116 Pall Mall was decked with rainbows yesterday evening, as the IoD launched its first Pride in Business network for LGBTQ+ leaders, to coincide with London’s Pride march this weekend.
Along with the re-hanging of the rainbow flag outside the building for all on Pall Mall to see, the interior of the Grade 1 listed building was also adorned with colourful banners, and even the statue of the Duke of Wellington on the Grand Staircase wore a colourful sash.
Over 150 guests, along with partnered organisations InterTech, TechLondonAdvocates, Series Q and the Gay Women’s Network, all congregated in the Waterloo Room for the Pride in Business launch reception, with Director General Stephen Martin officially kick-starting the event.
“For businesses to survive, we need to support as wide a pool of talented leaders as possible,” he told the room.
Next, we welcomed Liz Bingham OBE, recently retired as a Managing Partner of EY. “It’s important to remember that we still have a long way to go for equality,” she says to a rapt audience.
“If we ever run the risk of declaring victory, we will lose!” She then goes on to give a heartwarming story of a former colleague inspired by talking openly about sexuality, and the importance of giving those ‘not yet out’ the confidence to succeed.
Iain Anderson of Cicero Group told audiences that a third of FTSE 250 companies are in some way involved with tomorrow’s Pride march through London, “But where are the rest?!”
“It’s the job of all global citizens to make sure that corporates - big and small - continue this support and these conversations.”
Finally Alex Mitchell, chair of the IoD 99 start-up network, reminded the assembled group, “As founders/directors we need to create workplaces which enable people to be themselves"
“Success shouldn’t be about your sex, sexuality, colour, or creed. But the company you keep.”
The Pride in Business network will bring together IoD members, LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ friendly individuals from the wider business community to chat, share stories, and perhaps even do business together - which aligns to the IoD's Royal Charter of 1906 to support members.
The IoD will release details of upcoming events and initiatives as part of the Pride in Business Network later this summer.