Top 12 LGBT+ Trailblazers 2024

In alphabetical order

This award will be given to a person who works within the diversity, inclusion and/or HR sector. The winner of this award will go above and beyond, in the workplace and the wider community, to ensure the initiatives they implement or oversee create lasting change. Employees and colleagues should be feel that their work in this area is more than a tick-box exercise.

Benjamin Jackson (1)

Ben Jackson

Wickes

Ben has worked at Wickes for 20 years and has always had a passion for inclusion and diversity. He launched its Pride Network in 2017 and has co-chaired the Network ever since. Ben has overseen the launch of a number of great initiatives for the LGBTQ+ community both inside and outside of Wickes. These initiatives include the launch of training programmes such as its LGBTQ+ Allies and Role Model workshops, the introduction of policies such as a Transitioning at Work policy and a number of community-based projects to further support local LGBTQ+ communities. In his recently appointed role of Head of I&D for Wickes, Ben has been responsible for setting out its key missions in this space and building long-term plans to continue the great work that has already been started, ensuring that everyone can truly feel at home at Wickes.

Caroline Prendergast

KPMG UK

Caroline became the senior partner sponsor for KPMG’s award-winning LGBT+ network, Breathe, in January 2024, having served as a sponsor since 2022. KPMG has been recognized by Stonewall as a top 20 employer of LGBT+ people for five consecutive years. Caroline is passionate about inclusion and intersectionality, championing events such as LGBT+ with the Families’ Network and participating in Pride alongside the African Rainbow Family. 

As the Chief Learning Officer for KPMG, she holds responsibility for the formal education and well-being of apprentices and grads, constituting around 20% of the workforce. She ensures this group can regularly connect, thrive, and be themselves. In 2022, she created a film for new joiners, where she openly shared her identity to encourage colleagues to provide IDE data, enabling the firm to better reflect and consider their needs. Caroline actively attends and contributes to Out Leadership debates and events. 

Caroline Prendergast (1)
Chris Edwards (1)

Chris Edwards

Travers Smith

As the CSR & Diversity Director at Travers Smith, Chris leads the implementation of the firm’s D&I strategy and its market-leading Corporate Social Responsibility Programme. Working collaboratively with partners and external stakeholders, Chris has played a key role in executing innovative projects aimed at fostering greater LGBTQ+ inclusiveness within the firm and the wider community. Notable among these initiatives is an innovative mentoring scheme for LGBTQ+ students, delivered in partnership with Just Like Us.

 

Before joining Travers Smith in 2015, Chris served as a client group manager at Stonewall, providing guidance to a diverse array of law firms on cultivating inclusive workplaces for LGBTQ+ individuals. Additionally, Chris is one of the founding board members of Freehold, the professional networking group for LGBTQ+ real estate professionals.

Claire Brody

Warner Bros. Discovery

Claire’s passion to influence the way people see themselves and experience the world through storytelling is foundational to her role at Warner Bros. Discovery. Together, with her brilliant team of DEI practitioners, they work to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging by empowering a diverse workforce and creative teams, removing barriers to opportunity and opening access to the industry at all levels. Prior to joining WBD in early 2022, Claire led DEI across the Walt Disney Company enterprise and founded the inaugural enterprise Disney Pride employee resource group with LGBTQIA+ employees and allies, which continues to thrive today, supporting millions of LGBTQIA+ employees, families and audiences worldwide. Brody is a highest honours graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, a published children’s author and poet. She currently serves on the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership Advisory Board and actively volunteers with Diversity Role Models in the UK.

Claire Brody (1)
Jak Matthews (1)

Jak Matthews

BT Group

Jak is a trans woman who has made innovative and remarkable strides in promoting inclusivity at BT Group. As a dedicated DEI professional, she has successfully introduced measures to create a more welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ colleagues. She spearheaded the revision of BT’s trans-inclusive guidance and policy, ensuring a supportive and respectful environment for all. A charismatic and engaging speaker, she’s called upon to support and educate colleagues internally and globally. Jak’s passion for mentorship led her to co-develop the Pride mentorship programme, connecting LGBTQIA+ colleagues with mentors and empowering their professional journeys. She established a thriving trans and non-binary networking and support group, fostering a sense of belonging and community. She champions diversity, equity and inclusion, using data and lived experience to drive change, ensuring equal opportunities for everyone. Leading by example, she inspires positive change and celebrates unique voices.

Keiran Bailey

Whitbread

Keiran is a dedicated and passionate D&I Advisor at Whitbread. With a profound belief in the power of diversity, he helps Whitbread towards its commitment to becoming a more inclusive workplace. Keiran works closely with Whitbread’s four inclusion networks, organising events that celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity, notably Pride, which not only amplifies awareness but also creates spaces for community and understanding. Keiran actively contributes to making Whitbread a workplace where everyone feels valued, respected and able to thrive through training allies on terminology and the experience of different communities He consults on policies and reviews practices that impact team members and customers, and advocates for change that will improve experiences for the LGBTQIA+ community overall.

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Laks Mann (1)

Laks Mann

College of Policing

Laks is a creative strategist and award-winning DEI Champion with a career spanning the corporate, charitable and public sectors, with a parallel record of NGO volunteering. He is the first South Asian elected onto the National LGBTQ+ Police Network and is an LGBTQ+ Advisor to the National Sikh Police Association. He is a Trustee and LGBTQ+ Lead for South Asian Heritage Month, and has been pivotal in mainstreaming queer narratives within the UK’s fastest-growing cultural and heritage platform. He is a Mayor of London-appointed EDI Advisor to City Hall, advising Deputy Mayors on the EDI and Disproportionality Boards, a Leadership Fellow at Windsor Castle and was the Founder of Gaysians, a ground-breaking national platform amplifying positive Brown queer visibility.

Leng Montgomery

Burberry

Leng Montgomery is a senior DE&I manager who currently works at Burberry in the global DE&I Team and is on the board of Outvertising. As a consultant he has influenced strategy and policy specifically around trans and non-binary inclusion and intersectional allyship for more than 40 companies globally and mentors leaders and anyone wanting to learn more or ‘end the awkward’. He is a regular speaker within the DE&I field and has appeared on BBC Radio, advised the media around authentic representation and delivered keynote speeches to many organisations globally. His main topics have included discussing trans, bI and neurodiverse and having a non-visible identity. In 2014 and 2015 he was listed on the Independent’s Rainbow List in the ‘Ones to Watch’ category. In 2018 he gave a TedxLondon Talk around trans representation and in 2022 was awarded a Trans in the City ‘Corporate Rising Star’ award.

Leng Montgomery (1)
Matt Foster (1)

Matt Foster

Ogilvy

Branded as the “adland’s activist” by The Drum magazine, Matt serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Ogilvy UK, the world’s largest and most-awarded advertising agency. A DEI thought leader, frequent public speaker, LGBTQ+ campaigner, and multicultural specialist, Matt is a British Diversity Award winner and founding member of WPP’s LGBTQ+ network UNITE, contributing to organizational change in the world’s largest marketing group.

 

With 18 years in Healthcare communications, Matt specialized in delivering HIV advocacy programs targeting health inequity and HIV stigma in vulnerable communities for ViiV Healthcare and Gilead Sciences.

 

Currently on the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Talent Leadership Group and the European Association of Communications Agencies’ (EACA) DEI Task Force, Matt also serves as a non-executive director of the advertising industry’s LGBTQ+ advocacy charity Outvertising, ensuring LGBTQ+ inclusivity in workplaces and communications.

As a proudly queer, multi-racial British Filipino, Matt is a patron of Pinxy Creatives UK, supporting the careers of British Filipinos in the media, arts, and creative industries.

Patrick Mccan

Linklaters

Patrick is the Director of Learning with Linklaters LLP. Linklaters is the 2023 recipient of Legal Cheek’s Award for Best Training in a Law Firm.
Patrick is also Chair of the City of London Law Society Training Committee and is currently designing a queer lawyer leaders’ programme. He is co-founder of the Social Welfare Solicitor Qualification Fund, which launched in December 2021, and now has funding for a hundred Legal Aid lawyers to qualify, with more £1 million personally raised. He is also CEO of City Century, a law collaboration launched in 2022 with more than 50 firms that will bring in 100+ solicitor apprentices into the City of London each year. Patrick also created Queer City Law Career, a graduate recruitment event involving four leading global law firms.

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Richard Fisk (1)

Richard Fisk

Addleshaw Goddard LLP

Richard is a lawyer and Senior Pro Bono and Inclusion Manager at Addleshaw Goddard, where he works across the business to drive the firm’s DE&I agenda forward. Richard has been responsible for the growth and diversification of Addleshaw Goddard’s LGBTQ+ network (OpenAG), which has more than doubled in size during his tenure and includes greater gender, ethnic and queer representation. Richard is passionate about advocating for less-represented groups within the LGBTQ+ community and was responsible for introducing transitioning policies and gender neural bathrooms and the creation of a platform where colleagues can share their lived experience of being LGBTQ-plus (religious, pansexual, disabled, neurodiverse, etc.). Richard is generous with sharing his lived experiences around topics including masculinity, coming out and growing up with a trans sister. He regularly mentors junior colleagues struggling with their identity and offers guidance on how to build more inclusive workplaces.

Tolu Osinubi

 Deloitte

Tolu Osinubi is a director at Deloitte UK in the quality and test engineering team. She has more than 10 years of experience working in large-scale digital transformation for global consumer clients. Tolu is the co-chair of Proud at Deloitte. In 2023, the network supported 14 Pride events across the UK, a company first. She successfully implemented her vision of scaling cross-network initiatives, providing members with opportunities to build community and connection.

Tolu is a sought-after keynote speaker and guest panellist on the Black experience in the UK, representing her multiple intersections as a Black LGBTQ+ role model working in technology. She is an advisory board member and volunteer for multiple queer-led community initiatives.

Tolu has expertise in creating spaces for LGBTQ+ people striving to be their authentic selves at work. She is practised at supporting diversity networks with building intersectionality into their frameworks and driving cultural change in large-scale organisations.

Tolu Osinubi