Posted: 08 Dec. 2016 05 min. read

The story behind Outstanding LGBTI Executives

our people make to our firm and to our clients

Last week AFR BOSS Magazine published an Australian First – Outstanding 50 LGBTI Executives.

As a nation it is important to acknowledge the significance of this milestone, but we also need to recognise that in many ways, we are on a journey with a long way to go.

When our National Partner for People and Performance, Alec Bashinsky, told me about one of our young tax professionals and his side-project of compiling a list of Australian LGBTI executives – it piqued my interest.

It turned out 25 year old Andrew Cumberlidge, who’d lived and worked in the UK then finished college and started working for Deloitte in California, had already received agreement from more than half of the executives named in the list – including Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

Cindy Hook with Andrew Cumberlidge, Deloitte Australia
Cindy Hook with Andrew Cumberlidge, Deloitte Australia

It was at this stage, I became excited. This idea had the potential to make a real impact that matters.

As a CEO there are so many initiatives and projects one can get behind. So why this one? Andrew’s idea aligned directly with the culture of inclusion that I’m passionate about – a culture that we are building within our firm – where every person is valued for the contribution they make regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or any other form of diversity.

An inclusive culture is core to the execution of our business strategies.

Speaking to the wider societal issue, I believe business needs to take a lead on this. This list of role models will have an untold positive flow on effect that will help shift the national discussion on LGBTI equality.

As I have said many times, being inclusive is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense. When our people feel comfortable to be their authentic selves at work, they feel included and they’re happier, more efficient and productive. At Deloitte we’re continually seeking to shape an inclusive culture and it’s up to all of us to provide a working environment that allows everyone to achieve their full potential, regardless of gender, cultural background, sexual orientation or gender identity.

What matters most to me is the contribution our people make to our firm and to our clients.

This is a great day for our continued commitment to diversity and inclusion. I am proud of the role Andrew and Deloitte played in researching and collating this list of Australia’s 50 outstanding LGBTI leaders.

Each one of these people has achieved success, in many cases against tough odds. They have my congratulations and respect for their courage in stepping forward.  Having met a number of these individuals recently – I know it wasn’t an easy decision for many of them.

Thanks also go out to Jo Gray and the team at AFR BOSS Magazine, for their willingness to run with this and their enthusiasm in embracing the project.

I must also thank all of the team and those who worked side by side with Andrew on this project, without whom the list you see today would not have been possible.

I hope that these courageous leaders will set an example for other organisations and that we will continue to move this country forward.

Meet our author

Cindy Hook

Cindy Hook

Chief Executive, Deloitte Asia Pacific

6 Shenton Way, OUE Downtown 2, #033-00 Singapore 068809, Singapore As the CEO of Deloitte Asia Pacific, Cindy leads 55,000 professionals across 19 geographies. A pivotal moment in the firm’s history, the formation of Deloitte Asia Pacific was in response to the increasingly global needs of Deloitte’s clients and people. Cindy’s aim is to create a seamless experience in which clients and employees can access ‘one door to the future’ – the very best of Deloitte’s talent and capabilities to capture future opportunities in the fastest growing region in the world. As a member of Deloitte’s Global Executive Committee, Cindy delivers a key component of Deloitte’s aspiration to become undisputed leaders in professional services globally – the firm’s Tilt to Asia strategy. Tilt to Asia recognizes the strength and resilience of Asia and the opportunity for growth this region represents for clients’ businesses and Deloitte. Cindy delivers on this strategy by driving regional investments and acquisitions, scaling technology consulting and cyber solutions, deepening relationships with Deloitte’s global, inbound and outbound MNC clients and family-owned enterprises, as well as building and delivering value to clients with key alliance partners. Cindy sees diversity, inclusion and gender equality as business imperatives. As the Chair of Deloitte’s Asia Pacific Inclusion Council, she ensures these remain priorities for Deloitte across the region and that tangible steps are taken to accelerate the pace of change. Cindy’s passion lies in driving collaboration and challenging teams to develop innovative approaches to winning and delivering business. She believes strongly in building inspired leaders and creating a purpose-led organization that will make an impact that matters across communities. Cindy started her career with Deloitte in the San Francisco audit practice in 1986 and became a partner in 1998. She moved to Australia in 2009 and led the Audit practice for six years before becoming CEO in 2015.   Cindy serves on the Board of Directors for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and contributes to safeguarding the Reef from the impacts of environmental change. She is also a founding member of the Asia Corporate Leadership Council, a group of business and industry leaders who have come together to advance thinking and know-how on corporate purpose and positively influence business practice and policy regionally. Cindy is an International Member of Chief Executive Women (Australia), a non-profit advocating diversity and women leadership and a special advisor to the Male Champions of Change, a coalition of Australian leaders redefining men’s role in furthering gender equality. Cindy loves skiing, travelling, keeping active and exploring the outdoors. She lives in Singapore with her husband and is a proud Mom to two boys.