We are delighted to announce that our Global Head of Capital Markets, Paul Wilden has recently been nominated for the OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists 2020 for his role as an authentic leader in financial services. The global OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists, supported by Yahoo! Finance, showcase the LGBT+ business leaders and allies who are breaking down barriers and creating more inclusive workplaces.
In this Q&A, Paul shares his insights and experiences about living with a disAbility and LGBT+ visibility in the global finance services industry.
Q. What does this nomination mean to you?
A. For me, raising awareness of diversity in all its guises in the workplace is essential. I was born with the disAbility – Microtia Atresia which basically translates as only having one ear and being profoundly deaf on my right side – and am a proud gay man. Neither my disAbility or sexuality define me as a person, but they have played a large part in shaping who I am today. I am keen to do all I can to raise visibility of diversity in financial services by presenting myself authentically in the workplace and by creating inclusive environment so that my colleagues can do the same.
Q.What have been your experiences of LGBT+ rights in the workplace?A. The ability for members of the LGBT+ community to be open about their sexuality in the workplace dependent on the environment in which you are living and working. It is important to remember that more than 70 countries still have legislation that is hostile to the LGBT+ community, and this creates challenges for a global industry such as financial services. Companies can play a role in encouraging fairness and equality in the markets in which they operate.
From my own experience, I spent many years working overseas, including in countries where being gay is still illegal. It was a difficult decision at that time I first moved internationally to put my career ahead of my personal life and identity.
Q. How have you been involved in promoting LGBT+ diversity and inclusion in financial services?A. During my time in Asia and as I became more open and comfortable about my own identity I decided to become more involved in awareness building as a means to deal with prejudice and preconceived ideas. This decision and my involvement both in D&I in the corporate sector and voluntary sector/ charitable sector have been incredibly rewarding and both beneficial to me, and I believe to those that I have encountered and been able to work with.
Q. What advice would you give to those who want to become role models or better allies to the LGBT+ community?A. Ensure you are approachable, open, honest, operate with integrity and empathy, a sense of humour (a twinkle in your eye and the ability to laugh is so important) and are willing to make yourself vulnerable. During my life there have been many acts of bravery. These acts of bravery, were at the time, a big deal for me, but they have helped me with my own journey and also mean I have become better equipped to work with others.
What I have always wanted is an acknowledgement that I might need different things to reach my potential. What I have never wanted is special treatment, or favours. I have always wanted and strived to be judged on my performance. It is important that we all keep this in mind; it is all about appropriate behaviour, awareness and engagement.
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