The IoD’s Pride in Business network convened for the first time since its summer launch, and welcomed Speaker of the House of Commons and LGBTQ+ activist Rt Hon John Bercow MP to speak at Thursday’s event.
IoD Pride in Business co-chair Garry Bernstein welcomed over 160 LGBTQ+ business leaders and allies to the IoD’s Carlton Room at 116 Pall Mall, gathered with the aim of empowering, encouraging, and supporting one another in business endeavours.
Guests also heard from IoD Managing Director of Professional Development Louise Gulliver, who espoused the IoD’s stance on workplace equality and its duty, as decreed by the Royal Charter, to support business leaders. "There is a still a long way to go," she told the audience.
"Over a quarter of lesbian, gay and bisexual workers responding to research by the organisation Stonewall, say they are not open to colleagues about their sexual orientation. Our goal here at the IoD is to make business fully inclusive, diversity of thought leads to better decisions and better decisions to better business."
House Speaker Mr Bercow regaled the audience with his personal insights into equality in government and politics, along with some wider predictions about the future progression of LGBTQ+ rights in the workplace and beyond.
“You can’t dodge these issues; ducking is not an option. Don’t let prejudice lurk or dance around unchallenged. Tackle it at every turn!”
Following Mr Bercow’s remarks, there was then a short Q&A session, where audience questions ranged from encouraging straight allies, and gender equality, to LGBTQ+ efforts and support around the world.
The speaker session was brought to a close by another Pride in Business co-chair Zoe Chowney sharing her own personal story, before commencing the networking drinks.
Keep an eye out for news of our next Pride in Business event, and get involved with the online conversation at or using the #IoDPride hashtag.