4 min read
The Wave network supports junior LGBT+ professionals
Wave is a new LGBT+ network established with some of our biggest clients. Here two founder members of Wave answer questions about the group and its aims.
Laurie Rutter is a consultant in Human Capital and co-chair of GLOBE, our existing internal LGBT+ network. For the past two and a half years, Laurie’s been involved with trans and non-binary inclusion work for the firm, as well as policy development.
What is Wave?
Wave is a new LGBT+ network group set up in February 2018. The initial 12 months were about getting clients onboard and running our first events. Since then, we’ve been creating a vision for the network; something that’s unique, with its own unique selling point. It’s been developed by junior employees for junior employees and provides opportunities for career development. It also gives people access to cross-industry role models and the tools to help them achieve their full potential."
Do you have a role model?
"I’m unique here as I identify as non-binary. I’m also gay. There is no one who is looks the same as me, but I still have role models around Deloitte. They help me to be myself and feel comfortable. I take a little from each of them."
How have your experiences helped you to shape Wave?
"If you hear individual stories of people coming out, everyone has some level of trauma… yes, even in 2019! Almost three quarters of LGBT+ people experience mental health problems relating to work, particularly young people, so if Wave can help minimise mental health issues then we’ve really achieved something. Many of the The LGBT+ spaces are can be dominated by white men, even the more recent networks – but we need to give a voice to the minority groups. All networks should be inclusive – open to everyone and there to celebrate everyone."
Describe the Wave events
"Each founding member hosts an event targeted at junior employees to create opportunities for them to develop their career and network. We want them to be creative. There are quite a lot of panels in the event space so we want to go a step further and use devices like storytelling. We’re also trying to cover more controversial topics, like relationships and sex education in schools, or intersectionality and what it really means."
How have the events gone so far?
"We’ve run three and all were sold out, so this tells us we’ve created something that people are calling for. There’s definitely a gap between what we are doing and other networking or social groups. We bring people together with purpose – to share thoughts and experiences, learn from one another, and progress their careers."
Do you have any advice for people who feel they aren't able to be themselves in the workplace?
A: "You don’t have to be like 'everyone else' at work. It's okay to question your assumptions about who you are meant to be. I would suggest that you try to build a support network and find your allies. Where you can, speak up, and encourage your allies to do the same."
St John Hunter is an assistant manager in Risk Advisory. He got involved with the firm’s LGBT+ network GLOBE in March 2018, before focusing his attention on Wave.
Why does there need to be an LGBT+ network aimed at young people?
"Sixty-two per cent of graduates go back into the closet when joining the workforce and it’s often junior LGBT+ colleagues who lack the role models or tools to help them come out to clients and colleagues. We wanted to make a difference, both within Deloitte, with our clients and within society."
How have your own experiences influenced you?
"I feel privileged in my work life in coming out. Deloitte is such an open and inclusive workplace. I’ve had an easy ride so I want to make other people’s experiences better."
Tell us about Wave’s mentoring programme
"We’ve developed a pilot with each of the six founding members. Two or three senior people from each organisation will become mentors, so we can offer cross-industry mentoring. It’s very exciting. It’ll be open to other companies and their employees, and once you sign up as a member of the network you’ll have access."
Do you have a mentor?
"I don’t but the partner sponsoring Wave has been incredibly supportive. His advice has been very valuable to me."
What impact has Wave had so far?
A: "There are challenges in bringing together six very different, cross-industry companies, but this has been an incredible development experience for the team. Wave is a symbol of what client collaboration can mean for the firm and ultimately for society."
Founding members of Wave
- BNY Mellon
"The calibre of the panel and quality of insight was captivating and I’d attend it all over again in a heartbeat. What a refreshing, uplifting, enlightening evening. I was very, very proud to be a part of Deloitte and can’t wait until it’s our turn to host."