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Employers urged to set LGBT+ boardroom targets

Companies should collect data and set targets to increase LGBT+ representation at leadership level and within their overall workforce, according to global business diversity and inclusion network INvolve.

While it has become increasingly common for organisations to set targets based on boosting gender equity and the representation of different ethnicities, INvolve Founder and CEO Suki Sandhu OBE says LGBT+ employees are being left out in the cold when it comes to holding companies to account on diversity with hard data.

There are currently just four publicly out LGBT+ CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and no publicly out LGBT+ CEOs in the FTSE 100; and these figures haven’t improved for several years, the network’s research reveals.

INvolve is calling for companies to collect data on LGBT+ individuals at board and executive level, just as they do for gender and race, as well as aiming to set targets for LGBT+ representation when it comes to pipelining and candidate slates for leadership positions. The network also recommends employers collect data company-wide and set targets for LGBT+ representation across all levels.

LGBT+ Role Model Lists announced

The call coincides with the release of the annual INvolve OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists, supported by Yahoo Finance, which celebrate businesspeople playing a key role in breaking down barriers at work for LGBT+ individuals as well as using their positions to boost diversity and inclusion.

The role model lists recognises high flying professionals from over 20 countries. Beth Ford, President and CEO of US agribusiness Land O'Lakes tops this year’s global OUTstanding Executives Role Model List, with Moriaki Kida, Regional Chief Operating Officer at EY Japan taking the second spot. Angela Darlington, UK Life CEO at Aviva Plc, is number three – she has been recognised in each of the list’s eight years.

“The positivity I have received at being an out gay woman CEO has been fantastic and over the last decade the increasing energy, belief and enthusiasm I’ve seen across our LGBT+ community in business has been incredible,” Darlington says. “But there are still real challenges for our community and in these difficult times the role model list is an important showcase of the extraordinary LGBT+ talent succeeding in businesses globally.”

Companies need to be vocal

INvolve Founder Suki Sandhu, who was awarded his OBE in 2019 for services to diversity in business, says as well as demonstrating people can be successful and out at work, the lists aim to inspire the next generation of LGBT+ leaders: “It must be made a top priority that LGBT+ inclusion does not fall behind other areas of inclusion but instead joins the general call for accountability and action. This is why INvolve are also calling for targets to be set to improve LGBT+ representation.”

Sandhu continues: “Companies need to be vocal on LGBT+ rights everywhere and show their support for the issues in all the regions they operate in. LGBT+ professionals are managing an array of obstacles alongside the pressures of their day jobs; from overcoming bias or discrimination or having to deal with the mental and emotional impact of coming out repeatedly to colleagues and clients. It’s our role to ensure LGBT+ professionals have that access and opportunity to climb the corporate ladder.”

Also featuring in the Executives Role Model List are Allyn L. Shaw, President & CTO at Recycle Track Systems at number four; Javier Constante, President, Latin America at Dow at seven; Amanda McKay, Quality & Assurance Director at Balfour Beatty (36); and Amin Kassam, Head of Legal, Asia-Pacific at Bloomberg (38).

Meanwhile, Leigh F. Capule, Migrations Manager at HSBC, is named at number one in the OUTstanding 100 LGBT+ Future Leaders List. Capule is joined by other emerging leaders including:

•           Méfiré Diallo, Team Leader at American Express, at number two

•           Bobbi Pickard, Senior Project Manager at BP, at number four

•           Jeiz Robles, HR Services Deliver Partner Executive at IBM (16)

•           Josi Reinhardt, Customer Services Representative at Aviva (89)

Greg Case, CEO of professional services firm Aon, has been named the leading Advocate for LGBT+ professionals alongside Microsoft’s Daniel Klein and Group Managing Director of Manchester United, Richard Arnold.

The full OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists can be found here.

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