Locale : Global (English)
How we can walk the talk at Pride
We can do this by marching as part of a wider group of related businesses, and by showcasing ourselves as an inclusive employer at Pride.
Image credit Not applicable
1 / 1

Walking the talk at Pride

Richard Chapman-Harris, head of inclusion and responsibility

Personal reflections and organisational tips to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion in the industry.

I’m a gay man and out and proud at work – always have been. I struggle to imagine not being myself every day in the office. Yet I know this isn’t something I’ve achieved for myself alone – it’s a privilege shaped by those who have fought before me and who continue to battle against stigma and inequality in communities around the world. From campaigns to repeal Section 28 in the UK, to the recent overturning of Section 377 in India – I have benefited from the hard work of people globally. I like to believe I am part of this movement and know there is more work to be done so everyone can be themselves and all sexual orientations and gender identities are truly celebrated.

I reflected on inclusion when marching at New York Pride this year. At Mott MacDonald we are celebrating our annual Pride season which has helped me focus on what it means for our business, the wider infrastructure industry, and for me personally. Pride is many things to many people – a protest against ongoing inequality, a parade to show the diversity in our community, an opportunity to be visible to the wider population, a way of celebrating love, and a chance for businesses to connect with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusive (LGBT+) communities. The latter has raised some challenges recently with a feeling that corporates are engaging relatively superficially and are ‘pricing out’ LGBT+ charities and community groups from Pride events. I support the engagement of the business world but also feel there needs to be the right level of scrutiny on what organisations are doing behind the scenes. Pride is a way of living, not rainbow stickers for one day of the year.

This is how businesses in our sector can really support Pride and ‘walk the talk’ on LGBT+ inclusion:

Approach Pride with a culture of collaboration

At the end of June, Mott MacDonald participated in New York Pride which was also chosen as this year’s World Pride event. It marked 50 years since the Stonewall riots, a key moment in the LGBT+ movement for equal rights and against discrimination. Nearly 700 groups marched at the event with over 150,000 walking the route and 4M watching. I marched alongside 15 colleagues and three of us were joined by our partners which I feel was especially inclusive. We marched as part of the Queer Advocacy and Knowledge Exchange (QuAKE) group and in collaboration with several peer firms who we often work with to deliver major projects for clients and communities across the world. In London, my colleagues marched as part of the Building Equality group, a consortium of engineering and construction businesses, alongside over 300 other groups at the event. Marching as part of a wider group of related businesses helps to maximise the impact you have in your industry. There is also the opportunity for large corporates to march with smaller charities and sponsor their participation. Remember to also extend Pride beyond the day itself, through pre- or post-Pride events to network and share learning.

Leverage employment policy and culture to ensure LGBT+ inclusion

Pride is a great opportunity to showcase Mott MacDonald as an inclusive employer and attendance at Pride is backed up by our inclusive policies and processes. We also have our Advancing LGBT+ employee network with staff champions and senior executives as sponsors in the UK and US. The group is part of our wider Advance network with the steering committee sponsored by our executive chair. We have global equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies which include protections for all sexual orientations and gender identities, we train our staff on supporting and tackling their unconscious biases and these global packages include specific points on LGBT+ inclusion.

Review and benchmark organisational policy to support inclusion

We are completing the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index again this year to benchmark our LGBT+ inclusion efforts and are finalising our transgender and non-binary inclusion policy and processes. We also raised visibility by collaborating with the Royal Academy of Engineering to produce LGBT+ role model videos from across the industry, and are working on similar profile videos of internal senior LGBT+ role models.

For LGBT+ inclusive organisations supporting Pride events, I say thank you and well done. I’d also say make sure this is not an isolated act. Start by asking your LGBT+ staff how best to engage and support customers, clients and communities and make sure you hear a range of intersectional LGBT+ voices including transgender and non-binary representatives and members of all ethnic minority communities to get a true picture of the LGBT+ community.

Richard Chapman-Harris

head of inclusion and responsibility

expand-image mail-envelope icon-icon-linkedin-mmdv-green icon-close arrow-left icon-section icon-section-white arrow-down icon-arrow-down-sml icon-arrow-left-lrg icon-arrow-left-sml icon-arrow-right-lrg icon-arrow-right-sml icon-arrow-up-sml icon-champions icon-section icon-section-white icon-download icon-education icon-email icon-grid-view icon-language icon-link-to icon-list-view icon-location icon-login-register ec-icon-login-register icon-ec-apply-arrow icon-ar-apply-arrow icon-mm-icon-search-ec icon-minus icon-more icon-phone icon-plus icon-recently-viewed icon-search icon hash key-facts-corner-sash quote-underline social-icon-facebook social-icon-googleplus social-icon-linkedin social-icon-twitter social-share-icon-facebook social-share-icon-facebook social-share-icon-googleplus social-share-icon-googleplus social-share-icon-instagram social-share-icon-instagram social-share-icon-linkedin social-share-icon-linkedin social-share-icon-twitter social-share-icon-twitter social-share-icon-youtube social-share-icon-youtube sina-weibo MM-Shape01-Quote-Views MM-Shape03-Quote-Locations MM-Shape05-Quote-Projects MM-Shape12-Quote-Sectors MM-Shape13-Quote-Expertise MM-Shape14-Quote-About-Us MM-Shape14-Quote-Careers checkmark icon-expand-view icon-apply-now menu linkedin-mmdv-green icon-ad-close mail-mmdv-green icon-ad-menu menu-close ec-menu-close sphere icon-cookies icon-legal icon-registered-companies target rotate-screen video-replay-flat video-replay audio-mute audio-play
Mott MacDonald main logo

Would you like to hear more from us?

Sign up to receive notifications