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When my son came out to me as gay at 15, I knew I had to learn more to be able to fully support him. I embarked on a journey of getting close to the LGBTQ+ community and supporting him on his own journey. From what I learned, I quickly realised how many microaggressions are used daily in my workplace and how non-inclusive our policies and ways of working are, not to mention the constant slurs which are commonplace.
So I set about setting up the first LGBTQIA+ staff network in the business. It wasn’t received well by senior managers so I ran it as almost a back door safe space for people and due my position as a senior manager, I was able to make changes in my own department which fed out to other areas. When I moved to OVO I was welcomed with open arms and the network was fully encouraged – I was quickly able to review all of the policies, benefits and communications and update things to include a transitioning at work policy with unlimited paid leave during transitioning, trans health care and include language and images.
I then set up another 7 Belonging networks to support physical accessibility, faith, religion and beliefs, gender equality, intergenerational working, becoming actively anti-racist, mental health and Ill being and neurodiversity.
The networks have grown over the last few years and I now have over 25% of our whole workforce who are members.
During this time, I secured a seconded position to work on Belonging full time which quickly became permanent. I’ve been doing the role for 3 years and its an absolute privilege to hold a position where I can really make a difference for our people and our customers.

Listening to our people is what shapes what I do and how I do it and I work on building strong relationships to create that psychological safety where people feel space and empowered to give feedback trusting that I will drive change. I am not afraid to challenge senior leaders in trying to do whats right however, based on the culture we have, this is not a common requirement.

Every day in my role is very different and it’s shaped by whatever the business brings to me and my team. Whilst we have of course some business as usual work, like supporting our internal Belonging Networks and curating regular Belonging storytelling, I am often asked to jump into different conversations to help bring a “D&I” lens, and make sure we build truly accessible and inclusive products, processes, policies and systems. I pretty much operate as a consultant/adviser to the rest of the business and, with my team’s help, ensure we respond quickly to different requests to provide insights or help organise workshops or listening sessions to make sure the voice of our people is always heard.

Feeling I have had a positive impact on someone’s life everyday. Sometimes it is a tiny bit of impact on one person whose experience has improved as a result of my work, other times it’s a huge amount of impact on many people, for example when we introduce better and more inclusive policies or launch campaigns to improve understanding and action around topics spanning from mental health and wellbeing, to menopause, cancer support, to being an ally and becoming consciously and actively anti racist.

D&I is not a self-contained project you can deliver on your own. To succeed in this role you need to work collaboratively with many people, and you’ll need to be able to bring in the right expertise at the right time. If you think you know it all and don’t need to rely on others to deliver D&I impact you will fail. So building and nurturing networks, being humble, never considering myself an expert and always, always using my position to create space for other voices to be heard is so important.

A lot of the work, initiatives and events around D&I are based in the South so I am working to bring together D&I leaders in Scotland to build more inclusive workplaces in Scotland. Since our site opened in Glasgow at the end of 2023, we have held 2 roundtable events on creating trans inclusive workplaces with Bobbi Pickard, creating menopause friendly workplaces and our next event is planned for end of August with ‘Get the Gen’ on intergenerational working. It has led to great networking with the other leads of businesses such as Morgan Stanley, John Lewis, Tesco and SSE to name a few where we have been able to share with them resources such as our Menopause commitment and trans inclusion policy.

As well as my role in work, my passion continues outside of work through my volunteering with Trans in the City, Pride in Energy, Glasgow Pride and Proud Scotland to help drive inclusion in our communities and industries

The fact that someone from one of our Belonging networks nominated me for this means so much. To read the nomination and to know I have had an impact is why I do what I do every day