Two employees from Capgemini spoke to myGwork about their journey


Sophie Bull and Kel de Witt from Capgemini spoke to myGwork about the journey they took rebuilding the company’s LGBTQ+ network OUTfront UK for the better. Discussing what it takes to inspire real development, they recall how their personal experiences help fuel their teamwork and talk through the subsequent changes they implemented upon becoming co-chairs of the network. They also describe what the future of LGBTQIA equity in business could look like if the right steps are taken and provide advice for businesses seeking to improve such conditions.

Sophie and Kel are living proof that members of the LGBTQIA community can go through completely different experiences in life, and still form strong, empowering friendships with complimentary goals and aspirations. Whilst Sophie grew up unabashed and confident, describing her coming out to family as relatively easy, Kel found it difficult to relay memories of their adolescence, as despite the overwhelming support of their mother (who remains their greatest ally), other people in their life weren’t quite as accepting. Sophie expressed her belief that experiencing vastly different childhoods and adapting to separate circumstances has helped them make for a great team, both bringing unique ideas to the company; “We do absolutely leverage our different personalities and our different strengths. We very much bounce off each other in order to make it work.” It’s with this shared open-minded attitude that Sophie and Kel immediately clicked, both vowing to help make a difference.

Capgemini is a global consultancy, with a focus on technology and digital transformation. Naturally, this means that change and development is at the very heart of the company’s ethos. Kel was very open about the positive impact of the inclusive culture at Capgemini – not long after they joined, they made the brave decision to embrace their gender identity, alongside their sexuality, and was overwhelmed by the concerted efforts made to ensure they felt visible.

“The week after I started with Capgemini, I decided to start my journey into being my authentic self, I was already out and proud as a lesbian, but had battled internally for a long time about my gender identity. I felt that I was ready to start using my preferred pronouns, changing my name,” Kel explained. “And the way that both my team and the company responded to that, and how they were so supportive is still the biggest standout moment in my career so far. Just how quickly everyone wanted to offer support and change policies and procedures around, so that I felt like I could be the real me.”

Conversely, Sophie immediately entered the company openly identifying as a lesbian, feeling safe that she could proudly refer to her girlfriend, rather than her partner. She recounted how as a teenager she would often behave brazenly in the face of controversy – a somewhat rebellious defence mechanism that has helped fuel her confidence to this day. “I can’t even remember a world in which I didn’t know I was attracted to the same gender,” she said. “It was just always there. I always knew. If anybody had a problem with the fact that I had girlfriends when I was a teenager, then I couldn’t care less – and I still don’t!”

Sophie works as a Senior Consultant for frog, part of Capgemini Invent, which she described as a role with a lot of variety. With recent projects in AI innovation, communications and change management with one of the largest consumer goods companies, there is a social and personable aspect to the position, each day bringing something new. Kel, meanwhile, works in software engineering – the more practical side of the company, where the focus in on providing technology solutions.

“Both of our roles play well into our OUTfront roles too,” explained Kel. “The mix between Sophie being a much more social person, which comes with the territory, and me being more reserved and paying attention to the little minute details, which comes with my role. So, we both work hand in hand quite well to really keep things going.”

The original LGBTQIA network ran for over 12 years prior to Kel and Sophie’s involvement – already an indication that Capgemini was ahead of many other businesses in prioritizing the promotion of diversity and inclusion. However, they both recognised the challenges that their predecessors faced, in a company with such scale.

“Before we joined, the network was taking a lot of reactive steps,” Kel explained. “That wasn’t working for Sophie and me, we try to be as proactive as possible. We stay on top of current topics; we stay on top of things that are important for the people in our community.”

With immediate plans to implement a more rigid and proactive approach to achieving LGBTQIA inclusivity and free expression, Kel and Sophie uprooted OUTfront UK and began reworking it to reflect a modern, progressing society. In only nine months the network has almost doubled in members since Sophie and Kel joined. Sophie explained the hard work that goes into maintaining a successful employee resource group – even if it means being a bit of a nuisance.

“In the best way possible, one of our biggest objectives every day is to make the lives of our UK diversity and inclusion team a nightmare, because that’s how we know we’re making change happen” Sophie said. “Ultimately, we want it to be the most supportive community it can be for LGBTQ+ people, and I think Capgemini gives us the space and the freedom to do that.”

When asked to contemplate future hopes for promoting LGBTQIA inclusivity, both Sophie and Kel agreed that it’s more important than ever to ensure that companies are creating open, safe spaces for people to identify freely and express themselves. Kel wanted to see a focus on allowing for progression and development without fear; “We want to make sure that people feel comfortable asking the questions they need to ask.” Similarly, Sophie reflected upon the value of recognizing mistakes and evolving as a team; “We need a safe space in which we can make mistakes, and then be able to call each other out and continue to get better.”

Capgemini is a proud partner of myGwork, the LGBTQ+ business community. Find out more about jobs at Capgemini.

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