In London, OutWOMEN senior leaders discuss the state of inclusion

More than 100 LGBT+ business leaders gathered in October 2018 in London for Out Leadership’s 7th annual  Europe LGBT+ Senior Leader Summit, sponsored by HSBC and Hogan Lovells.

The OutWOMEN Breakfast commenced as the second session of the summit, drawing over 100 LGBT+ out women business leaders and emerging talent. OutWOMEN is a talent accelerator dedicated to convening and celebrating LGBT+ women in business.

In a panel discussion, OutWOMEN leaders shared a conversation about the state of inclusion for LBGT+ women, and the work that companies can do to make inclusion goals a reality.

Shamina Singh, Executive Vice President, Sustainability & President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth said:

“It’s our obligation to vote as citizens and we’re going to do that. But we have an obligation and an opportunity as leaders in the private sector side to effect change—what are the levers that we have as private sector companies to provide stability globally, leadership locally, and advancement for our employees, so that regardless of what happens our people have what they need to survive and thrive?”

Maggie Brereton, Head of Transaction Services and Board Member, KPMG said:

“Twenty years ago I wasn’t even allowed to wear a trouser suit. Sitting here today with this sort of forum is brilliant, and in about five years I hope we’ll be having a different conversation, more about business, rather than our continued striving for equality.

For KPMG and for other organizations to have genuinely have diversity and inclusion as an agenda item at the board level, as a really important aspect to our policy, is absolutely cake. Had you asked me 20 years ago if this would be the case? I would not have thought so at all.”

Isobel Sheldon, Director – Technical Market Development, Cummins Electrified Power said:

“For me it’s very much the multi-layered thing for me to be out in the work environment and out in society—the learned skills that I’ve had over the past four and half years since my transition, my identifying as lesbian, and actually being trans. I don’t identify as trans, I am. This is not a choice, this is not a expression for me. I used to live my life as a male, and now I live my life as a female.“

“I’ve actually come out of it really well and more successful than I was before. I have a bigger salary, I sit in a position of more influence. Rather than just being an innovator I’m actually a leader in business now, as well. So, all around it’s been a really, really positive experience for me, and I’m a much happier person for it.”

Roxana Chu, E-Trading Implementations Manager, Bloomberg said:

“From a personal experience, my productiveness increased by 25 percent after my transition. That’s measurable. I became a role model for other upcoming people that wanted to be more authentic in the workplace. And driving the whole culture back to the boardroom, they see the benefit of authenticity. They wanted to do more because they realized that the investment in diversity and inclusion has benefit beyond just donating funds or opening up recruitment, it has measurable return as far as their employees’ productivity.”