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LGBTQ+ History Month: how accountants can encourage inclusion

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 17 Feb 2023

As part of LGBTQ+ month, ICAEW highlights how chartered accountants have a role to play in helping to encourage an inclusive profession through our award-winning campaign.

Isabella Segal, a partner at Nyman Libson Paul, understands first-hand the positive effects of supporting diverse members of an organisation. “Leaders really are vital to the process of creating work environments where people feel valued and safe to be their true self.

“I am a Trans woman; after I transitioned, I remember standing in the car park the first morning I came to work as a woman, feeling apprehensive. Eight years later, I still work at the same firm – it is a non-judgemental company that was, and remains, very supportive.

“I remember at a particularly difficult personal time for me, the senior partner of the firm I was working at took the time to visit me in person. What really helped was that he showed he cared and was interested in me. My journey would have been more difficult if my managers and work colleagues had not been so supportive.” 

As ICAEW celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month, ICAEW President Julia Penny believes it is important to reflect on how far we have come in terms of progress on diversity and inclusion (D&I) and celebrate the successes, but also think about how much more needs to happen and what more we can do to make workplaces more inclusive.

“We all have an identity and being able to bring that to work, regardless of background or protected characteristics, is important for people to feel comfortable. Authenticity is a linchpin for business success and when people bring their authentic selves to work, they bring their best selves,” says Penny.

This isn’t just about doing what’s ethically right; the business performance imperative for D&I is compelling. Take gender diversity, for example. McKinsey’s oft-cited 2019 study found that the greater the representation of women at senior levels, the higher the likelihood of outperformance.

ICAEW provides D&I support to members through its D&I Community, thought leadership and content. Meanwhile, ICAEW’s Welcome Inclusion campaign, launched at the end last year, looked beyond the clear moral imperative of D&I at the growing legal and commercial imperatives and the role that every chartered accountant has to play in helping to encourage an inclusive profession.

As part of the Welcome Inclusion campaign, ICAEW hosted a one-day drama workshop designed to inspire chartered accountants to champion the power of inclusion in their own organisations. Welcome Inclusion has already won a string of accolades including Campaign of the Year from the PPA Independent Publisher Awards; the Content Council Pearl Awards – Best New Program Launch and Most Effective Association; and the award for Best Purpose-led Campaign and Best Membership from the CMA International Content Marketing Association Awards.

The thought-provoking and informative campaign was also shortlisted for: European Diversity Awards – Marketing Campaign of the Year; British Diversity Awards – Marketing Campaign of the Year; This is Us Awards – Changemaker category; Dot Digital Responsible Marketing Awards; the Drum Awards; and PPA – Best D&I Work.

ICAEW’s D&I Manager in Education and Training and Welcome Inclusion Project Lead Dr Antonia Sudkaemper says: “Welcome Inclusion has been one of the first big projects I took on after joining ICAEW and it’s been an absolute honour and joy to support a diverse group of members share their unique journeys. I am proud of the team for winning the awards, but what matters most is the positive feedback we received from our members and students who feel seen and supported by the campaign.”

Join ICAEW's Diversity Community

Online resources and information to equip individuals and organisations with the tools to make the accountancy profession more inclusive. This Community provides information and best practice guidance on the different areas of diversity, helping to educate, support and raise awareness.

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