Esther Gomez, Finance Manager at Mercer explores the future of inclusivity in the workplace


“It’s important to understand why new generations, despite having all the resources and role models that we didn’t have in the past, are still not always comfortable coming out.” Esther Gomez, Europe Finance Manager at Mercer and leader of their Europe Pride network, spoke to myGwork about her career and how it ties into identifying as LGBTQIA. She also voiced her concerns for the continued apprehension of LGBTQIA youth despite apparent progress, discussing the future of inclusivity in the workplace.

A young Esther Gomez came to realise her sexuality in an oh-too-familiar – she fell in love with her best friend. At first, these feelings were difficult to understand, especially growing up in a close-knit community just outside Madrid with very little reference or reason to comprehend a queer lifestyle. But as Esther grew up, and her feelings towards her friend began to be reciprocated, she started to consider how she truly identified.

“We didn’t have any role models,” she explained. “We didn’t have any references in social media and the arts like young people have today. Everything is so much open compared to when I was young. So, at first it was really difficult to understand what we were feeling, because we couldn’t talk to anybody, and we didn’t know anybody else at all who was out.”

Soon after this realisation, Esther entered a relationship with her friend, which was discovered by her family. Though her father and brother embraced her and expressed their support, her mother took a little longer to get used to the idea. Esther considered the fact that, in an era and location with barely any reference to LGBTQIA lifestyles, she also happened to not fit into any stereotypes usually attributed to identifying as a lesbian. This made her coming out even more of a shock, and a potential contributing factor to her mother’s initial struggle.

“It took my mother years to get used to the idea and to understand what it meant,” she elaborated. “She possibly had a lot of prejudgments in her head about what it meant, like maybe she couldn’t be a grandmother. Parents worry a lot, too, just because they don’t want their children to suffer.”

Upon graduating from university, Esther made the decision to work abroad. Moving to Ireland with her girlfriend, she found herself feeling more inclined to come out and speak freely about her relationship at work. Since then, she has been confidently out of the closet in every role at every company she has worked for. Despite an initial interest in creative industries, considering architecture as a potential career path, Esther eventually settled on developing her skills in finance and accounting. After spending 12 years in Dublin in various finance-related roles and becoming a certified accountant, she chose to move back to Spain to be closer to family and came across an opportunity at Mercer.

Mercer is a business of Marsh McLennan, the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy, and people. Esther’s current role in Financial Planning and Analysis has allowed her to work more closely with people rather than numbers, a change she has positively welcomed. “What I love about my current role is getting to speak to many different people in different countries,” she said. “I’ll be talking to the CEO in Ireland, then the CEO in Germany, or in France. It’s always very interesting, because Europe is very diverse.”

In 2018, Esther became increasingly aware of business resource groups (BRGs) in other countries, dedicated to supporting LGBTQIA employees. Noticing that their branch in Spain did not provide such a group, she took it upon herself to speak to fellow LGBTQIA staff and build one with them – naming it Pride Spain. This turned out to be a complete success, with events and discussions immediately taking place, and colleagues engaging and becoming really supportive. Esther proudly relayed a story of an employee who came out during one of their meetings and stated that without the Pride network he wouldn’t have had the confidence to do so. Despite such incredible achievements in such a short amount of time, Esther still looks to the future of diversity and inclusion, wanting to get as many Mercer offices and countries involved as possible. 

“We still have some countries that I’d like to organize BRGs,” she remarked. “For example, in France the operation is very big there, so I’m surprised colleagues are not organizing themselves into a BRG. And maybe in Italy, too. Some countries are too small, but we have created a DEI BRG that includes all dimensions of diversity. But we do have a group in most of our countries. For instance, in the UK they are really advanced, and it’s great to have them on board because they have so many good ideas and so many initiatives that other countries can use to their advantage.”

Esther is also currently creating a DEI Council for Europe collaborating with other leaders of diversity BRGs (gender, race & ethnicity, young professionals) and with the support of top leadership. “The current model is evolving, and we are looking at collaborating more closely with other diversity BRGs to get the most of top leadership support and company resources”. 

Beyond this, there are other aspects of the business industry that Esther would like to see improvements in. Most particularly, she contemplated the continued hesitation in young people coming out as LGBTQIA, despite the apparent progress made with diversity and inclusion efforts in recent years.

“It’s important to understand why the new generations, despite having all the resources, information and role models that we didn’t have in the past, are still not always comfortable coming out,” Esther considered. “Maybe they are not very comfortable because they are just starting their career, or they’re worried that they wouldn’t be able to progress or even to start a career if they don’t hide themselves. There is still some work to do there to help them feel that they can be their true selves and have an amazing and successful professional career.”

A recent development also saw Esther looking into creating a safe space specifically aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and non-binary people who identify or may be perceived as women in the workplace; the purpose of this community is to share experiences and perceptions unique to female & feminine colleagues, balance out representation and visibility in quite a male-dominated space and to inspire more role models for women.

“We are trying to create this safe space for people to share concerns, problems, ideas or initiatives, in a safer, closer space,” she explained. “And the idea is that when people start to get more comfortable, they can also go outside this community and start participating more in the company BRGs. Because at the moment, the participation of all genders in this BRG is not very balanced. It’s also to get more role models out there, and eventually, start some mentoring as well between the members of the group.”

Mercer, a Marsh McLennan business, is a proud partner of myGwork, the LGBTQ+ business community. Find out more about jobs at Mercer. Follow Mercer Spain on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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