the subject in today’s Irish Times, that kicked things off, discussing his company’s carefully constructed workplace culture.

“I think that the business culture that we’ve worked hard to achieve in Twitter in Dublin, and from what I’ve observed in companies in Silicon Valley, I just don’t think that’s consistent with anything but a Yes vote,” he said.

Queried by both Ann and the audience watching on, the trio discussed the potential effects on future funding, start-ups and even attracting talent from abroad, with a common theme throughout: a Yes vote is key.

“The critical asset is people. We really need to attract and attain the top people,” said Horn. “That’s all about the leadership and the environment we create for the people we get to work for us. These are giving us their best years […]

“As a country it’s so important we vote Yes. Anything else would be awful, sending out a terrible message.”

Vennetics, a Video on Demand software company based in Dublin, are even getting added benefits the day of the vote on 22 May.

“All the software developers in our business deal with software developers all over the world every day. We stand out as one of the countries that so far doesn’t have marriage equality,” argued Hamill. “Given the life stuff so frequently gets in the way, we will be giving all of our staff an extra half day’s leave the day of the referendum to get out and vote.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic