On Wednesday 7th February 2018, VERCIDA partnered with VERCIDA Consulting to organise what was a successful event hosted by Lendlease.
This event was centred around LGBT inclusion and more specifically 'Exploring the True Nature of LGBT Inclusion at Work'. The event was led by Dan Robertson, Director of VERCIDA Consulting, who gave a brief timeline of modern LGBT history before directing some questions towards our panel of guest speakers. The panel included:
- Lucile Kamar, Diversity & Inclusion Manager from Lendlease
- Leng Montgomery, Diversity & Inclusion Executive from Sainsbury’s
- Geff Parsons, Managing Director & Chair of Pride Network from Macquarie
- Matt Cameron, Co-Founder & Director of Ocean and Founder of LGBT Great and
- Georgina Marcantonio, Acting Head of Commercial Marketing & Co-Chair of ITV Pride.
Each panellist brought insight and experience to each question Dan asked. The majority of the discussion involved how we can further the awareness and education of the LBGT community to generate acceptance and understanding in a culture that is rapidly evolving; post Brexit referendum and Trump's America.
Lucile said "it is going to take more than legislation to create equality in the work place" she went on to add "attitudes need to change, we need to be calling out inappropriate 'banter' when we hear it".
Leng added "we need to act on what we say; to create a spotlight on the LGBT community" in order to be proactive in making workplaces more inclusive and accountable to what they say. Leng also spoke of "embrace the difference" at Sainsbury’s which encourages their employees to become inclusive and allows them to have something to identify with. "We need to keep asking questions and pushing boundaries, we still have a lot of work to do [in terms of LGBT equality]".
Geff explains that we need to educate at all levels and sponsor awareness events in order to strive forward. He reminds us that we cannot get "complacent" or forget how far we've come. However, this means we don't want to keep 'preaching to the converted' like young people and tech companies, we need to target construction companies and financial sectors etc that potentially need a push in the right direction.
Matt added "we are still going through an enlightenment period; it has only been 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and only 4 years since gay marriage was legalised [in England, Wales and Scotland]", but we still have a long way to go in order to break prejudice and discrimination. We need to inspire but also change the minds of people by breaking down unconscious bias.
Georgina said "my biggest fear is walking down the street holding my partners hand". Georgina believes we need to keep educating the masses and keeping encouraging people to be their "authentic self".
Overall, it was a very interesting and stimulating event; achieving the consensus that fundamentally there needs to be more education and awareness across the board, but more specifically at primary school age; in order to eradicate prejudice at a young age and then at senior levels, across stereotypically non-inclusive companies to make all levels of seniority aware of why equality in the work place is so beneficial. We still have a long way to go on the equality journey however, with events like this and initiatives like LGBT Great we are continuing to step in the right direction.
If anyone who attend the event, has any comments, feedback or questions please contact email@example.com.