Pride and Progress: A Journey of Inclusion at Aon

Tell us about your accomplishments to date?

I’m proud to see how inclusive cultures have continued to strengthen and embed over my time in the workplace. Alongside, I’m also proud to see the steadfast support and advocacy actively demonstrated senior leadership. For me, personal accomplishments have included being an active member of our Pride Business Resource Group (BRG), and stepping up to lead the BRG in recent years. In my time on the BRG, I’ve seen us grow from strength to strength, and have had the pleasure to firsthand witness the positive impacts that the work of the group has on colleagues and to our firm’s culture. Specifically as a BRG, our accomplishments include:

  • Yearly attendance at Pride Parades, with a focus to ensure not just attendance in London, but also other cities across the UK. Last year, Pride Parades included Birmingham and Leeds, as well as London, where colleagues at all levels get involved, including UK Board Members. We also hosted Rainbow Cafés in the offices ahead of the Parades to build connections and allyship. We’re excited to get involved in Pride Parades across 4 cities in the UK in 2024.
  • Through our longstanding charity partnership with Opening Doors, we’ve delivered year-on-year impact for isolated members of the older LGBT+ Community. This has included colleagues personally delivering circa 200 hampers during the festival period. We’ve also hosted in-house cinema events to connect with the isolated older members of the community.
  • We’ve championed internal policy and strategy to help create inclusive work environments where all colleagues feel safe to be their true authentic selves. This includes the monthly Rainbow Café where we have reached colleagues internationally. We have seen the UK CEO and UK CPO join those cafés to get involved in discussion and hear directly from colleagues about their own stories and hear community updates. We’re also proud of growing the number of colleagues taking part in our Self-ID campaign and sharing their sexual orientation and gender identity data. We’re now at more than 70% completion.

What are the barriers in representing many intersectional identity groups?

We recognise that barriers exist, including limited awareness, preconceived notions and stereotypes and intersectional marginalisation. It’s with that in mind that we have consciously worked hard to have intersectional approaches to our resource group strategies, with an aim to broaden demographics, broaden storytelling and breakdown perceived stereotypes.

As a Pride BRG, we collaborate closely with our 7 other BRGs, including multi-culturalism, gender identity, mental health, parents and carers, etc. Initiatives have included ensuring a Pride perspective is shared at roundtables or discussion-based events, such as speaking to LGBT-parenting perspectives and helping book clubs to find stories/authors that speak to more than one identity characteristic. Through transparent and collaborative approaches, this provides greater opportunities to communicate and enhance awareness.

We strongly recognise the benefits in intersectionality. For me, the underlying principle of intersectionality is that shared cultures and understandings deliver the best outcomes for each of us. The intersectional environments we create as resource groups together ensure we can flourish as individuals, bring the best of ourselves to the table and deliver sustainable results.

Do you think acceptance is improving?

All identity communities have seen their own acceptance journey, and the biggest failure we can make as identity groups is to consider societal acceptance as “achieved”. I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside colleagues with varied backgrounds and different workplace tenures, and whilst each of us have our own experiences, it’s from understanding what others have gone through highlights to me the environment I am able to enjoy today. It’s therefore a personal ambition of mine to ensure we continue to evolve and enhance the “acceptance” journeys. Where we can thank those who paved the way for us to date, I strongly believe that we as a community have a responsibility to continue to pave those same paths for those behind us.

What does been nominated in your category mean to you?

The nomination is a privilege and is a testament to the drive, determination and continual hard work that we do as colleagues for the community and each other. Without this, and without the continual championing from our leadership team, the successes we achieve, the impacts we deliver, and this nomination wouldn’t have been possible. For me and the BRG network, the nomination gives visibility and credibility to the hard work and passion we bring and really invigorates us to do more and keep volunteering! It’s made me so proud of what we’ve achieved together!