Bis At Work: We ask PwC “how ‘B’ is your LGBT network?”

BCN 127 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 127, October 2014

 

There are lots of LGBT Staff Networks for employers and niche sectors these days – but how B are they? The first of a new series asking Staff Networks what they do to engage bisexual staff…

Tell us a bit about the company and your LGBT Staff Network

PwC is a professional services firm which helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 184,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.

[email protected] started life as an internal staff network, but was relaunched in 2012 as our inclusive business network for ‘gays, lesbians and everyone else’. You don’t need to be gay or to work for PwC to join. It provides extraordinary opportunities for business networking, knowledge sharing and personal and professional development all with a deep value and respect for the diversity of views, needs and aspirations of our members. Having started in London two years ago, we now have branches across the UK, with our North branch launching last year and over that time having engaged around 500 members.

In what ways does the network get supported by the company

[email protected] receives central funding from the firm. We have several partner sponsors who champion the organisation internally and externally. One of our sponsors, Andy Woodfield, was named Senior Champion of the Year 2014 by Stonewall.

Some LGBT groups can feel like gay men’s clubs.  What’s the diversity within the LGBT network?

While we haven’t done a formal monitoring survey, it is pretty balanced and we encourage everyone to join, whether you are LGBT or not. Our committee includes representatives of each letter of LGBT as well as people who are none of those.

Tell us about achievements you’d like to celebrate and challenges you’re facing, especially with regard to bisexual engagement

In June this year, [email protected] North won our firm’s internal award for Exceptional People Experience. [email protected] North invited its members to join with them in the Newcastle Pride parade to celebrate the firm’s diversity and to drive our FY15 strategy as a progressive employer.

We’ve also celebrated Bi Visibility Day this year by sending an email to our network with tips for understanding bisexuality and overcoming the common misconceptions, starting a discussion on our internal social network, and changing our twitter pic to the bisexual flag.

How do people who work at PWC get involved?

People at PwC who are on the committee come up with ideas for events, organise them, advertise them and play host on the night. These have included a game show night, cheese and beer tasting, speed networking and a screening of the film ‘Codebreaker’. Other people in [email protected], both those who work at PwC and those from outside, attend our events, share their own experiences and spread the word. We’ve also worked in partnership with other organisations to hold joint events.

Thanks!  You can find out what they’re up to on twitter.com/GLEEPwCUK and pwc.co.uk/glee