Barclays prides itself on allowing employees to bring their true selves to work, and we wanted to turn this up a notch by opening the discussion around cohesion between the LGBT community and Faith.

Our objective was to discuss how the relationship between the LGBT and Faith communities impacts people’s ability to be themselves at work and to perform at their best. We also wanted to explore how individuals can make a difference depending on their role and position at work and in society.

This is a challenging subject to broach, but we were met with opened arm support from our senior sponsors, and also found PwC has the same passion for this subject, who later became our joint partner in creating these discussions.

We brought this topic alive through a series of interactive panel discussions led by Stonewall’s Ruth Hunt, and Zoe Lyons. The planning of the first event took over 9 months because voices would feel comfortable in the confides of a meeting room discussing the topic, but once approached for panel support those voices would quickly disappear into the shadows. This behaviour alone highlighted the disjointed relationship in society between the LGBT community and Faith Groups. Once a panel was formed, it was full steam ahead and the event register was racking up names.

D day for first event came and it was a roaring success. Active participation from the audience was key for this discussion to provide people with take a way to maybe change their own behaviour, or even influence someone else’s/an organisations behaviour for the better. We had questions flying in from all over the room touching on culture vs religion, inter-generational divide in terms of people of faith and acceptance of LGBT people, and Education – what should we be doing to educate others.

To get as many attendees as possible to participate in the event we gave attendees the option to submit anonymous questions via a mobile app. Risky, but proved to be a great idea. Allowing people to drape themselves in an almost invisibility cloak really brought out some strong questions that may not have been asked otherwise.

Overall feedback has been great across the both events with comments such as “best event I’ve been to”, “very relevant subject”, “can’t wait to get back to work and see what we can do here”. We did also take on-board constructive feedback such “a more diverse panel in terms of culture and faith groups”.