Tell us about your role at Gallagher
I joined Gallagher in 2007 initially to manage compliance for our then fledgling international operations. Prior to Gallagher, I spent 9 years at the Financial Services Authority, latterly managing the London Market and Regional Insurance Brokers team. My career began at the Bank of England.
How has being involved with the LGBTQ community influenced your world view?
I have a wide circle of friends, many of whom have come about through work and my husband’s involvement in gay and gay friendly football in East London. Lots of gay people still have to make difficult choices at an early age and you’d be surprised at the number of young people who still have to live a double life, often hiding their sexual orientation from family and friends. Both work and sport (and how each of us behave generally) have the capacity to create a safe environment and culture which enables natural role models to emerge. Other people are able to see that they too can be open about their sexual orientation if they want to be. That was my path: I found inspiring role models at work which enabled me to feel less fearful about finally opening up to my family. I needn’t have been fearful, it wasn’t a big deal for my family but that’s not everyone’s experience. There’s no single right way of doing it, it’s a very individual and complicated journey.
How has being involved with, or impacted by the LGBTQ community influenced your world view, or the way you do business, and/or how have your views changed after learning about someone you love being part of the LGBTQ community?
It has shown me how overwhelmingly kind and compassionate most people are; and it inspires me to play my own part in creating a more tolerant culture where people feel safe to be themselves. One of my role models was a young man who sadly died of cancer in 2017. He was one of the funniest guys you would ever want to meet and, most importantly, was himself in every waking moment – even in very difficult times. I recently read an article that said “Let your cracks emerge or you’ll stop taking risks and you won’t learn anything”. It reminded me of his complete openness, compassion and zest for life and how this touched and inspired others as it does me.
Why is Pride month important to celebrate?
Pride matters because it provides opportunities for everyone to have a safe place to express themselves.
What actions can colleagues take to ensure their LGBTQ colleagues, clients and community feel included every day – not just during Pride month?
The best employers, like Gallagher, recognise the value of creating a workplace culture which naturally enables all role models to emerge. Regardless of whether this is driven by sexual orientation or anything else. Having roles models is important as it shows others you can be who you are. That culture transcends beyond the workplace into our everyday lives and how we behave towards others.