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Out Leadership - Europe OutNEXT Salon

October 8, 2018

On October 8, 2018, Covington’s Diversity Committee in London sent representatives to attend Out Leadership’s “Europe OutNEXT Salon” focusing on LGBT issues for junior professionals. The speakers included Todd Sears (Founder of Out Leadership), Hugo Greenhalgh (Editor of Openly, an LGBT+ news site), Jon Terry (Partner at PwC), Andy Woodfield (Partner at PwC), Hayley Sudbury (CEO of WERKIN) and Pierre Gaubert (CEO of myGwork).

Topics discussed included:

  • how technology can help companies and firms recruit LGBT professionals as well as expand and implement diversity initiatives across a network of offices;
  • how being “out” at work affects one’s career;
  • how masking one’s LGBT identity at work (or “covering”) affects the visibility of LGBT professionals;
  • the particular industries and situations in which being an “out” LGBT professional may seem more daunting; and
  • the business case for companies and firms to foster a culture of inclusion for LGBT individuals and encourage them to create networks that become lucrative.

Discussion amongst the panelists and attendees was dynamic, with issues such as who should take responsibility for LGBT inclusion being debated. Panelists brought their own perspectives from a range of industries on how to foster LGBT inclusion in the workplace. Discussion around the use of technology was particularly interesting with Hayley Sudbury discussing the ability of software to measure company workflow and flag opportunities to enhance diversity. Pierre Gaubert presented the ability of LGBT-focused social recruitment platforms to create LGBT networks and support systems.

Todd Sears and Jon Terry also presented PwC’s “Out to Succeed” research survey (available here: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/people-organisation/pdf/outnext-survey.pdf). Significantly, 98% of survey participants considered employer commitment to LGBT policies either somewhat or very important. The survey also highlights current issues surrounding LGBT inclusion in the workplace and puts forward a business case for companies to promote LGBT initiatives. Panelists and attendees engaged in lively discussion around the ways companies can leverage LGBT inclusion to create networks that bring a business advantage.

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