Theresa Farrenson, Aon

Theresa Farrenson, Aon

I came out pretty early in my first job: I was part of a graduate scheme and amongst peers so it was relatively easy. I was in the middle of my first break-up and the group noticed I was not myself and I just told them what was going on.  They were fab and supported me and it just grew from there.  As soon as I knew I was accepted as myself there was no reason to move to a job where that might be threatened, so I just asked at subsequent interviews.  I won’t lie, it was scary and 20 years ago was not a particularly usual question for a candidate to ask in an interview … but it did mean I went confidently into further roles.

The latest thing I’m grappling with is that of my gender identity. Through finding out more of the various identities and have recently come to recognise myself as gender non-binary.  It is weird to find myself coming out all over again.

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Leanne Gardner, RSA

Leanne Gardner, RSA

For me it isn’t rocket science it is just about being nice. There are two ways to get the end destination and achieve results – we can be nice, inclusive and give positive reinforcement or we can whip the donkey until it drops and then get another donkey.  I prefer the former and having an environment like that makes me feel involved and included.  Nice doesn’t mean we can’t achieve and deliver company results it means not having a blame culture, appreciating differences, realising that different skill sets adds value, can we get more out of people if we train and support them etc.

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Iain Gibson, Marsh

Iain Gibson, Marsh

We need more role models across all the spectrum of diversity and we need more dedicated resources to help raise awareness; to educate and to help set the internal agenda for us. We need to expand our dedicated Colleague Resource Groups (CRGs) into more areas such as mental health and disability. We need to move more of the activities we currently do out of London and into the regions and we need to find local partners to help us move our local agendas along.

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Karen Graves, SCOR

Karen Graves, SCOR

A culture of acceptance and openness, with the focus on creativity for the business, is at the top of my list of why I would want to work for a specific company. From a gender perspective and an LGBT lens I think there is still a way to go to really turn positive feelings and acceptance into practice. One of the best things about the environment in the London Market is the people and I see relationships that get forged over many years based on mutual respect and admiration.

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Benjamin Hindson, Marsh

Benjamin Hindson, Marsh

There are a few people that stick out in my memory for being great role models. I think the best people I have met have all had the following in common. They have been great at including people in their work and making sure that they are contributing. They also are the first to admit that they got it wrong sometimes. However, they learned from the experience and apologised. Good role models that I have had also knew exactly what they brought to the table and how they were able to help. I think that understanding who you are and what your values are is incredibly important.

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Julie Humphries, AIG

Julie Humphries, AIG

Many years ago a friend from Birmingham escaped and moved to London. There was no gay scene to speak of in Birmingham at that time so he felt that London was the place to be and moved. After having a wonderful time for a number of years in London, he was killed in a horrendous attack. Originally identified as a homophobic attack, it was later, and wrongly in my eyes, downgraded and reclassified. This experience has shaped how I think. It is incredibly important to be a vocal and prominent ally and I am proud to bring my children up as being open and welcoming to everyone, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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