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Pride Month: being LGBTQ+ in banking and finance

27 June, 2022Mutahara Gofur

To celebrate Pride Month, three successful banking and finance professionals – from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ+) community – share their experience and advice.

Julien Haye

Julien HayeJulien is the Head of Non-Financial Risk at Fidelity International and has over 20 years’ experience in the financial industry. He’s also one of our visiting scholars and has set up his own platform, A 1000 voices, for LGBTQ+ people to share their experiences and seek support.  

The banking and finance industry is huge and there are roles beyond just investment banking and fintech. Build your knowledge on the many services and products out there and reach out to people already in the industry to help you decide where you would like to go.

The sector is also very diverse and inclusive. Networking with others to learn about their personal journey can help you to grow and to find a mentor. This could also aid you in quickly settling in to your job and finding new job opportunities.

Cathy Denyer-O’Leary

CATHY DENYER O'LEARY_027 - Copy (2)Cathy is the Head of Operational Governance & Controls with Vanguard Asset Management. Cathy was involved in launching Vanguard's European LGBTQ+ network, OPEN, which she chaired for three years, as well as their Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She also helped to create and is chair of Inter-Invest, an LGBTQ+ network for the investment management industry.

Go at your own pace. If you’re not ready to come out at work, then don’t feel that you need to. Find people that you trust and test the water with them. While I’ve found the asset management industry a very welcoming place for people in the LGBTQ+ community, it can take time to trust people. Also, not everyone wants to share that aspect of themselves, which is absolutely fine.

Joining a network is a great way to meet other LGBTQ+ people who want to create an inclusive environment. Many allies also join these networks, so it doesn’t mean that you’re outing yourself by doing so. It can also make you more comfortable about coming out at work.

Be the change that you want to see. Once you’re comfortable in your new industry, look for role models. Find out whether there are people within the LGBTQ+ community that are vocal in your company. At some point, it may be possible to be part of that and become an advocate for your community. When you’re ready, you can also be a role model for new people joining your organisation and industry.

Harry Walker

Harry Walker (2)Harry Walker is an Investment, Finance and Risk (BSc) student who has just completed his second year with us. He’s about to start an industrial placement working as an economist in Prudential Regulation at the Bank of England later this year.

Being honest and accepting yourself as you are helps you show up authentically and allows you to become more confident and self-assured. It’s also your unique selling point and sets you apart from the rest – this is what you bring to the table!

Consider opportunities at financial services organisations that are openly supportive of LGBTQ+ and minorities in their recruitment processes. You deserve to work somewhere you can show up authentically and where you’ll receive recognition and respect. This was an important consideration when I was applying for financial services roles. Stonewall’s annual UK Workplace Equality Index is a great tool that ranks the top 100 UK companies for inclusivity!

Try to reach out to others in the LGBTQ+ community who are also in the industry. It is important to have a support network who you can relate to and engage with.

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