I’m the Global HR Business Partner for Resources. I’ve been in HR all my career and working with Accenture for 26 years and it has been about 16 years since we started the LGBT network.
In the early days, before we had an official network things were very informal. We went for drinks together but the group wasn’t publicised or official. After the launch, to gain interest and help the network grow, one of the early things that we did was sponsor the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in London. The first time we were official sponsors was very visible and it was the start of us showing our presence in this space — and having a confident, strong voice around LGBT issues. It’s a big deal to me to see what was initially a small group really grow and develop to be the amazing network that it is today.
Accenture’s Inclusion and Diversity approach has helped me be a lot more confident in myself. Pushing the envelope on the way we support our LGBT community has made me think there are lots of things that are possible if we try. The effect on my career has been that I feel supported in the workplace and much more able to be myself.
When people are open about themselves, they open-up their minds. And if someone tells you that they’re gay, you make stronger connections with them because they’ve been open and honest. In my role, for example, it has changed the dynamic of some of my internal and external supplier relationships – making my connections with people more authentic. I think it has strengthened my relationships with other people at work.
An inclusive culture is something we should all strive for. I don’t define myself as just one thing… I’m a woman, I’m gay, I’m Scottish by origin but a Londoner in my heart. I define myself in lots of different ways. I think not all of them are that obvious to people.
If I were with a new candidate who was LGBT the first thing I would advise them is to make sure this is the sort of business that they want to be in. If they are interested in the work that we do, then there is no better place to do it as somebody who is gay.