Blog Article 1: Martin Smith
I’m Martin Smith (he/him), a Director at PwC UK and a co-chair of our Shine LGBTQ+ network of about 2,000 people in the UK. My day job is all about helping clients reduce the inherent risk in their technology and business transformations, and achieve successful change.
I’ve been working for about 17 years – and have spent two periods at PwC (6 and 5 years). I haven’t always been ‘super-out’ at work (am now though!). Over the course of my career I’ve become more active in the community – in large part because I really see both the value we can bring to the workplace as LGBTQ+ people – but also because I want people joining the workplace after me to have increasingly good experiences.
Why I commit my time to diversity, equality, equity and inclusion initiatives and Shine:
Having had early jobs where I wasn’t really aware of any LGBTQ+ role models, I’ve also been fortunate to work in environments where LGBTQ+ people had the space to light up the room they were in. I’ve seen our community be successful because of who we are; not in spite of it. My goal is to help more people – both inside and outside of PwC – experience that.
In 2018 one of my closest gay friends became very ill – I lost him and my dad in quick succession in 2019. What perhaps became most clear to me in my subsequent grief, was that both of them inspired me to be unashamedly me – and to deliver real change that benefits us all. So that is what I try to do.
Across our firm, in wider business and society, I’m fortunate to have a role and position that people look up to and to be able use that to make change at a practical level for people. Some highlights I’ve led and been involved in include:
- Leading 130 LGBTQ+ and ally PwC Partners, staff and guests to march in London Pride
- Working with our most senior people to help them understand how they can support LGBTQ+ people in PwC more, and how they can support their clients to do the same
- Creating opportunities for our people to shine – by celebrating their promotion, sharing how they inspire our colleagues in the #PwCInspirational50 and in our nominations in national LGBTQ+ awards
- Supporting close working with colleagues in PwC’s inclusion, community and wellbeing team so that we jointly create progress for LGBTQ+ people, and those of other minority groups, together. For example, publishing our sexual orientation pay gap for the first time in 2022.
- Being a spokesperson for the firm externally, across national press – discussing what life is like for a gay man at PwC, what society needs more of, and how we could all improve LGBTQ+ life.
What I want to see in the future:
I want all of our workplaces to be somewhere we are proud to be our unique selves, places we feel belonging, and places we can thrive.
I want to see ‘difference’ treasured for its value – in diversity of thought, experience and skills – as difference is the only thing we all genuinely have in common.
Perhaps most importantly I want everyone to have someone they work with, for, or in their business, who is visible and successful, and who they know is a bit like them. This way they know that they can be successful too.