Australia’s Outstanding LGBTI Leaders revealed


Deloitte and Google Australia have released their Outstanding 50 LGBTI Leaders list for 2018 to promote workplace inclusion and role models for LGBTI workers.

The 2018 list comprises public figures across the corporate and public sectors, politicians, government officials, and business people from small, medium and large companies. There are 24 women and 26 men on the list, which also includes two transgender business leaders and an intersex leader.

They join alumni from the first Outstanding 50 LGBTI Leaders list from December 2016, including Alan Joyce (Qantas), Jennifer Westacott (Business Council of Australia) Georgie Harman (beyondblue) and Michael Ebeid (SBS).

Leaders on this year’s list include John Caldwell (Global CEO, RWR Group), Dr Cassandra Goldie (CEO, ACOSS), Louis Vega (CEO, DOW Chemicals) and Emma Dunch (CEO, Sydney Symphony Orchestra). The 2018 list also includes politicians and public figures including Liberal Senator Dean Smith, Labor Senator Penny Wong, Greens Senator Janet Rice and Chief Minister for the ACT Andrew Barr. The likes of David Jones (Owner, David Jones Electricians), Alasdair Godfrey (MD, Health Technology Analysts), Virginia Lovett (Executive Director, Melbourne Theatre Company) and Graeme Mason (CEO, Screen Australia).

Many workers still not comfortable being ‘out’

Deloitte CEO Cindy Hook – last year named CEO of the Year by Pride in Diversity – said that despite the momentous marriage equality result in November, many LGBTI Australians were still not comfortable being ‘out’ in the workplace.

“As a CEO, one of my prime goals is creating a culture where all our people can share their voice, allowing them to be at their best,” Hook said. “Providing accessible role models is one of the best ways to help create change. When individuals don’t feel a supportive culture at work – where they can be themselves without fear or worry of being disadvantaged – it impacts their wellbeing and productivity.”

“This is an issue all business leaders should be concerned with, not only from an employee engagement perspective, but from the bottom line also. It can help address employee turnover, lost productivity and also the potential for litigation in the most serious cases of bullying and harassment.”

Deloitte has partnered with Google Australia in developing and promoting the list, a collaboration which Hook said was the perfect fit for this initiative.

“When we thought about who needed most to see these role models, we realised that we had to get access to Australians en-masse,” she said. Particularly younger generations and those in remote and rural areas – which are groups most significantly at risk. We saw immense value in Google as brand with the platform to help us reach these people.”

“Have the courage to bring your whole self to work”

Below, a selection of leaders from the 2018 Outstanding 50 LGBTI Leaders list offer career advice for LGBTI workers and offer insights into how they are changing perceptions:

“Championing LGBTI acceptance in day-to-day work-life also paves the way for stronger female equality, racial acceptance and having a better attitude to anyone in minority. Our global campaigns over the past few years have featured LGBTI people represented in a positive and natural way. Our business and our brands believe in the power of diversity and we have used this belief to promote acceptance through our communications”. – Matthew Groskorth, Vice President of Global Marketing, LifeStyles

“Have the courage to bring your whole self to work – this is often about leaning into your own insecurities as much as dealing with other peoples. Your authenticity will be recognised and rewarded in the long run and you’ll give others the courage to follow in your footsteps. – Mark Gay, Chief Digital Officer, CrownBet

“I love the term ‘bring your whole self to work’. When I did come out at work, it gave me the freedom to be who I was all the time without having to hide any part of me. This was not only liberating but allowed me to view issues through the lens of my total life experience.” – Manda Hatter, Head Operations, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Chair, ABC Pride

“Coming out in a corporate business setting can be a terrifying prospect. What I would say to LGBTI youth starting their careers is that eventually you learn to realise that the anxiety that plagues you about that split-second pause and that look on the person’s face when you tell them says more about that person, than it will ever say about you.” – Amy Tildesley, Founder, Harvest Insights

“In addition to 20 per cent of Stage and Screen’s people identifying as LGBTI, I have LGBTI women and men on my management team. Having LGBTI leaders is critical in demonstrating and reinforcing cultural values within our business, and proof that sexuality won’t define or inhibit you” – Tiziano Galipo, General Manager, Stage and Screen Travel.

“Being LGBTI is only part of who you are, it is not all that you are. Celebrate the things that make you different and unique as a person and take whatever adversity that you may face and turn it into a strength. Start your career with ambition and drive, be kind to people along the way, strive for excellence and you’ll have a recipe for success, whatever that may mean for you.” – Benjamin Wash, Entrepreneur and Co-Founder, Prism Venture Group Pty Ltd

“It’s exhausting when you can’t be yourself at work. You waste so much energy trying to censor parts of your life, energy that could be better spent doing a great job and building your career. Find a place to work where diversity and authenticity is celebrated and share your perspective. There will always be someone who will learn from you and feel stronger having you around.” – Jane Hill, People and Culture Director, Lion

“I am married in a long-term relationship with a seven year old daughter who we had via surrogacy. I am entirely open about my personal life in the workplace to break down the stereotype that can be associated with the LGBTI community, demonstrating that our community is diverse. I also do this in open forums. When presenting to external audiences, I often start with a picture of my family, wrapping a story about the subject matter linked to my family.” – Jason Laufer, Senior Director Asia Pacific, LinkedIn Learning and Talent Solutions

“Seek out the people in your community, organisation or industry who will support you, who will have your back. They can be fabulous vehicles for support and advice. Don’t give up until you find the person or organisation that can assist you. Be kind. And give lots of hugs.” – Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service