OUTstanding, an organization dedicated to supporting the visibility of LGBT people in corporate leadership, has published its annual Role Models for 2017: a set of rankings listing the top LGBT corporate executives, future corporate leaders, and public sector executives around the world. Their top role model this year is Alan Joyce, CEO of the Australian airline Qantas, who was chosen for his outspoken support for marriage equality rights. Australian voters are currently in the midst of a referendum on whether to legalize same-sex marriage; executives at over 800 Australian corporations (part of over 2,000 organizations in total) have signed an open letter in support of marriage equality, but Joyce has been particularly visible and vocal on the issue, the BBC reports:
“In the past year I’ve worked hard to drive changes in my own workplace and indeed my own country,” Mr Joyce said. As well as speaking up personally on the question of same-sex marriage, Mr Joyce has encouraged other business leaders to join him in campaigning for a “yes” vote in the Australian ballot. He said more than 1,300 firms have put their name to the cause.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised that if a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage in the poll, parliament will debate amending the Marriage Act, which could lead to the country becoming the 25th country to permit same-sex marriage. The ballot will close on 7 November; latest reports indicate that nearly three-quarters of eligible voters have already returned their ballots with nearly two weeks left to go.
Quartz’s Lianna Brinded interviews Lloyds of London CEO Inga Beale, who was number six on the list of role models and says her “own personal experience transformed the way she works and the employees around her—and fostered a working environment that it is fit for a new generation of workers”:
“I think it shows visibly in an individual when they can be much more confident in themselves, and that has a positive impact on others because they tend to engage more in all types of conversations and not try to hide or say the wrong things or fall into a trap about mentioning something about their personal life,” Beale said. As an openly bisexual CEO in financial services, she has made waves by transforming a conservative institution, as well as the wider industry, into a more inclusive and welcoming environment. …
“Any person that comes out as a role model in a senior position can only do good things because it encourages other people to start talking…” Beale said. “Certainly in the financial services industry, people are taking it seriously and we’ve got a lot of momentum in giving visibility in the LGBT+ community.”
Brinded also catches up with HSBC manager Stuart Barette, a transgender man with high-functioning autism who topped OUTstanding’s list of future leaders for his work rolling out gender-neutral titles for the global bank’s employees and customers:
“I’m amazed and astounded that the work I’m doing is being reflected specifically to me as a role model. Usually when you see a LGBT+ role model in business, it’s usually from large cities. But I’m based on a small island (Jersey) which is only 9 miles by 5,” said Barette, Global CMB IT Application & Infrastructure Streamlining Manager at HSBC, to Quartz.
“It’s actually a helpful thing [being based on a small island] because you can start small and roll out processes that work to the rest of the UK, then Europe, and then globally. We have been able to do this, even in less-supportive countries of LGBT, but have made a difference in employees and customers’ lives, such as Dubai.”