myGwork talked to David from Marsh to find more about his role as co-chair of an LGBT+ network.
David Mayl is a Client Executive at Jelf/Marsh, responsible for building and maintaining relationships with key clients and advising on their insurance and risk management and has held the position of Co-chair within the [email protected] LGBT+ network for 12 months.
David, why do you think an LGBT+ employee resource group is necessary?
Whilst an LGBT+ employee network should not be needed, there is still inequality and prejudice in the workplace. It is important to provide a support network to LGBT+ colleagues as well as work with the business to foster an inclusive culture within the business.
Were you part of an LGBT+ network before running it? Why did you decide to get more involved?
I joined the LGBT+ network approximately 6 months prior to being asked to become Co-chair
How do you think being an LGBT+ officer is linked to being a role model?
Being an LGBT+ officer makes you more visible in your workplace. Whether you are aware of it or not, you do become a role model within the business. It is important to acknowledge this, lead by example and be an advocate for all LGBT+ colleagues.
In your opinion, how could being part of a network help newbies integrate within an organisation?
For new joiners to the business, being part of the network can provide new friends and a sense of belonging. It can help with understanding the culture of the business and the support network.
How dod you celebrated Pride this year and what activities have you planned for the following months?
We celebrated Pride Month in June, with the business social media channels profiling LGBT+ colleagues and the importance of Allies. We also attended Pride parades across the country including London, Norwich, Leeds, Manchester and Belfast. In the next month, we are hosting an LGBT+ film night and a seminar on LGBT+ parenting
Which have been your main achievements as part of the LGBT+ network?
This year, we have entered the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index for the first time. We have refocused the steering committee of the LGBT+ network and have set out our three-year strategy starting in 2020. We have engaged with our Executive Committee and Diversity & Inclusion is now higher up the agenda.
What are your main goals for the network this year?
Our main goals are to be colleague focused, a confidential support to LGBT+ colleagues, to provide a full Allies programme and to enhance the regional presence of the network.
Which have been the main challenges running the network?
The main challenge is to have a committed committee, as the workload can end up on the shoulders of the co-chairs. Whilst there is buy-in at the executive level, middle management can sometimes be a blocker to what the network is trying to achieve.
Do you have any sponsors from the management team? What would be your tips to get funding?
We have an executive sponsor who is able to open doors in the business and is a strong advocate for the network. As a network, we produce a business plan which details our objectives for the next year. The best advice is to be punchy and aim high, however, ensure you can back up the requested funding with a strong business rational and return on investment, be it financial or colleague engagement.