Celebrating the Courage and Resilience of LGBTQIA Women
One of the most inspiring aspects of women and non-binary people is their ability to create communities of support and solidarity. Whether online or in person, these communities provide a safe space to share their stories, find resources and support, and celebrate their identities. Thank you to everyone across the myGwork community for joining us in creating more inclusive and diverse workspaces where LGBTQIA women and non-binary people are seen and celebrated for who they are.
The world is richer and more vibrant, thanks to the contributions of LGBTQIA women and non-binary people. This community have faced unique challenges and obstacles, but they have also shown remarkable courage, resilience, and creativity in the face of adversity.
LGBTQIA women and non-binary people have also significantly contributed to the arts and culture. From authors and poets to musicians and filmmakers, they have used their voices and talents to challenge stereotypes and promote acceptance and understanding. Their work has helped to create a more inclusive society.
Despite the progress that has been made, LGBTQIA women and non-binary people still face discrimination, prejudice, and violence. But their bravery and resilience cannot be overstated. They continue to fight for their rights and the rights of all LGBTQIA people, even in the face of adversity.
So let us celebrate the courage and resilience of all LGBTQIA women and non-binary people. Let us honour their contributions to our communities and our culture. And let us continue to work together to create a more just and inclusive world for all.
Global Business Development Director at myGwork
Adriana Mantilla (she/her)
Regional Manager Partner Services Mexico, Caribbean and Central America, Booking.com
Adriana is a lesbian, Latin, woman, mother of two kids born and raised in Colombia. She is passionate about the tourism industry and developing business for emerging regions. She’s had 10 amazing years at Booking.com and is the Regional Manager for Mexico, Caribbean and Central America leading five offices. She is currently living in Mexico City after being in Toronto for three years where she was leading the Canadian offices for Booking.com.
Ali Reed (she/her)
CEO of Media and Marketing Agency Phd UK, Omnicom
Ali is sponsor of OMG UK’s LGBTQIA Advisory Group and has championed LGBTQIA inclusion at Board level supporting the team’s growth and assisting in the creation of the company’s guide to bisexuality, an online resource available to all employees. Ali has also taken part in IPA speed mentoring events for queer people in advertising. For the past two years, PHD UK has been awarded IPA CPD Gold Accreditation for demonstrating a genuine culture of learning, bettering professionalism, development and reputation of the industry.
Angharad Stevens (she/her)
Global Skin and Hair Care Innovation Assistant Manager, Unilever
Angharad is a skin and hair innovation assistant manager at Unilever Global as well as sitting on the UK&I proUd employee network as the lesbian representative for the group. Angharad works across categories to optimise innovation portfolio and strategy for beauty and wellbeing brands alongside her love for all things ED&I. Having historically chaired various LGBTQIA employee networks and speaking at panels over the years for the likes of MRSPride, she feels a particular affinity with ensuring the amplification of not only queer voices in business, research, and marketing.
Anji Silva-Vadgama (she/her)
Account Executive, Credly, Pearson
Anji is a 33-year-old disabled Indian lesbian. She has multiple sclerosis and does not let this determine what she can and can’t do. Instead, she tries to live every day to the max and do what she can by staying positive. This April, Anji and her wife Asha Silva will be celebrating their 5-year wedding anniversary. They have 3 beautiful furbabies and are currently undergoing IVF. Hopefully 2023 will be their year! Anji loves to just chill with her wife and pooches and enjoys living in their own bubble. Some hobbies of Anji’s include cooking and being a rookie race car driver for an all-driver disabled car team known as Team BRIT.
Camille François-Nienaber (she/her)
Hris Analyst, Criteo and Global Leader for their LGBTQIA Network Pride Community
Camille, HRIS Analyst at Criteo and Global Leader for their LGBTQIA network Pride Community, has experienced a long journey to experience the self-love and assurance in her identity that she has now. Her position as global leader at Criteo’s LGBTQIA network Pride Community has played a huge role in Camille’s relationship with the queer community. Camille works to help younger or closeted LGBTQIA people so that they don’t have to feel the same repression she did growing up.
Claire Mitchell (she/her)
Claire is a Co-lead of the Lesbian and Gay Women Community, part of the wider UNITY (LGBTQIA) network. Claire has worked to launch this over the last year and secured funding to ensure EY support Lesbian Visibility Week, a first in the history of the firm. When she is not working to promote and develop her community and UNITY, Claire is a manager within the technology practise leading large transformational programmes of work. Recently Claire has been working internally across networks to further not just UNITY but other D&I networks working to ensure equity for all.
Cristina Gaviria Beltrán (she/her)
Creative Lead, myGwork
Cristina is myGwork’s creative lead artist. Her expertise is the conceptual aspects of diverse and non-binary sexualities and gender through a spiritual and cultural ecofeminist vision. This political philosophy approach allows her to understand D&I as a necessary way to transform heteropatriarchal systems which have undermined alternative cosmovisions around the world. Her job involves not only a practical approach to visual language, but it is also modelling the behaviour she hopes to re-dignify, taking practical steps to act upon these concerns as to lead her desired socioeconomical transformation.
Diamond Stylz (she/her)
Executive Director, Black Transwomen Inc
Protecting Black trans women isn’t a slogan for Diamond, it’s her life’s work and passion. As a student she successfully sued Indianapolis public schools for the right to wear a gown to prom rather than a tuxedo. She went on to become the first openly trans woman to attend Jackson State University. She worked to become a visible advocate for Black trans women. This includes producing the weekly podcast, Marsha’s Plate, where she and her co-hosts help to unpack Black trans people’s experiences, and helming Black Transwomen Inc.
Dominika Navratilova (she/her)
Marketing Executive, myGwork
After Dominika graduated from university in Czechia, she decided to go travelling and experience living abroad. One of the things she was longing for was to meet more LGBTQIA people and find her place within the community. Many amazing and strong individuals she met shared their stories and knowledge, and enabled her to be around exciting LGBTQIA focused projects. The desire to participate in improving the position of the community in the world brought her to myGwork. She is grateful and proud to be able to contribute to workplace equality and beyond.
Esther Gómez (she/her)
FP&A Europe Manager, Marsh McLennan and Co-Chair of Mercer Pride Europe
As the Finance Manager at Mercer, Esther is well-versed in the economics and accounting industries. In particular, this includes her efforts in leading the Mercer LGBTQIA network, Europe Pride. Soon after finding out about the existence of Business Resource Groups (BRGs) in other countries, Esther began some research of her own into setting up one for members of the LGBTQIA community at Mercer. She took it upon herself to set up Pride Spain – which was an immediate success. Events, panels and discussions took place, even seeing staff members come out as LGBTQIA during them.
Eva Echo (she/they)
Activist, Writer, and Public Speaker
Eva is an activist, writer and public speaker with a focus on transgender rights and mental health. She uses her own experiences to shed light on what it is to be transgender. Most notably, Eva took legal action against NHS England in the High Court to challenge the unlawful waiting times for trans patients. She won the DIVA Award for Unsung Hero of the Year 2022 and was named on the DIVA Power List. Eva is a brand ambassador for the London Transgender Clinic and Head of Communication and Engagement at Birmingham Pride.
Georgina Court (she/her)
Global Inclusion Specialist & LGBTQIA Network Co-Chair in the UK, Clifford Chance
Georgie is the Co-Chair of Clifford Chance’s LGBTQIA network, taking the firm to 1st in the UK Stonewall Workplace Index in 2023 up from 19th place in 2019. Her strategy has focused on centring minority groups of LGBTQIA people into the heart of all network activity and increasing membership through initiatives to mark Lesbian Visibility Day, Trans Day of Remembrance and UK Black Pride. She has led on campaigns to get gender neutral language implemented in templates globally, trans inclusive healthcare benefits, an increase in bi-visibility, pronouns in signatures and gender-neutral facilities.
Isabella Williamson-Hawkins (she/her)
Head of Client Platforms, IG Group
As a natural sportswoman, Isabella has had a lifelong history of character-building confidence and a competitive streak. These aspects of her personality, along with an enduring ethos of persistence and perseverance, helped inspire the career path she took. Isabella attributes her journey to leadership at IG Group to the hard work she put in during her early studies and career. She recently completed her Executive MBA and seeks to constantly improve inclusive work conditions and make sure that her business reflects an increasingly diverse society.
Jen Kelly (she/her)
Business Process Manager, Walgreens
Jen is the Vice-Chair of the Walgreens Pride Alliance Business Resource Group in the US. She works to drive programs and initiatives that support the LGBTQIA community – with a focus on Walgreens employees and customers. She is passionate about creating a workplace with a greater sense of authenticity and belonging, particularly for those in the queer community. She holds LGBTQIA history close to her heart and, as a result, currently serves on the board of directors for Gerber/Hart Library & Archives, that seeks to preserve the queer history of Chicago and the US Midwest.
Kerrie Braithwaite (she/they)
Project Director, WPP
Whilst speaking on a Lesbian Visibility Week panel hosted by Linda Riley in 2022, Kerrie came out to the world as non-binary. She then stepped up to Co-Chair the LGBTQIA community of advertising agency Grey London and joined the leadership committee of Unite, the LGBTQIA community of WPP. She uses her position to drive an intersectional lens on LGBTQIA issues. An ongoing carer herself, a POC and from a low social-economic background, Kerrie understands why it’s important to listen to the voices, stories, and experiences of people from across different intersections of the LGBTQIA community.
Kira van Niekerk (she/her)
Global Director of Training and Enablement, Thomas International
With her background as a registered psychometrist, Kira has combined her passion for psychology with a focus on people excellence, self-awareness and company growth. One of the best aspects of her role is that she is able to promote diverse and international cooperation which leads to great innovation. Outside of her role, Kira is involved in the D&I workstreams as well as the Thomas Rainbow Alliance at Thomas International. She is also a certified mindfulness life coach, which underpins the ways of working for herself and her teams.
Krystal Lake (she/her)
The New York-born, London-based DJ, filmmaker and social influencer, Krystal wants organisations to take homophobic remarks and labels seriously and do more to promote LGBTQIA inclusion. She started her own social media channel to teach “the stuff that schools don’t” on TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat. Her content focuses on Black and LGBTQIA people, women and mental health. She educates about LGBTQIA topics and issues through her platform and creative material. She says: “I let people know there is nothing wrong with being a part of the rainbow mafia. Most importantly, I teach people how to love themselves.”
Larissa Machado (she/her)
Creative Director LatAm, Warner Bros Discovery
Larissa is the Creative Director for Streaming, Titles and Cross Media for LatAm at Warner Bros Discovery and is based in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. Passionate about disruptive ideas and leadership, she has an extensive experience in the entertainment industry. When Discovery and WarnerMedia merged into Warner Bros Discovery she took a new role as Creative Director and is leading a team of creatives in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Larissa holds dear a passion for agility, performance and teamwork and is committed to the highest possible standards of creativity, innovation and ethics.
Larissa O’Neal (she/her)
Director of Talent and Organisational Development – Americas, RS Group
Larissa took on the role of Director of Talent Development and Organisational Capabilities for the Americas region of RS Group two and a half years ago. As a multi-racial, multi-ethnic female who openly identifies as bisexual, Larissa describes herself as a melting pot of cultures and interests. She joined several of the company’s employee resource groups (ERGs), including Spectrum (for the LGBTQIA community and allies), Embrace (for race and cultural diversity) and Elevate (for gender equality). She also became co-chair of their LGBTQIA network, Spectrum, last year.
Laura-Rose Thorogood (she/her)
Founder, LGBT Mummies
Laura-Rose is a married lesbian of sixteen years and mother of three children. She is an LGBTQIA Family Activist, educator, writer, seasoned speaker and campaigner. She is seen as an expert in the field of the LGBTQIA community, fertility, maternity and donor conception. She is passionate in her goal is to normalise LGBTQIA families across society, whilst creating a more inclusive future through policy change, accessibility and laws for all LGBTQIA people.
Lauren Dado (she/her)
CARE Global Content and CX Strategist, Reckitt
Lauren is a Content and CX Strategist at Reckitt who enjoys creating queer spaces. As a late-in-life queer lesbian living in Southeast Asia, Lauren discovered that allies and the queer community are essential to thriving in a region where LGBTQIA folk have no rights. Inspired by these experiences, Lauren came out to her colleagues during a 2022 regional Pride event. In September 2022, she founded Reckitt’s first LGBTQIA ERG in ASEAN – a network for LGBTQIA colleagues, and a safe space where allies can begin a conversation about how to support the LGBTQIA community.
Michelle Raymond (she/her)
Director of Global Business Development, myGwork
Michelle “Michi” is the Director of Global Business Development at myGwork, the largest global recruitment hub for the LGBTQIA business community. myGwork allows LGBTQIA people to connect with more than 300 inclusive employers and find jobs, mentors, and professional events. This work has kept Raymond pretty busy, yet somehow still leaves her with enough time to pursue a music career. Over the last decade, Raymond has performed and recorded music under the artist name Michi and performed with artists including Miley Cyrus, Meghan Trainor, Rita Ora, Kelly Rowland, and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Natalie Downing (she/her)
Branch Manager – Enterprise Leamington Spa, Enterprise
As a long-standing member of the LGBTQIA community, Natalie has found herself searching for a company that would accept, nurture, and develop her, not only as a person but as a professional. Enterprise is an extremely diverse and inclusive employer, whose founding values have helped them create a truly inclusive and supportive environment. Over the past 4 years, she has had many opportunities to influence and educate peers and senior leaders on the importance of equality and inclusion for progress.
Raga D’silva (she/her)
Chair: London LGBT+ Community Centre, Founder OUTspoken Voices & TheViewsRoom
Raga is an entrepreneur, author, TEDx speaker, screenplay writer, host and Editor of The Views Room, producer and host of Coming Out Stories from India. Born and raised in India, she lived in New Zealand for several years before moving to London, a city she now calls home. Raga decided to publicly come out as a lesbian at the age of 50 through her debut book, Untold Lies, which made headlines, particularly in India. Since then, she has been vocal in her support for the LGBTQIA community along with creating and producing positive LGBTQIA content. Raga is now setting up a Speakers bureau in London for LGBTQIA women & non-binary speakers along with an exclusive online channel to amplify the LGBTQIA narrative.
Ruby Sutton (she/her)
Consultant Liaison Officer, HCA Healthcare
In her current role, Ruby liaises with consultants, their teams and supporting services. She loves to help people, and open conversations that nurture relationships, so when HCA rolled out their mental health first-aider training, she had to get involved! HCA encourages staff to be themselves, one of the key reasons Ruby has worked here nearly 12 years. They have a range of groups, including the mental health first aiders and the Pride group. These help to create diverse networks, and are full of the most amazing, proud and vibrant people.
Sabela Cal (she/her)
Administrative Executive, myGwork
Sabela works for myGwork, a global networking hub and job board for LGBTQIA professionals, graduates, allies, and organisations, to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Although most of her work experience has been in media roles, she is now working in the Finance and Operations team. Sabela identifies as a bisexual woman and has continued her education doing an Intersectional Feminism course at Goldsmiths University. She is passionate about LGBTQIA arts and culture and improving the visibility of women within the community. Sabela strongly believes in the power of collaboration to make change happen, especially in the LGBTQIA context.
Sage Kuo (she/her)
Events Manager, myGwork
Born and raised in Taiwan, graduating with an event management degree, Sage currently works at myGwork as the Events Manager in London. As sustainability and LGBTQIA issues are close to her heart, she hopes to incorporate those causes into her career in events. Before joining myGwork, she volunteered at an LGBTQIA youth group each week. The experience of working with LGBTQIA young people and being a graduate gave her a good perspective on what the younger LGBTQIA generation needs. Therefore, she is proud to work with myGwork to help young LGBTQIA people feel supported and valued in the business world.
Stella Cottee (she/her)
Trans Life Coach
Stella is a 56-year-old trans woman who transitioned very late in life, breaking out of the shackles of life to become the happy, confident and content woman she is. Professionally she started early life using her skills as photographer and makeup artist before falling into a career at an optician. She has owned two optical franchises for twenty years that she started from scratch. She still works in an optical environment as well as her photography, makeup and trans life coach role. Her passion is to help older trans woman find their true authentic self and live the life they deserve. In her free time she is also an accomplished wildlife photographer.
Suzanne McAndrew (she/her)
Global Head of Employee Experience, WTW
Suzanne is WTW’s Global Employee Experience Business Leader and chairs WTW´s Global Inclusion and Diversity Council. At WTW, she is able to combine her two passions –improving the employee experience alongside helping colleagues to be their authentic selves at work, especially senior leaders who may not be out yet. Suzanne’s client focus is applying design thinking to HR, organisation transformation, future of work, and the employee experience. She also is leading the conversations on inclusion and diversity as part of the World Economic Forum’s Gender Task Force and as chair of WTW’s global Inclusion and Diversity council.
TJ Richards (she/they)
Outreach and Engagement Manager, Santander
Throughout her career and general life experience, Santander’s Outreach and Engagement Manager TJ has formed a profound understanding of the struggles faced by the LGBTQIA community in various environments. With a background in the military, TJ has also been candid about the effects of living with CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and chronic migraine disorder.
TJ’s advocacy for LGBTQIA inclusion do not end with Santander – she continues the fight to promote LGBTQIA ERGs across all businesses, with a keenness to ensure that staff have the right to equal treatment and support groups.
Tracey Bewick (she/her)
Senior Credit Analyst, Lloyds Banking Group
Tracey, Senior Credit Analyst at Lloyds Banking Group, has always had a penchant for helping people. By providing support and spreading messages of inclusivity as the leader of the company’s LGBTQIA network Rainbow, she helps spread awareness and activism in the community. Despite her coming out to friends and family being well-received, this didn’t stop Tracey from feeling anxious about coming out in the workplace. Tracey now works hard to fight against that and provide a safe environment for all staff and customers at Lloyds Banking Group.
Trudy Howson (she/her)
LGBTQ+ Poet Laureate
Trudy is the UK’s inaugural LGBTQ+ Poet Laureate, performer, producer and political activist. In this role, she writes and performs poetry that celebrates internationally recognised LGBTQIA days, and responds to events that impact on the community. Her poetry charts and celebrates the diverse landscape of the LGBTQIA community. Trudy believes that poetry can power social and cultural change, and to that end aims to improve the lives of the LGBTQIA community, as well as amuse and entertain them.
Vero Foulon (she/her)
Associate Managing Director, Kroll
As an Associate Managing Director in Kroll’s Compliance Risk and Diligence practice in London, Vero has worked in the corporate intelligence sector since 2012 and leads a team of international open-source intelligence research analysts. When she joined Kroll almost seven years ago there was no LGBTQIA network. She became aware early of the difficulties faced by underrepresented, discriminated or minority groups as her mixed-race mother was subjected to discrimination. She wanted to back any initiatives to help everyone at work and in the LGBTQIA community to be themselves and find support. She currently co-chairs the European Kroll Pride Network.
Yasmin Benoit (she/her)
Model, Activist, Writer at Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN)
Yasmin is a British model, leading asexuality activist, writer, and speaker. At 18, she began modelling with the goal of diversifying the fashion industry and became one of the UK’s most prominent Black alternative models. In late 2017, she publicly came out as aromantic-asexual. Her goal is to empower the aromantic and asexual people, bring those identities into the mainstream, fight for their social and legal inclusion, and dispel misconceptions about them in an intersectional, cross-sectional way. Yasmin created the popular #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike movement to show that there is no asexual way to look or dress.
Zoë Schulz (she/her)
Head of Content, myGwork
Zoë is a writer and editor dedicated to authentic storytelling and creating engaging original content. She has been part of the myGwork team for over three years, supporting its journey to creating a world where LGBTQIA people can flourish both in and outside of the workplace. In her current role as Head of Content, she is able to share stories from across the LGBTQIA community. Based in Brighton, her writing focuses on activism, LGBTQIA equality, human rights and sustainable fashion. She also founded her own gender-neutral, sustainable fashion brand, femme forte.
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