Marianne Cowie and Tali Shlomo examine the importance of LGBT+ visibility to attract and retain talent
The CII is delighted to share the role and work of the insurance partner network -- Link. The diversity of our colleagues is vital, not just to create diversity of thought but also to ensure we reflect and represent diversity in wider society.
Diversity and inclusion are now on most senior management teams' agendas and are a priority for the profession as a whole to attract and retain the talent we need for the future.
There are hundreds of LGBT+ individuals in our profession. We have incredible trans and non-binary role models; we have bisexuals, lesbians, gay men; we have pan, poly and asexuals; we have colleagues who are gender non-conforming, genderqueer and genderfluid.
People who can be themselves bring their unfettered passion to what they do. There is no reason for them to hold back
-Theresa Farrenson, Aon
The insurance profession is home to so many LGBT+ identities, but the unfortunate truth is a large portion of individuals are not out in their workplace, nor represented at executive level.
Being the first can be intimidating, yet so many in the LGBT+ community are happier, more productive and therefore more successful when they are able to be open about their identity. Having visible LGBT+ role models and active allies helps demonstrate that we can not only be ourselves, but we can also reach our full potential. Providing this visibility is where networks like Link really come into their own.
Link is a cross-industry LGBT network that works closely with sponsor companies to host events throughout the year, from regular networking sessions to panel events and even with the occasional celebrity speaker. We also encourage sharing of ideas and best practice between companies to make sure that LGBT+ individuals are heard and valued.
Perhaps most importantly, our events allow LGBT+ members of the insurance industry to meet people who are successful in their careers while also being open about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It may seem like that should be a given, but sexual orientation and gender identity continues to be a barrier to progress for some.
The friendships and connections I've made through LINK have literally changed my life
-Steven Copsey, Inclusive Employers
Link would love to see a significant increase in LGBT+ talent in the market in the coming decade and we will continue to provide support and guidance to businesses that wish to become truly inclusive.
Of course, we will also continue to connect people together to share their stories and experiences, because when it comes down to it, there is an awful lot of value in not feeling alone. Link is a professional network for members of the LGBT+ community and their allies in the insurance sector, with more than 1,250 members, from all areas of the profession.
Link's mission is to create and maintain workplaces that attract and retain the best LGBT+ talent in insurance.
For more information and details of upcoming events, visit: lgbtinsurancenetwork.co.uk
Marianne Cowie is on the Link Steering Committee and Tali Shlomo is people engagement director at the CII