BEING AN ALLY
Pride EMEA ENG Steering Committee Member at Macquarie
I am proud to be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community at Macquarie and have been since I joined 7 years ago. But what does being an ally really mean to me?
It means creating an inclusive workplace, through actions and not just words, to ensure that people from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum can feel comfortable in bringing their whole selves to work. That does sound like a company line, and I think it might be, but it is true. Early on in my career I made the mistake of assuming the sexuality of a colleague who I thought I knew well. I was embarrassed to be called out and I’m ashamed to admit that it was based on the lazy assumption that all gay men would be walking around with an “Alan Carr flamboyance” draped in rainbow colours (that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point).
I look back on that moment and I’m grateful that my colleague did correct me, because it has given me the opportunity to reflect on other potentially incorrect assumptions I may have made in the past and how those assumptions had the potential to make others feel out of place or insecure about who they are. Since then, I am pleased to say that I have made a conscious effort to be more inclusive, by not making assumptions or relying on stereotypes, and becoming a visible ally and active advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
While not to the same degree as others in the LGBTQ+ community have faced, having moved countries a couple of times when younger, I know what it is like to feel excluded from a group based on an aspect of my identity and feeling like I need to change to fit in. Irrespective of whether the exclusion is intentional or not, the repercussions are that you withdraw slightly as an individual and don’t have the same sense of engagement with that group as you might do otherwise. In a work setting where one of the most valuable things an individual can bring to the table is the uniqueness of their thoughts and perspectives, not feeling psychologically safe to bring your whole self to work won’t lead to positive outcomes let alone productive and engaged teams.
The Pride EMEA Employee Network Group at Macquarie gives proud allies, like me, the opportunity to step up as visible advocates for our LGBTQ+ colleagues and take action to ensure our workplace remains an inclusive one. I am now a member of the Steering Committee of the Pride EMEA ENG and help to drive active allyship across the organisation though training, engagement in communications, mentoring and promoting visibility from allies. With plans to grow our allyship programme from strength to strength as our community evolves.
I was initially inspired to be more active as an ally by some of the other existing allies and we are lucky to have figureheads at Macquarie in that role, leading by example and driving the inclusive message across the organisation.
About the Author:
James has been part of the Customer Lifecycle Management Team in the Operations Division at Macquarie for nearly 8 years. He is a proud ally and sits on the steering committee of Macquarie’s Pride employee network group in EMEA.
After a couple of years in the Oil & Gas sector in Dubai, James moved back to London and started his Macquarie career in 2013. He has worked in the New York and London offices and his role involves coordination with all of the business across the Macquarie Group to ensure that we have up to date KYC on our counterparties. In his time with Macquarie he has been involved with the Macquarie Foundation, particularly as a mentor for the partner charity, ReachOut.
James is part Gibraltarian and lived there for a few years as a child. Outside of work he has played rugby for Gibraltar and the Dubai Exiles and is a keen runner.