January 31, 2017
A Snazzy Lanyard
By: Ami Shirley

Hi again! :) Now you know what I’m up to on a day-to-day basis, I thought I’d share some “extra-curricular” activities that I’ve taken part in. I’ve signed up as an LGBT Ally and a Mental Health Ally and got a snazzy lanyard that is half purple (Mental Health), and half rainbow (LGBT)! The lanyards are a great way to spot someone available to chat about LGBT and Mental Health issues, plus they can start important conversations.

I signed up to be an LGBT Ally during my A1 Training, after a short session run by the Inclusion and Diversity team. They shared some stories from Accenture employees (both good and bad) and opened a discussion about why LGBT Allies are needed and what they can do. There’s no special training to become one, no certificate in LGBT-ness or requirement to identify as LGBT; it is about being available to support others and discuss the importance of a diverse workplace. If there’s no diversity in our workforce, how can clients be confident that their business and customers are understood? There is a diversity of skills in almost all teams in any organisation - including a diversity of backgrounds, lifestyles, cultures and values can put those skills to much better use! To quote a cheesy line from somewhere: variety is the spice of life…

Mental Health Ally training was a little different –the Mental Health Ally scheme is newer than the LGBT Allies programme but is gaining great momentum as more and more employees are becoming trained; Mental Health is sometimes still a taboo subject that people are not comfortable discussing at work. This is something particularly important to me, as I have had to work hard with my own mental health, dealing with anxiety and depression at various points; being able to speak openly about it is crucial to your own wellbeing, as well showing others that they’re not alone and the MHA programme helps support this.

If and when you do join Accenture, I would encourage you to sign up to one or both of the Ally schemes, or even find one wherever you work/study now - the discussions you have with others can give some interesting new perspectives on all sorts of things!

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