HSBC – Top 10 LGBT+ Corporate Allies 2020

In alphabetical order

You cannot vote in this category.
This category is judged based on evidence provided according to the British LGBT Awards criteria.



Claire England is Director of Diversity & Inclusion for JLL, UK. Claire has developed and implemented progressive diversity and inclusion strategies at JLL and previously at an international law firm. Her dedication, passion and hard work meant Claire was instrumental in JLL being the first real estate advisory firm to achieve Stonewall Top 100 employer status, and in co-hosting an LGBT in Property Conference in 2019 with over 100 senior representatives from across the industry in attendance. As part of the JLL UK Executive team Claire is an active advocate for LGBT+ issues and a role model for other allies.



Ian was appointed Group Chief Engineer at Rolls-Royce in April 2017. In this role he leads across the Group on product safety and technical assurance and maintains oversight of engineering career development, quality, processes, tools and systems, and heritage activities.

In his career he has held significant engineering leadership roles within Rolls-Royce in the UK and overseas, including Head of Aerospace Research and Technology, Executive Vice President Engineering & Technology – Commercial Marine and Defence Engineering Director.

Ian is a passionate advocate for Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering, sponsoring the Rolls-Royce LGBT employee resource group and chairing the Royal Academy of Engineering Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group.



John has been the Director of Group Corporate Security within Aviva for the past 4 years, and is responsible for developing, delivering and leading on the Corporate Security Strategy which encompasses security operations, physical & personnel security, investigations & intelligence, operational resilience and crisis management.

John has 30+ years of security experience across many sectors including Finance, Health and Telecoms and has operated globally encompassing a diverse range of cultures and societies. He is exceptionally passionate about people and believes that everyone has the right to equality.  John is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community and promote safety for all.



Lynne McBurney is Arnold Clark’s Group Head of People. Lynne has been with the Arnold Clark Group since 2005 and she’s committed to developing a culture within the organisation that puts employees at the heart of everything it does. From flexible working and excellent benefits to exciting progression programmes, she’s spearheaded the initiatives that make employees feel valued and supported. An ally of the LGBT+ community, Lynne frequently attends Pride events throughout the UK and works closely with Stonewall to ensure our LGBT+ employees are fully supported in their working life at Arnold Clark.



Mark heads the South Division of retail at Vodafone UK, covering approximately 200+ stores. The role encompasses all aspects of our retail estate, with a real focus on customer experience and team development.

Mark’s retail career has spanned over 25 years and he proudly keeps Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of everything he does. This has enabled Mark to build strong teams whom have shaped him as an individual and continue to challenge him daily.

Out of work, he loves spending time with his family.



Sharyn is active in driving, developing and supporting LGBT+ inclusion – ensuring everyone can be their true authentic selves. She is on the committee of Arup’s LGBT+ Network, Connect Out, and the committee for Building Equality, a collaborative alliance of 40+ construction organisations progressing LGBT+ inclusion. Through these, Sharyn has been involved with initiatives to advance LGBT+ equality including the LGBT+ Toolbox Talk and Poster Campaign and organising and hosting events to address pertinent LGBT+ issues. 

Sharyn volunteers, each weekend, as an LGBT Foundation Village Angel. This flagship Community Safety Programme offers a non-judgemental street service responding to serious incidents including mental health crises, whilst helping those alone and vulnerable.



Sonia Sawula, a Vice President at Credit Suisse, has worked in the finance industry for over 30 years and currently manages operational taxes for the investment bank in the EMEA region.

As Deputy Chair of the Credit Suisse LGBT & Ally Network she has helped manage growth of the EMEA network from 110 to 1,300 members over the past 5 years, particularly through championing LGBT role models.

She also represents Credit Suisse on the InterBank LGBT Forum.  Sonia is a passionate believer in the personal and business benefit of visible Ally presence in the workplace.



Stephanie Smith joined Allianz Insurance plc in 2009 and was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2016. With a passionate belief in the importance of inclusion, Stephanie sponsored the launch of the Allianz Pride UK network which in 2019 had grown to over 300 members and remains a visible and constant advocate.  She is a key contributor on the Allianz Global Inclusion Council, with a focus on driving forward LGBT+ inclusion in Allianz companies around the world. She cares passionately about the inclusion topic more generally and was also the catalyst for the Allianz Returnships Programme, which provides opportunities and assistance to those looking to return to work after a break in their career.



Susan has been Head of Retail and Business Banking, a member of the Executive Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of Santander UK since January 2019. Prior to this, she was Managing Director of UK Banking, Chief Transformation Officer, and Head of Customer Interactions.

Before joining Santander in 2015, Susan was CEO, Customer Solutions Group, Commercial and Private Banking at RBS, supporting businesses from SMEs to international corporates.  Susan has worked in the Financial Services industry for over 25 years and has extensive experience across Retail, Corporate and Global Banking, as well as Operations and strategic central functions.



Wincie Knight is VP Global Inclusion Strategy at ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) EMEA, reporting to Marva Smalls, EVP, Global Head of Inclusion Strategies.

Knight is responsible for leading VCNI’s diversity and inclusion strategy in EMEA, where she is a passionate advocate for championing a company culture centred on belonging. In the UK, Knight is instrumental in VCNI’s participation in Creative Diversity Network’s Project Diamond, as well as liaising with Ofcom on ViacomCBS’s diversity developments. 

Knight works collaboratively with all of VCNI’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in London, Amsterdam, Budapest, Madrid, Milan and Warsaw. Under her guidance, ERGs empower all employees to develop initiatives that positively impact the business and build a sense of community.    

She played a key role in launching ‘ViaYou…Getting To Know You’, an employee survey focused on better understanding workforce demographics and she champions regular initiatives to drive inclusivity ranging from leadership training through to employee listening groups.

Knight holds an MSc in Organisational Behaviour from Birkbeck, University of London where she conducted research focused on BAME employees in media organizations. In addition, she has completed an Executive Leadership Programme at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in the United States.