Top 12 Business Allies 2024

In alphabetical order

You cannot vote in this category.
This category is judged based on evidence provided according to the British LGBT Awards criteria.

Abigail Westfield (1)

Abigail Westfield

VML

As the daughter of two Caribbean immigrants who travelled to the UK to build better lives for themselves and their future children, Abigail Westfield, VML U.K.’s Inclusion, Equity & Inclusion (IE&B) Manager, is fulfilling her parents’ wildest dreams. Although she spent much of her life navigating academia and, later, the corporate world with limited support from her parents, she has always been driven by a passion to catalyse social mobility within the Black community and provide opportunities she didn’t have to the next generation. Abigail’s leadership has been vital to the growth and success of VML’s global IE&B practice and the agency at large.

Adrian Mardell

Jaguar Land Rover

After 34 years in various financial roles at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Adrian was appointed to the position of CEO in July 2023.

Throughout his career, Adrian has been a transparent, motivational and compassionate leader.

As CEO, he has made it his personal passion to champion and drive DE&I initiatives at JLR, believing that creative strength comes from our differences. He has shown unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community’s rights and representation.

In May 2023, he became the first ally CEO to march at the Birmingham Pride parade with our colleagues, demonstrating the importance of allyship at JLR. In September 2023, his wife attended on his behalf the Attitude UK awards.

He advocates strongly for the LGBTQ+ community at internal events and in company-wide messages, regularly reminding his teams that JLR is an inclusive place and highlighting the importance of creating safe spaces for the community.

Adrian Mardell (1)
Ann O'Donoghue (1)

Ann O’Donoghue

Barclays

Ann O’Donoghue is part of Barclays DE&I team, where she is the Business Partner for Barclays UK and Barclays Execution Services (BX) covering operations, technology and corporate functions. She is the global LGBTQ+ Agenda lead for Barclays, partnering with the business and Spectrum ERG to progress LGBTQ+ at Barclays.

Previously, she was part of Group Leadership Development at Barclays, where she created experiential high potential leadership programmes, building a diverse leadership pipeline and future strategic capabilities. Ann joined Barclays in November 2013 and previously worked at General Electric (GE) and Royal Mail Group in a variety of HR roles.

She is also a trustee of Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) housing association and a member of its Operations Committee, first joining Notting Hill Housing as part of its People Committee in June 2015.

Chad Davidson

Certes

Chad is an Account Manager with Certes IT and, since joining, has been a driving force with its IT DE&I activities. He has been a particular driving force within advocating for the trans community in both educating and campaigning for trans charities, with planned fundraising activities to support the wonderful and much-needed charity Mermaids.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community himself, Chad tirelessly fights to ensure that his trans counterparts can have the same equal opportunities and respect as everyone else.
Chad Davidson (1)
Dan Carter (1)

Dan Carter

Johnson Matthey

Dan, an enthusiastic and influential ally, has significantly contributed to our diversity and inclusion efforts. As the first ally in our Role Models & Allies scheme, he spurred over 60 ally sign-ups in the first year. Leading the Inclusion for All communication project, Dan utilised IT expertise to identify worker archetypes, prioritising in-person Pride events for non-desk-based workers and forming the basis for a global internal comms team’s channel review, now used more widely by the JM communications and inclusion teams. Of the back of this he pioneered site newsletters for non-desk-based workers. Dan also co-presented an intersectionality workshop for HR teams and his visible support as a cis white ally resulted in positive feedback. Proactively, he addressed a lack of gender-neutral options with an external vendor, again using his senior position to initiate a solution. Dan’s dedication exemplifies his commitment to fostering inclusivity.

Emma Carey

MSB Solicitors

Emma joined MSB as a trainee, later becoming a partner, and now managing partner. This extensive experience gives her a comprehensive understanding of the firm’s operations. Having launched and headed the MSB’s family department in 2000, Emma is a practicing solicitor, deeply committed to access to justice. As a businesswoman, she is committed to social and economic justice for all. Emma’s excellence in her field is recognised by Chambers and Partners and she is a leading individual in the Legal500 directory, where she is highly regarded for her specialised experience in domestic abuse cases. Beyond her professional achievements, Emma actively participates in various charitable and community initiatives. She serves as a Trustee for the Anthony Walker Foundation, Merseyside and Cheshire NSPCC, and the Citizens Advice Bureau, while also being a Patron of Mandela8. Furthermore, Emma leads MSB’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee, ensuring MSB is a fair and equitable workplace.

Emma Carey
Julia Reidy (1)

Julia Reidy

Credit Suisse

Julia is a director at UBS and co-chair of the UK Pride & Allies network. For more than seven years she has helped shape and drive the Credit Suisse EMEA LGBTQ+ & Ally network, first as communications lead and then as co-chair in 2023. During this time, Julia delivered an events schedule to engage employees, educate and inform, foster awareness of LGBTQ+ identities through the calendar of celebrations days and strongly advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. She’s also proud to be a trustee treasurer for Aidsmap, a charity which provides independent, accurate and accessible information about HIV. Julia considers being an ally an integral part of her life, both in and out of work. She believes active allyship promotes inclusivity and diversity, thus enabling everyone to be their true self and create a better working environment for all. To quote so many LGBTQ+ heroes – “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it”.

Kathleen Harrison

Jacobs

Kathleen is a Senior Associate Director at Jacobs, responsible for the delivery of local government contracts in North West England. A chartered engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, she champions gender equality and diversity in project delivery across the UK, while also promoting inclusion throughout the company and the wider construction industry. Kathleen has been the Jacobs representative on the Building Equality (BE) Greater Manchester committee since its launch in 2017 and was co-chair from 2022-24. A fierce believer in local activism, she arranges fundraising and networking events for local LGBTQ+ charities and has run outreach days at Manchester, Sparkle and Salford Prides for several years. A cornerstone member of Jacobs’ LGBTQ+ network, Kathleen co-leads the Allies Taskforce, where she promotes the importance of active allyship to senior leadership through Allies Toolbox Talks and has co-created other important resources such as the BE poster campaign.

Kathleen Harrison (1)
Mike Wilton (1)

Mike Wilton

ARUP

Mike is a director and Manchester office leader of Arup, which is dedicated to sustainable development. Mike is also Chair of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership, which brings together public, private and third sector organisations to collaborate around Climate Action. He is a member of the Greater Manchester Business Board and a Board Member of the North West Business Leadership Team. Mike is proud to have been ally of the LGBTQ+ community, which began with his support of campaigning against Clause 28 in 1988, has been a member of Arup’s national EDI Executive and supports Arup’s active LGBTQ+ staff groups in Manchester.

Rachel Corp

ITN

Rachel was appointed as Chief Executive of ITN in September 2022, overseeing one of the largest independent television production companies in the UK. Prior to becoming CEO, Rachel was editor of ITV News, where she led the team to a string of Royal Television Society Journalism awards. Other roles during her ITN career include editor of 5 News as well as ITV News London. She began as a trainee, spending time at 5 News as part of its launch team before taking up a series of roles covering major stories in the UK and abroad for ITV News. Rachel also spent time in Russia as the BBC’s senior Moscow producer. Rachel leads on D&I and is passionate about change on and off screen, and also undertakes regular speaking appearances advocating for high-quality, independent, trusted news and the importance of public service broadcasting. She is currently the chair of Women in Journalism as well as a UK Board Trustee at Women for Women International. Rachel is also an alumnus of LBS’s Senior Executive Programme (SEP).

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Ruth Rowan (1)

Ruth Rowan

Avanade

Ruth is Avanade’s Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for its overall global marketing strategy, brand and corporate communications. She works closely with teams around the world to support its growth ambitions through building a differentiated brand, value proposition, client experience, demand generation and engaging external and internal communications. Ruth is also the Executive Ally for Avanade’s European Prism network, supporting its LGBTQ+ community. Under Ruth’s guidance, this network is striving to increase visibility and belonging, raise awareness and offer support to the LGBTQ+ community at Avanade. It has a crucial role in accelerating its Inclusion & Diversity journey which is at the heart of the business. She joined Avanade in February 2022 having previously held senior marketing roles for NTT, Dimension Data, British Telecommunications (BT) and Siebel Systems.

Sian Whittaker

Arcadis

Sian joined Arcadis 25 years ago, and has in that time performed a variety of roles including becoming the current Business Area Director for Resilience in the UK and Ireland. 

Leading with her commitment to driving diverse and inclusive working environments, Sian’s impact spans the teams that she works with and the areas that she influences – consistently championing programmes aimed at rooting out bias and increasing representation across the business. Sian strives to grow by learning from the rich lived experiences and perspectives of the people around her. 

This passion for individuals has shone through in her proactive role as UK & Ireland Executive Sponsor for their Pride Affinity Group since August 2022. She has volunteered herself in initiatives within the network to pursue change in the industry and hasn’t been shy in showing vulnerability to what she’s willing to learn from the network as a cis-gendered heterosexual ally. This personal and honest approach has shown great care in her attitude toward the community and has become an important part of it. Plus, her interest in shoe collecting means she’s fashionable to boot. 

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