Case Study 1: Exploring intersectionality, pride and allyship across the globe
Tessa Lim in London: Being an ally means having the courage to be openly and vocally supportive
Tessa is a Strategy and Operations Lead in the Financial Management Group
I joined Macquarie in 2016, where I was based in Sydney and working with the Financial Management Group. Since then, I’ve enjoyed great mobility opportunities, like transferring to London, expanding my role to support other regions and groups, and moving into an operations and strategy role. Today, my focus is on helping our people understand what our divisions’ strategy means for them and supporting our leaders in defining and bringing to life their key areas of focus in the region.
I’ve found Macquarie to be welcoming, inclusive, and accepting, regardless of how senior you are, which is something that has made me feel respected and valued. Macquarie’s employee network groups are an important part of that.
Growing up in Australia as a woman with Chinese and Malaysian heritage, I experienced both outright and subtle discrimination based on my identity. I knew first-hand the shame, confusion and upset, and recognised that while individual experiences differed, these feelings were often shared across groups and communities.
I chose to join the Pride employee network group because, while I have friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community, I didn’t know much about it. I wanted to better understand their experiences and challenges, and ensure I was doing what I could to help them feel supported while standing up to discrimination.
Justice of any kind is collective work and requires accomplices. Allyship is essential to enact change, and it is something that is very important to me.
For me, the first step was education. It’s hard to make a difference if you don’t have understanding, so I watched videos, read articles, and attended events. The more I’ve learned, the more I realised how little I actually knew. Being part of the Pride employee network group has exposed me to different viewpoints and has made me a better ally.
I’m now one of several active allies on the Pride Steering Committee in EMEA and part of both the internal communications stream, and allies and learning stream. We publish articles, educate and bring awareness to days and weeks of significance, and we run a highly successful mentoring program aimed at connecting those in the LGBTQ+ community with senior leaders across Macquarie.
“To me, being an ally means having the courage to be openly and vocally supportive through words and actions.”
It’s about what my behaviour reflects: not walking past, not staying silent, and recognising my biases and privileges. Small things can have a big impact, and simply being visible as an ally can help challenge people’s attitudes.
What I find most rewarding about being an ally is the continuous learning, knowing that I’m doing all I can to have a positive impact on the experience of those in the LGBTQ+ community, and being able to connect with new people I may not have met otherwise.