Posted: 02 Mar. 2022 5 min. read

LGBT+ Round Table: Learn about our differences, and Create an inclusive environment for all

Event Report from 29 November 2021

Report

 

Take a look at our “Rainbow Table,” where leaders and members discussed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) from LGBT+ perspective - how we can be Ally (*1), how to spread Allyship, what we can do to create a more inclusive environment, what is an ideal workplace or society and more, with following panelists: 

  • Akiko Asai (Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLC, Partner/ President, Tohmatsu Challenged Co., Ltd.)
  • Atsuko Kawazu (Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLC)
  • Satomi Sasaki (Managing Director, Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory LLC)
  • And Luca, Youngmi, and Riku - Members from Deloitte Tohmatsu Rainbow (*2), LGBT+ Ally Network at Deloitte Tohmatsu Group

--- Titles, names, and other information are as of the event. 

(*1) Ally: Those who understand/support LGBT+ community

(*2) Deloitte Tohmatsu Rainbow (DTR): Ally Network (Employee Resource Group) at Deloitte Tohmatsu Group

*From top left, Akiko Asai, Atsuko Kawazu, Satomi Sasaki, Riku, Youngmi, Luca (clockwise)

(Summary from the session)

 

Empowering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to make our “differences” into “strength”

Asai: To make our “differences” into “strength,” Deloitte Tohmatsu Group is empowering various DEI initiatives so that each and all members can thrive at work. The initiatives are not limited to gender equality, but also LGBT+, cultural diversity, disabilities and more. (Details are HERE)

- Luca: As one of our initiatives, we have LGBT+ inclusion. (Details are HERE

We have an Ally network called “Deloitte Tohmatsu Rainbow (DTR)”, where we work with Group DEI team to participate in events such as Tokyo Rainbow Pride and spread Allyship via internal radio, newsletters, and workshops, etc.

 

Why Ally Network Members joined the network - what we can do to respect each other

Luca: What made you join DTR, our Ally network?

- Riku: I have previously worked in Europe, where I got a chance to work with members from various backgrounds. What I remember the most is when I was talking to members, they pointed out, “Why are there only two genders when there are so many people around the world?” “Having one category of members dominate important positions seems odd. Like, only men as Board Members.” In Japan, I feel “differences” sometimes may not really be welcomed, so I joined DTR to empower diversity.

- Youngmi: I read LGBT+ Newsletter (brochure with voices from LGBT+ members and Ally) when I joined Deloitte Tohmatsu Group. I was delighted to learn that LGBT+ related initiatives are empowered at work and thought it cool that I wanted to contribute. I did not even know the word, “Ally” at the time, but I have been learning since then.

I was born in Japan, but I have a foreign nationality. So, I want diverse members such as gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, and disabilities to be able to respect each other.

Luca: That is an important thought for a basis for an ideal society. I think being able to positively accept your “difference” is important. Let’s hear thoughts from our leaders.

- Kawazu: I remember reading an English e-mail sent to all members when I joined. At the time, the words, “Ally” and “LGBT+” were not so popular. Deloitte was already sending a message that we are trying to create an inclusive environment where all members can thrive at work almost 17-18 years ago.

DTR is a grassroots activity, so I would like to participate more and spread it to other members. I think social awareness towards LGBT+ is becoming higher, so we should take this opportunity to create a more inclusive environment.

- Sasaki: It is great to hear stories of each member. When you say “diversity,” it includes a wide range of things, including LGBT+, work life balance, gender equality, International Members, disabilities and more. I hope we have more opportunities to learn about diversity from topics you are interested in.

- Asai: I joined DTR about 2 years ago and I soon realized that the most important thing is empathy. I would like to learn more and spread Allyship by participating in DTR.

- Luca: Some might think, “I understand the importance of LGBT+ initiatives, but I am afraid that I might say or do something inappropriate,” or “Being an Ally sounds very challenging.” It is not about doing something special or not doing something. First step of being an Ally is communication – being genuine and curious to learn about differences we all have.

Start a conversation to spread Allyship

Sasaki: “Diversity is imperative for our growth” has been announced at the beginning of the year as one of our business strategies. I believe events like today and mandatory training to learn about LGBT+ and Allyship are very effective. Understanding our activities and diverse talent are really important. We want to create more inclusive environment by sharing our initiatives.

- Kawazu: We can create a more welcoming atmosphere by showing that we are Ally. I use Ally stickers, and I purchased a lanyard, our Ally goods that become donations, as I want to show that I am an Ally and start conversations – “You have an Ally sticker!” “I took a training course.” “I participated in a LGBT+ event.” 

- Luca: Allyship is invisible since it is just a concept. LGBT+ member may not know who to turn to, so leaders taking actions and advocating for inclusion mean a lot.

- Riku: Working from home has become New Normal. So, I think it would be great to have Ally marks where everyone can see, like a virtual background during an online call. It is important that everyone has a chance to learn about Allyship.

- Asai: At a local office, managers spoke up and said they must have enough understanding about LGBT+ as managers. So, we had a special LGBT+ inclusion training session for them, in addition to a mandatory training for all. It is said that the number of LGBT+ members is about the same as those with AB Blood-type, but in areas other than urban areas, people may not have much understanding. Through the training, managers realized that LGBT+ members may be around them and it changed the atmosphere for the better – even more inclusive. I would like to keep spreading those activities to other areas.

 

From communicating, recognize the invisible “differences” to create more inclusive workplace

Luca: We have been talking about how we can increase Allyship, but inclusive workplace is not just about LGBT+, but for all members. What do you think is an ideal workplace or society?

- Youngmi: Anyone should be able to express themselves and be accepted. I would say a society where everyone can be your authentic selves. LGBT+ inclusion has come a long way as many companies started working on initiatives, but there is still a long way to go. I think it is important to keep working step by step, so I would like to spread Allyship with those who share the same goal.

- Sasaki: I think there are “diversity” that I am not yet aware of. Regardless of visible or invisible diversities, we have “diverse” members in our group. Organizations and the society need to leverage diversity and various backgrounds as their strength.

As a leader, I need to work on communication to strengthen a culture where everyone respects each other. Due to COVID-19, it is more difficult to have face-to-face communication, but we will work on communication initiatives to respect each other.

- Luca: Communication is about learning about other people. Learning about others is a basis for respecting each other, so communication is key.

 

Take care of each other and foster inclusion

- Asai: To understand and respect others, you need to have a good understanding about yourself. Ask “What things compose myself? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?” When you think about yourself, you might start to wonder about other people and imagine their perspectives. Thinking about others enables you to be more empathetic. It is not about “providing help and support,” but learning that there are a lot of things you do not even know. Being genuinely curious to learn about yourself and others will lead to respecting each other. We should spread initiatives to learn about our differences to respect each other at work.

- Kawazu: Ideal organization or society would be where all members are able to express how they think and hold discussions free from their traits and bias. As the word “DEI” suggests, it is not just “equality” but also “equity”. We need to create a system to provide “equitable” support to members in need and ultimately create an environment where everyone can thrive at work. There may be biases and inequalities that we are not yet aware of, so we need to remove those and see what each member can and want to do. This will lead to Deloitte’s Shared Values, “Take care of each other” and “Foster inclusion”.

 

LGBT+ inclusion has been progressing, but we need further empowerment to creating an environment where everyone can thrive at work as their authentic selves. Deloitte Tohmatsu Group will keep working towards #Inclusion and #Wellbeing for all through understanding our “differences” based on the concept of #Equity.

> LGBT+ Round Table: Recognizing the “differences” we all have

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives at Deloitte Tohmatsu Group

About the Author

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team

Deloitte Tohmatsu Group

"Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)" has been one of the key management strategies at Deloitte Tohmatsu Group -to drive the organizational and client growth to be leveraged for social impact. DEI Team is a group of DEI professionals to closely work with the top management -to design and implement a wide range of initiatives to turn various "differences" -such as gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, cultural differences including religion and language, and disabilities, into a source of “strength”.  (See further details from HERE).