Yvonne Braun, Association of British Insurers (ABI)

Yvonne Braun, Association of British Insurers (ABI)

In my own career, my experience has been that you need to change the environment yourself, leading by example. But you also should do what you can for those coming after you.

As a member of the ABI’s five-person executive team, I am in the position to shape our culture to make sure that our environment is welcoming to all, and as a representative organisation, we can help set the tone for our sector.

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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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Laura Pepper, RenaissanceRe Syndicate Management

Laura Pepper, RenaissanceRe Syndicate Management

It was when I realised how lucky I was being able to be myself and conformable with who I am as a person, and the realisation that not everyone is as fortunate to have had the experiences of being ‘out’ as I have. Realising that I then wanted to share these experiences and show that being open and honest to everyone really is the best thing you can do.

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Marianne Skinner, Zurich

Marianne Skinner, Zurich

I was determined that after the headache of coming out as a teenager I wasn’t going to allow myself to get back into a situation where it had to be a big announcement, because once you’re back in that place, it becomes a much bigger uphill battle. So I’ve been out since the start of my career. For me, I can’t imagine not being out at work; it makes a huge difference to me to be able to come into the office and be able to chat about my life the same as anyone else. Being myself has also allowed me the confidence to try and make a difference for other people too.

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