'It is vitally important that each one of us feels they can be their true self at work'
Alessandro Storer is a diversity and Inclusion adviser at the Law Society and volunteers as a senior partnership manager for Pride in London, helping to engage with businesses as part of the Pride in the City initiative.
Before joining the Law Society, Alessandro worked for five years as equality improvement manager at the mental health charity Mind. Before that he managed human rights projects in North Africa and the Middle East.
Passionate about social justice and equality, Alessandro is involved in supporting a number of charitable organisations, including Opening Doors and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
We spoke to Alessandro after last year's Pride in the City event and he told us why the initiative is so valuable to business.
What made you feel you wanted to support Pride in the City?
We live in world where work takes on a big part of lives and therefore it is vitally important that each one of us feels they can be their true self at work.
Personally I feel that, while every individual is on a unique journey and should never be forced to be out in the workplace if they choose not to, employers have a responsibility to create inclusive workplaces where people feel safe and supported.
Pride in the City seemed to be the perfect way to help businesses start a conversation around LGBT+ inclusion and provide a platform to discuss a wide range of issues from inclusive polices to the role of allies.
That's why I volunteered to help deliver the Pride in the City series and so far it's been really encouraging to see organisations like Barclays, Diageo, IBM, Protiviti, Capital Group and the London Business School get involved and take this really seriously.
Have you been involved with Pride in London before?
Yes, I first volunteered as a parade volunteer in 2013, which was incredibly liberating and inspiring. Having just moved to London the he year before, Pride was the first time I truly felt that my sexuality was not simply just tolerated but actually celebrated and respected.
I felt so thankful to London for having accepted me that I felt I had to give back somehow. So I thought I should volunteer for Pride to make sure that many more people could benefit from the amazing experience I had in 2013
I've remained involved with Pride in London ever since and I'm now getting really excited by the launch of Pride in the City 2018.
What impact do you feel Pride in the City has in the business world?
I do believe businesses are beginning to appreciate the benefits more inclusive workplaces and a diverse workforce bring. More and more are engaging with organisations like OUTstanding to equip themselves with the right knowledge and skills to achieve this. Pride in the City is a key component of this journey as it enables companies to show their commitment to equality, strengthen internal engagement and at the same time support Pride in London, one of the biggest LGBT+ platforms in the world.
If you were to give one bit of advice to future business leaders, what would it be?
I can only state the obvious: never miss an opportunity to show your support for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Sign up to Pride in the City and use it as a platform to talk about issues that matter to your employees. Whether this is about mental health or coming out in the workplace, Pride in the City has a great speaker for you.
Any other comments?
It is encouraging to see more and more sectors opening up to supporting LGBT+ inclusion, but in my opinion some are still slightly behind. I would love to see more companies in the sports industry, IT, engineering and construction to get involved with Pride in the City this year.
Learn more about Pride in the City and how you can get involved here.