Why celebrating Pride is more than just a banner at DMW
June is international Pride month, where we celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) identities and highlight the work that still needs to be done to achieve true equality for people of minority sexualities and gender identities around the globe. As DMW switches to a rainbow logo to recognise this period, a few colleagues say here what Pride at DMW means to them…
First, we talked to Simon Greenhalgh, our CFO:
How long have you worked here and what do you do?
“I’m the Chief Finance Officer, and have been with DMW for 6 years. I’m the Board Director with responsibility for our Support Function looking after Finance, Legal, Compliance, Technology, Offices & Events.”
What’s it like being LGBT at DMW?
“Right from day one I have always found DMW to be a place where everyone can be themselves (even that secret love of going all out at karaoke).”
How have things changed in the time you’ve been working? Has it got better or worse?
“We’re doing a much better job of ensuring that people are aware of how accepting and diverse we are as an organisation. It was always daunting for me starting a new firm and dropping ‘my husband’ in to conversation. It is important that not only are we accepting and diverse, but that people realise that in advance.”
What’s your best experience of being made to feel welcome and included here?
For me it’s how everyone is treated the same; the summer and Christmas parties always have an option of a plus one, meaning that my husband has always felt a part of the DMW family, getting to know the people I work with and their families, through which we have developed a strong circle of friends. My husband and I are also foster carers and I have always found DMW supportive in this regard, whether through time to attend meetings or training, and our son being invited to the upcoming family day for example.”
What would you like to see more of to make places more inclusive generally?
“Ensuring that everyone joining the firm knows that this is a place where you can be yourself, and can focus on your strengths that brought you to DMW in the first place. People shouldn’t have to be defined by an acronym, but knowing that this can still be a concern for many people, means that we have to work harder to ensure anyone joining, or looking to join DMW knows how inclusive we are from the outset.”
While it’s not the first time we’ve asked Kim Warren, Consultant, to talk to us about diversity at DMW, we’ve taken the opportunity to check in here too:
“When I started at DMW a year and a half ago, I was already out very publicly as being gay, but wasn't sure whether I was ever going to come out as transgender at work. A few months working here was enough to reassure me that the atmosphere was as inclusive and accepting as was claimed, and when I did come out, DMW was very willing to work with me to identify what support I needed in order to pursue my transition plans. There was a great response from my colleagues when we got an external speaker in to give an 'Introduction to transgender' talk in the office one lunchtime, and I've always been able to count on seeing friendly faces from work in the audience where I have been involved in transgender panel events in London. I'm also being enabled to support the LGBT community, with the ability to use paid CSR days to volunteer with the charity Diversity Role Models, who do anti-LGBT bullying outreach work in schools. I feel like I've been very lucky to find a company who does more than just paying lip service to supporting LGBT+ colleagues.”
Chris Dean, our CEO, explains how DMW is trying to break down traditional workplace barriers:
“At DMW, we understand that diversity is essential providing innovation and a wider perspective in our consulting assignments.
“Not only do we employ some of the very brightest people in the business, we are also proud that our people demonstrate inclusiveness and respect for others.
“According to the Government Equalities Office National LGBT Survey, 56% of LGBT people in the UK have said that they are uncomfortable being open about their sexuality at work, with 23% of LGBT people saying that they have received a negative or mixed reaction from colleagues due to being LGBT. We are constantly looking at ways to improve the working environment for our staff and to encourage an inclusive working culture. We know that we get the best from our people when they feel comfortable that they are accepted by their peers without worrying about hiding who they are or what people might think of them. By remaining open minded, we strive to be the best that we can be.”
Helen Kilvington, People Director, shares her perspective with us on celebrating the differences:
“Growing up as a Quaker, equality was one of the strongest principles of the faith and I was often the one at school challenging others prejudices particularly around LGBTQ. When my Dad came out when I was 13 the only thing I thought was “that’s cool” and then got on with persuading him that I should be allowed to get a perm!!
“Now as an adult I think that difference is more than just cool, it helps us grow and learn, it pushes us to think about other solutions and it challenges us to think differently, to be better. To be able to be who we are in all parts of our lives is good for our mental health too.”
Dan Hazell, Managing Consultant, gives us his insight on feeling included at DMW:
“Joining DMW it was clear from the outset this is an organisation that values you as a person and the contributions you can make, over conforming to any particular style, background, or stereotype. I’ve felt comfortable being openly gay in the workplace, with colleagues also investing time in getting to know my partner. Many organisations claim to be inclusive, but there’s a natural ease in DMWs way of doing things and attitude that fosters low-risk conversations and enables you to choose the level of participation in activities or openness that suits you. It helps create a positive environment that the work we do is truly transformational, my current role leading a sizable network migration to enable NHS trusts & primary care groups to deliver better health outcomes is a great example of the community benefit we are delivering, but if finance is your thing – that’s also our bag.
“I’ve been here two years now, was attracted by previous sponsorship of Stonewall, and look forward to shaping the firm to be an even more inclusive place to work. LBGT+ staff are represented across the organisation and although we haven’t yet started planning for our Pride float, we’d not be short on colleagues jostling for places with us!“
Sophie Hills, Finance Manager, adds her view on how DMW support the wellbeing of our people:
“With openly gay members of staff and one who transitioned soon after joining, we like to think we are accepting and inclusive. We have a Diversity and Inclusion Community with regular meetings where everyone is welcome to join or raise issues (and we have systems in place to ensure this can be done anonymously). We have an EAP scheme (Employee Assistance Programme) to offer 24/7 support and counselling if needed. Our buddy system for new joiners is a really important part of our onboarding process, helping introduce people to everything from the most useful Yammer groups to where to find a good local lunch spot. More formal initiatives such as our CSR Scheme and our membership of Stonewall also provide everyone opportunities to help support diverse opportunities. We had a very well attended company-wide lunch and learn on transgender recently, and staff also manage to attend, or even speak at, a range of LGBT+ events from movie nights to panel events.”
At DMW we strive to be the best in technology and deliver the best value for our clients and so we know how important having difference amongst us is, because it helps us perform better each day. To find out more about a career at DMW, check out our current vacancies on the careers section of our website.