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Global Voices: Community and Visibility Can Lead to Change

As we celebrate Pride Month, Bart Reuvekamp reflected on his love of history, his role at UL Solutions and the importance of PRIDE UL and the community it fosters.

Bart Reuvenkamp stands in front of mural in black t-shirt.

June 28, 2023

At UL Solutions, we believe in fostering a diverse and inclusive community where customers and colleagues feel welcome and safe. As many countries celebrate Pride Month in June, we support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) communities around the world.

While we celebrate the freedom to live authentically, it’s an appropriate time to introduce our Global Voices series. Previously known as Drivers of Innovation, Global Voices highlights talented UL Solutions employees worldwide by sharing their unique career journeys, celebrations, essential work and more.

We recently spoke with Bart Reuvekamp, an advisor with UL Solutions’ Identity Management and Security group. Read more about Bart’s journey from studying history to working in information technology and his thoughts on the PRIDE UL business resource group.

Please tell us about your background.

I’ve lived in the Netherlands my whole life. I moved from a small town to Amsterdam for university and have been here for about ten years now.

I started at a technical university but moved to Amsterdam to study history. I wanted to learn as much as possible, to try to understand the world better. It was also important to me that school was about something I truly enjoy.

How did you become interested in working in information technology (IT)?

I earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history. I started working for a research project, intending to get my doctorate in history as well. However, that’s when I realized this path wasn’t right for me.

I had been working for a payment processor during my studies. And, as much as I love history, I decided IT was a better fit for my career. I like working on new, innovative technologies. I feel like I’m helping to make life easier with technology, and it’s nice to make a little bit of a difference.

What brought you to UL Solutions?

I made the full-time switch to fintech — financial technology — about four years ago, working at a start-up bank at first. Then I moved to UL Solutions. I’ve been here with the IMS group (Identity Management and Security) for about a year and a half, working in the field of transit payments.

It’s my first corporate position. At my last job at the start-up, I felt like I was missing the knowledge that comes with an established company. I’m still amazed at how much people know and what I can learn at UL Solutions.

What do you enjoy about working for UL Solutions?

As part of my daily job, I get to visit different companies. We’re all working on the same technologies, but the ways of working are so different. It’s fascinating to see how people approach it.

I also like that I get to see such immediate results. This technology has been adopted quickly. And with history, you don’t see results so soon.

UL Solutions offers the opportunity to continue expanding my knowledge about payments. With the projects I work on and with specialized training, this job allows me to learn something new every day.  

How has being a part of the PRIDE business resource group (BRG) impacted you and/or the community?

I’ve been involved with PRIDE UL since I joined the company. In September 2022, I became one of the European chairs. I stepped in as one of the global chairs in April. We want to expand our reach to employees outside North America. We’re trying to professionalize the group and lead to a more inclusive culture at UL Solutions.

I never saw myself as an activist before. When I joined UL Solutions, I felt a pull to help get something bigger done. It’s been gratifying for me to be so active in this BRG. There’s a lot that still needs to be done. It’s motivating for me to work with PRIDE UL alongside my daily job. It’s helping to boost me, to be excited to wake up and get to work each day.

The group has helped make me more aware of where I stand and how I am part of the community. I wasn’t involved much before. Joining PRIDE UL made me see how much still needs to be done and how I can make a difference by showing that I’m part of the community within the organization.

I love that my company tells people you can be who you are at work. That is a powerful message from a global company.

Why do you think Pride Month is important?

With my background in history, I recognize how important it is to remember where we came from. We should honor the people who made change happen to help us get where we are today.

Pride Month is still about making more changes. We are not where we need to be. So, it’s essential to have this month to keep talking about what needs to be accomplished. It’s not simply about changing logos or selling branded clothing. But even those things make a difference by showing that the LGBTQ+ community is welcome here. Visibility is crucial.

We have Pride Week in August in Amsterdam. But Pride Month in June is becoming more recognized globally because the corporate world has adopted it.

How can we encourage more young people to engage in STEM education and careers?

I think the first step is to create a really good work environment. Groups like PRIDE UL show people they can be part of our community and be in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies and careers. STEM is attractive to the LGBTQ+ community, although it may not typically be associated with STEM. Everyone is different and should follow their interests. We can show students that anybody can be anything. No one is tied to being a certain way or doing particular things.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Having grown up in the Netherlands, I never really had to think about some of the issues. But even here, a fairly broad-minded area, the LGBTQ+ community faces challenges. There are struggles. People still watch over their shoulders when holding hands and walking down the street.

Some people think about Pride activism but only think of extravagant, colorful parades. It’s critical to show that that’s not all of it. For example, you can be part of the LGBTQ+ community and work an IT job. LGBTQ+ people are living their daily lives like everyone does.

What I love so much about PRIDE UL is not simply that we’re making a change for the company but also that we’re a community helping each other out. It feels like a safe space. I wish that everybody could be like we are within the group. Everyone has had their share of issues, and we all know that. It makes us kinder with each other because we all know that, one way or another, everybody has struggled a bit. It’s a shared experience in the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s been wonderful to be a part of this BRG. I hope we are making a change and can be there for everybody. Even if someone is not part of the group, not ready to join, hopefully, they find comfort in knowing that PRIDE UL is here. We are there for people, and that makes a difference.