Marc Martin, Beazley

Marc Martin.jpg

What is your role?
Head of Specialty Lines Wordings

Mark's Story
I was born in Barcelona, Spain and studied law at the University of Barcelona. I moved to London in 2002 after finishing my law studies (even though I always wanted to be an actor!) in Barcelona to start a Masters Degree in International Business Law in London. During my studies in London I worked in a couple of West End theatres as an usher. This was one of the best personal experiences I have ever had. I was studying in the morning and working at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward) and the Donmar Warehouse. I spent a total of almost 3 years working in the West End. That is when I decided to take acting lessons in London and write my own scripts. This was a great time. I met so many people involved in the theatre and the arts and I learnt so much.

However, while trying to be an actor in London, I also needed to pay my bills so I found a job as a paralegal at a City Law Firm within the Insurance and Reinsurance Department. This is how I ended up in Insurance! To pay my bills while trying to be an actor in London!. During my time in the law firm I learned about insurance and reinsurance without giving up my dream of becoming an actor. While in the law firm, I became a qualified Solicitor in England and Wales. I am now working as a dual qualified Spanish and English lawyer.

After the City law firm, I moved to Lloyd’s Corporation and worked for the International Regulatory Affairs Department for almost 4 years. This was also a great experience where I learned everything about Lloyd’s, a unique experience. During my time at Lloyd’s, I joined a theatre group and made a British film directed by Plan B. The experience was great!

After Lloyd’s, I moved to Beazley to work as a Policy Wordings Attorney under the Specialty Lines Wordings team. I have now been at Beazley for 6 and half years. 4 years in the London office and 2 and half years in the NYC office. I moved to the NYC office in November 2015 and I am currently heading the Specialty Lines Wordings team globally. However, I haven’t given up my acting, I am still trying to act in NYC, doing some workshops and writing my own scripts (when I have the time!). I won’t stop until I get that Oscar nomination!

What factors allow you to bring your full self to work? 
a. How does your environment make you feel involved and included?

I have always felt that Beazley had an inclusive, collaborative and safe environment that supports respect and equality for everyone regarding of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Since the first months, I felt I could be myself and I have actually been myself without fear of being discriminated against. Beazley environment has made me feel comfortable enough to be out to everyone and being able to develop my career.

b. Do you think there is improvement needed?  What are your ideas?
There is always room for improvement. Beazley didn’t have an LGBT+ network and I believed it was time now to set up one. We are in the process of setting up PROUD@beazley LGBT+ Network. Every company needs an LGBT+ network  for visibility, inclusion, support and commitment to the LGBT+ community in and outside work. We need to show all employees and prospective employees that we are an inclusive and diverse company which promotes a safe environment and care about its employees and the community. 

Every time I started a new job, I had the fear of being discriminated against, fear of exclusion, fear of not having career opportunities. This is very stressful and no one should feel this fear anymore. We need to work together to avoid that fear.

What was your first motivation to be out at work and how has being out most positively influenced your experience?
I have been through difficult experiences during my professional career where I heard jokes, homophobic comments and the likes. In London I went from working in West End theatres where LGBT+ employees felt pretty safe to working in the Insurance and Reinsurance industry in the City of London where this wasn’t the case.

The first motivation to be out at work was realising the friendly and inclusive environment and colleagues. This made me feel comfortable and be out at work. This doesn’t happen in a couple of days, I needed to check the environment first, but it was very soon after I started at Beazley. Being completely out at work has diminished my fear, boosted my confidence, made me feel much motivated and being more efficient. This has allowed me to be more productive in my company, developed my career and create great relationships and friendships within my company.

Can you tell us how the business has been improved by LGBT+ people bringing the best of themselves to work?
Employees are more proactive when they are out at work and feel more comfortable and themselves. As I said earlier, when your work environment allows you to be yourself, you are more confident, motivated and efficient. Being inclusive and showing it, makes a company more profitable.

Do you have any advice for someone who isn't out at work yet?
Check if your company has a Diversity & Inclusion department and LGBT+ Network. If they do, contact them. They will be the best people to talk in a confidential manner and they will be able to give you advice. Whether you are not out at work or not out at all in or outside work.

If your company doesn’t have the above, and you are in the Insurance and Reinsurance industry, you can contact Link and join as a member. You will be able to meet the Insurance and Reinsurance LGBT+ community in London, talk to them and get support.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I was bullied at school for being “less masculine” than other guys or being interested in “girly” things. I was being called gay in a derogative way and other derogative words. That made go through a difficult process of acceptance, coming out as gay later than probably other LGBT+ people. This shaped my teenage life, even my professional career choices. I never told anyone I was gay, not even my closest friend until I was 23. I wish I had more LGBT role models back in the early 90s. When I came out, I was lucky,  my family and friends were all fine with it. My advice to my younger self would be: “Marc, tell your best friends and sisters how you feel, they are going to support you from the beginning and your acceptance process is going to be easier, even you can start your acting career now”

Can you describe the moment you realised you were a role model?
I have never thought about myself as a role model. After my presentation to Beazley about our upcoming and needed LGBT+ Network where I included some of my professional experiences and struggles, I received very nice emails from other Beazley employees (both LGBT and non LGBT) stating that they now understand the need of this type of network and the struggles and fears of LGBT people. All the emails were very supportive about creating not just an LGBT network but other employee resources groups that can help other minorities to break that fear and discrimination.

What do you do on a day to day basis to be a positive role model?
I try to stick to strong values and communicate those values when I have the chance. I try to be humble and have a social purpose which can make a positive social change.

I am building up our new LGBT+ Network and by doing this also trying to have a positive impact on other minorities who may feel discriminated against to build their own networks.

I also try to learn more by attending LGBT community events and learn from other experienced role models who have had a positive impact. When I was in London I  became a volunteer of Stonewall so I could help whenever I had time.

What advice would you give to someone who wishes to be a good role model?
Be honest, humble and sincere. Have empathy and understanding of others, commit and believe in social change.

What are you doing outside of your organisation to be a good role model?
When I lived in London I joined Stonewall as a volunteer to help with Stonewall Equality Walks, and other of their activities. In NYC, I am in touch with OPEN Finance, which is a volunteer network to drive forward LGBT equality and diversity in the financial services and beyond.

Who is your most memorable role model and why?
I would like to mention my friend Eric Sawyer. I met Eric in NYC 2 years ago through my friend Alan. Eric is a founding member of Act Up (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), a non-profit advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with HIV and AIDS to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment and policies. ACT UP was formed in 1987 in NYC to fight AIDS and demonstrated to demand greater access to experimental AIDS drugs and for a coordinated national policy to fight the disease. The ACT UP group spawned affiliate groups across the USA and the world. Thanks to people like my friend Eric and ACT UP group, who protested against the US Government’s response to the AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s, we have now medication that allows people with HIV to live perfectly healthy lives.

Having dinner with Eric in NYC last year, he explained how the death of his boyfriend in the 80s and the HIV stigma made him to be part of ACT UP and fight against the government’s lack of interest and stigma. I was both heartbroken and inspired. Eric is still an HIV activist not just in the US but also worldwide and worked for UNAIDS. I still meet Eric for drinks and dinner here in NYC. He is a role model to follow.

How did you feel coming to your first Link event?
When I was living in London, my friend from London brought me to one of the Link Tuesday drinks. It was early days and the first LGBT insurance network in London. I thought it was such a great idea having the network for the insurance industry. I knew that other industries like law firms and financial institutions were way ahead the insurance industry. I think it was great having drinks and knowing other LGBT+ people within the insurance industry. 

How has the Link network helped you?
Link has been of great help and still is regarding the setting up of Beazley’s LGBT+ Network. Theresa gave me very valuable advice and also put me in contact with key LGBT Networks in London and NYC, including OPEN Finance.

What do you think LINK can do in the future to best serve the new generations?
Have a Link in NYC!! : )