Henrietta Gordon, Chubb

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What is your role?
Solicitor and Senior Claims Examiner

Henrietta's Story
Qualified litigation solicitor for the last 17 years: 14 spent in private practice and 3 within the Financial Lines Claims team at Chubb. Acting with absolute integrity and being an Ally to all employees to ensure that everyone feels able to bring their whole self to work is integral to my working life. I also co-chair the Awareness and Engagement network which is a Diversity and Inclusion network at Chubb. The network’s objective is to cultivate, develop, and promote the benefits of an inclusive work environment and the benefits this brings within Chubb.

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

The culture at Chubb enables me to be myself at work. The culture at Chubb is also greatly being enhanced by the emphasis placed upon the importance of Diversity and Inclusion at Chubb. This is evidenced by the importance placed on the Regional Inclusion Council, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the networks that support these.

b. Do you think there is improvement needed?  What are your ideas?
I am proud to be able to say that Chubb UK&I are looking to form an LBGT network.

We have taken some key steps towards this process as follows:

  1. We now partner with Stonewall. Stonewall is Europe's largest lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) charity, and by partnering with them, we hope they will help us create a more inclusive and accepting environment for our LGBT colleagues.
  2. We now have a UK&I Chubb Pride page on the Village.
  3. This year and for the first time Chubb is proud to be joining other members of the insurance community at the 2018 Pride in London Parade on Saturday 7 July: one of the biggest and longest running Pride events in the world. This is first time Chubb has attended the event and marks a great milestone in our continued D&I journey.
  4. The Engagement and Awareness network within Diversity and Inclusion are working to create an Ally program this year for Chubb UKI. 
  5. The Ally program will be fundamental in creating a welcoming and supportive working culture for all our minority groups, including LGBT.  Our aim is to ensure that everyone  feels able to bring their whole self to work and that we will have visible Allies within Chubb to provide support to all employees to help make this possible.

What was your first motivation to be involved with the LGBT+ community? How has this most positively influenced your experience?
I have been fortunate enough be born and raised in London which is a city that, to me, embraces a great cultural mix of people and the LBGT community. The LBGT friends that I know have always felt able to be themselves in this city. I have therefore always sought to foster and be proud of these roots and to protect the rights of all individuals within the city and at large.

Attending the Out and Equal Seminar in the Summer of 2017 in London provided me with guidance on positive role modelling and steps that can be taken to show case being an Ally and for the benefit of those around me.

Can you tell us how the business has been improved by LGBT+ people bringing the best of themselves to work?
It makes for a more diverse and inclusive atmosphere and culture which of itself means that everyone is able to be themselves and the benefits reaped are for both the LBGT community and all other employees. It is a positive statement that whoever you are we embrace you and any kind of prejudice in any guise will not be tolerated.

Do you have any advice for someone who isn't out at work yet?
I am an Ally and not an LBGT member but from what I have learned I would say:

Look to explore the support networks within your organisation and if there isn’t one reach out to Stonewall and look to explore setting up an LBGT network within the company.

Look for and link with Allies and members of the LBGT within the organisation and at other companies.

From the personal stories I have heard shared from others who have come out at work the response has been positive and the individual has felt relief to be able to bring themselves to work and able to be more productive as a result.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Kindred spirits stick together.

What do you do on a day to day basis to be a positive role model?
I look to be a visible Ally and call out inappropriate language and behaviours but always assuming positive intent.

I work hard for the network I co-chair and on the objectives we set ourselves. Our achievements this year being set out above.

What advice would you give to someone who wishes to be a good role model?
Be visible.

Be a good listener.

Identify goals to improve on the status quo.

Don’t procrastinate get active.

Form and extend the influence of networks.

What are you doing outside of your organisation to be a good role model?

I aim to be as much an Ally to all around me outside of the office as I am within in it.

Who is your most memorable role model and why
The Dalai Lama – I have been to see him speak twice. He has a presence beyond that of an ordinary human being. He seeks to influence and bring about great change in individuals and the wider world through peaceful means.

What do you think Link can do in the future to best serve the new generations?
Extend the work being done in the UK to other countries around the world and seek to change laws and educate.

Seek to influence and educate individuals at a much younger age to remain open and un-judgmental.