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Helping everyone bring their whole selves to work - Chris Stening, Consumer Director

Category: testimonial, LGBT+, Staff Networks, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, staff network group, CityFibre


Chris Stening, Consumer Director

At CityFibre, we want to nurture an accepting and inclusive culture for everyone, regardless of their background. We know that diversity of thought brings innovation and we want everyone to feel empowered to create an inclusive workplace and ensure that we all have a voice. That’s why we’re launching our new Employee Networks, to continue making CityFibre an organisation where everyone feels their opinion is important and valued.

Chris will be leading our LGBT+ Employee Network, so we had a chat with him about his aims for the group and why he’s chosen to get involved.

Chris, tell us a bit about yourself

I’ve worked at CityFibre for three years. As the Consumer Director, I’m responsible for all our Commercial City teams and City Marketing teams, as well as all of the in-life consumer ISP relationships. Before I came here, I was the Transformation Director for O2, as well as the Executive Sponsor of their LGBT network, which is why I was keen to get involved at CityFibre. Personally, I am gay, and have been married to my husband Alistair for six years.

What attracted you to CityFibre?

I knew about CityFibre through Terry Hart, our former CFO and from when I ran O2 Wholesale. At that point it was a small and vibrant company, I like building new things and it was an interesting challenge. CityFibre is no longer a small company but it remains vibrant and has a wonderful sense of purpose. We’re building the future of the UK for our children and grandchildren. I have two teenage daughters and for me, this is leaving them a legacy.

Why are Employee Networks so important?

There are lots of reasons. A lot of LGBT+ people who are ‘out’ at University actually go back into the closet when they start work. There’s still a lot of discrimination, particularly for Trans people. Having an Employee Network signals that we’re accepting of LGBT+ people and that they can be themselves here. If you can create an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work, then you get the best out of them. I know I’ve formed better connections with colleagues by being open about who I am. We’ve got 16 volunteers so far, including people who identify as LGBT+ and people who don’t, and that’s really important. With a lot of D&I networks, people say “I’m not x, y, z, so I can’t be part of it” but that’s not the case. Allies are just as important and key to drive change while many people get involved with networks to better support friends and family.

What will make your Network successful?

The first thing is just being there and being visible. Participating in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index is a great way to drive positive change. It helps us understand what we need to do to improve. But it’s not about where we rank, it’s about making CityFibre a better place for people to work. We’re going to have some fun too, and it would be great to join forces in our cities with some of our ISP partners for Pride events.

What else have you got planned for the Network?

We have signed up with Stonewall as Diversity Champions and are already building a team and a plan around forming a Network and focusing on Stonewall activities.  Something we need to figure out is how we can foster the ‘social’ aspect of the Network while being spread across different locations.

Chris is the leader of our new LGBT+ Employee Network, which aims to make CityFibre an even more inclusive workplace and somewhere everyone can be themselves. We look forward to seeing how the network progresses.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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