(Net)Working for Change: Panel Discussion 3 April 2019

OUTLaw Network’s second event took place on Wednesday 3 April 2019 in the offices of Arthur Cox. Chaired and facilitated by Maeve Delargy and Cathal Daly (both of Arthur Cox’s LGBT and Ally employee network, alliance), the event was a panel discussion on the importance and challenges of supporting LGBT+ people in the workplace. Our panellists were:

• Moninne Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To and former director of Marriage Equality;
• Sarah Lennon, General Counsel for Ireland and Northern Ireland at Google;
• Sergeant Richard Muldarry, Chair of Defend with Pride, the Irish Defence Forces’ LGBTA Network; and
• Richie Fagan, Chair of Union Cup Rugby.

Each panellist outlined their own personal experiences of becoming LGBT+ role models and allies.  Some key themes were identified as the panellists discussed their work including:

Keep the “A” involved”: allies are key to any support network. Every work place has employees with friends and family members who are part of the LGBT+ community. Their input and support will help to drive any network.

Tell stories”: unsupportive or unengaged colleagues will invariably be enlightened and energised by personal stories. Just as we all found in the recent Constitutional Referendum campaigns, putting a human face and the voice of personal experience to what may otherwise be fairly foreign concepts to people will bring them on board.

Be strategic”: When establishing a workplace support network, learn about the key decision makers and how best to approach them. People don’t like to be preached at! Sometimes softly softly is the way forward.

Get involved”: Moninne spoke about how throwing herself wholeheartedly into campaigning and advocacy work for the LGBT community helped her in the early days following her coming out.

Match values”: Richie’s experience of seeking sponsors for the Union Cup and Emerald Warriors resonated across all panellists. He found it was important to identify businesses whose interests and values aligned with those of the Union Cup. Once he had identified those with shared values (and who follow up their words during Pride with actions all year round!), he was in a position to put together a small but invested group of core sponsors which was ultimately more fruitful and lucrative, albeit more time consuming. This was echoed by Moninne, who has found that when partnering with businesses it pays to align with those whose values and interests match yours.

This event was oversubscribed.  To make sure you don’t miss out next time, make sure to follow us on Twitter @OUTlaw_Network and LinkedIn and subscribe to our newsletter.

Other news: we are delighted to announce that OUTLaw Network will be marching in Dublin Pride 2019. Details as to how you can join us will be posted before June. Don’t miss out!

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