Image of Jack Mizel

"Let’s invite people in, not call them out" Jack Mizel, Chief Executive Officer, Pride365

Jack has worked within the Sales and Marketing industry for over 30 years, within the Publishing, Sponsorship and Certification sectors.

Jack is a proven business leader both in terms of growing businesses and people development. He built Profile Pursuit, a trans-Atlantic publishing company from the kitchen table to a PLC. During this time, Jack developed his affinity and allyship within the LGBT+ community, as Profile Pursuit were practitioners of authentic inclusion years before it was considered important.

For the last 5 years, Jack, as the founder and CEO of Pride365, has brought his passions of enhancing peoples’ lives, and marketing skills together.

Before DE&I was a twinkle in the eye of HR departments, I built a company that that created a culture within which everyone, and I mean everyone, was treated with equal respect and dignity, and promotion was based purely on merit.

The concept of Pride 365 has developed organically over the past three decades by my strong business relationships and friendships within the LGBT+ community. It was a realisation that you couldn’t policy and procedure your way to create a winning business. All big businesses these days will be legally compliant with current inclusion law, but over and above this, it’s important to nurture and develop meaningful relationships by people all pulling in the same direction.

Achieving this necessitated creating a working environment within which people could talk, debate and discuss matters even around topics such as gender, sexuality and politics without fear of being cancelled or causing division or rancour.

Disagreement does not have to lead to disharmony. The more discussion and camaraderie there is, the greater the likelihood we realise we all have much more in common than the things that supposedly divide us. We believe that true inclusion can only come about when meaningful dialogue begins. Good communication can unlock the conversations that need to happen, and help prevent mistrust and misunderstanding. In the current climate of cancel culture many employers hesitate to begin conversations that may take them into areas where they feel less sure of their ground. This is where Employee Resource Groups and Ally Groups can help open up the channels of communication and begin to make real change in company culture. This is where Diversity is recognised and celebrated, but most importantly, it is where true Inclusion begins.

In the 1990s, my business partners Steve Anderson and Lisa Taylor and myself set up a custom publishing business operating both in the UK and the US. 60% of our management and 40% of staff were from within the LGBT+ community.

We published many successful titles, one of which was Pride Magazine. Prior to this relationship, my interaction with the LGBT+ community had been minimal. At that time, attitudes still existed where senior marketers would routinely make disparaging comments and assumptions about a gay audience. It’s hard to believe now, but even mentioning the “G” or “L” words might elicit responses that people simply wouldn’t dream of uttering today.

Selling niche sponsorship and advertising in the 1990s was difficult, especially for Pride Magazine, and required an extremely talented and dedicated sales team. We were determined to make a real difference, and were rewarded by building the business into a very successful publicly quoted company. It’s fair to say that Steve and I were amongst the fore runners who pioneered true diversity and inclusivity.

The business quickly gained a reputation as a workplace where diversity was a natural and organic process, and equal opportunity of employment and advancement were based on ability. We had a happy and friendly workforce and workplace. The result was a dynamic and diverse talent pool with about 25% of the workforce coming from within the LGBT+ community. The absence of traditional barriers created an amazing working environment, and strong social bonds were forged across the entire workforce.

This is what led me to create Pride365, an organisation dedicated to bringing about an end to Pink Washing. Our mission is to bring about positive change in our society, by working with corporate partners who are committed to help create a culture within their organisations where this positive change can come about to its fullest extent. Where everyone feels welcome and people are able to live and work as their true authentic selves.

Pride365 was set up 5 years ago, working with InterPride, the global umbrella organisation representing the Pride Movement, to ensure two things:

Firstly, to eliminate as far as possible pink-washing. Most people will recognise the signs. Rainbow flags appearing on pack in June/July, participation in Pride marches, and then… not a lot for the rest of the year. In Pride month, it is particularly important that business understands that supporting the LGBT+ community is something that needs to happen every month, every week, every day. This is what we mean by ending pink-washing. Being seen as an ally in Pride month is no longer enough. The LGBT+ community are looking to work for (and bring their custom to) businesses who support them 365 days a year.

Secondly, and more importantly, Pride365 partners with organisations that want to be truly authentic in this space, so that they can both forge a winning culture within their enterprise, as well as commercially benefit from the resulting loyalty and custom of the LGBT+ community.

Why is this important to business today? Because, not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also strategically vital when one considers the LGBT+ community now represents 10% of the adult population, rising to 17% by 2030. Given that gay couples have a 23% higher disposable income than straight couples, this is a highly important demographic for businesses to consider.

Unlike other organisations in this area, Pride365 has valuable experience working with enterprises large and small, and tailoring solutions that in each case enhance companies’ existing efforts in a collaborative and apolitical manner.

We are not in the business of calling people out… our entire ethos is to build bridges and to invite them in.

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