Tell us about your accomplishments to date?       

I’m very lucky to have been able to have a successful career in a profession that I love; working on a wide range of interesting engineering projects and travelling in the UK and overseas. I’m incredibly proud to be both a Chartered Civil Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. I’m active in me local ICE branch supporting development of engineers and promoting engineering in Manchester, and was the North West Regional Chair in 2014/15 representing my region at a national level. Through this I became involved in Building Equality, an alliance of construction consultants, engineers, developers, contractors, and institutions who are passionate about working together and harnessing our collective power to drive LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the construction, engineering and built environment industry. I’ve marched with the iconic rainbow JCB in several Prides in Manchester and Leeds and have recently finished my two year tenure as co-chair. And most importantly, made many great friends along the way.

What are the barriers in representing many intersectional identity groups?

As humans we like to put things in boxes and label them. It’s neat and tidy but does not reflect the messy way our lives actually are. Half of the challenge with representing many intersectional identify groups is that some will be privileged in some parts of their lives and not others. By recognising both areas of commonality and difference should help and allow efforts to be targeted in the most important areas.

Do you think acceptance is improving?

I think acceptance is improving. The vast majority of people in the UK have no problem with the LGBT+ community, adopting a live and let live attitude. Unfortunately, there is a vocal minority, with a vast social media reach, who go out of their way to attack certain sections of the community. The language used to attack the trans community, particularly trans women, reminds me of the language used in the 1980’s against gay men, and we should challenge it every time we come across it.

What does been nominated in your category mean to you?

I’m proud and honoured to have been both nominated and shortlisted in the business ally category. We spend most of our lives at work, whether in an office or working remotely, and people should be comfortable to bring their whole self into the workplace. I’ll try anything to help put others at ease, helping create a positive workplace where everyone can flourish. For this to be recognised by being shortlisted is amazing.