Gavin Williams, Associate in Banking & Finance at Osborne Clarke in Bristol, attended the 2018 Stonewall Workplace Conference and tells us what he thought were the highlights.
The Stonewall Workplace Conference is Europe’s leading conference on lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) inclusion in the work place. The annual event takes place in London and this year counted over 800 professionals present represented by more than 300 leading organisations. The aims of the event are to learn best practice, expand networks, be inspired and make lasting change to workplaces.
The event began with opening speeches from Ruth Hunt (Chief Executive, Stonewall), Krishna Omkar (associate at Slaughter & May, Stonewall gay role model of the year), Darren Towers (Executive Director, Stonewall) and Dawn Butler (MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Labour party).
Their combined message was one of equality: not only as a business case. but also because it is morally the right thing to do. They encouraged the freedom for everyone to be who they are and not what they think they ought to be. They also spoke of the importance of, and Stonewall’s focus on, trans inclusion in the workplace, with the trans community typically facing greater discrimination in work settings than those that identify as gay or lesbian.
Twenty one workshops took place throughout the day, divided into three sessions. These included ones aimed at senior leadership, trans inclusion, procurement and service delivery, supporting bi staff and empowering LGBT networks. The workshops spoke to all parts of the employee life cycle – from recruitment, induction and training to exit.
There were also many opportunities throughout the day to network with the 800 attendees. Delegates came from a variety of professions and seniority in their organisations. Speaking with this wide variety of people gave a great opportunity to discuss LGBT+ initiatives and take home learning points from the day, which he will share with our LGBT+ employee network, OC Pride.
Closing remarks came from Barbara Hosking, a writer and the key note speaker who was brilliantly honest and funny. Barbara was followed by a role model panel session on “Come out for trans equality”. The panel shared their experiences of being trans in the work place and also their expertise in how organisations can best ensure they are truly inclusive of trans employees and potential candidates.
Gavin will be following up with the contacts he made at the conference to share the good work that we do at Osborne Clarke on LGBT+ diversity and wellbeing, and also to learn more about how other organisations are going about furthering LGBT+ inclusion.
To find out more about Stonewall visit the website or if you’d like to discuss the event, contact Gavin.