Pride 2024: What actions are making workplaces more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community

By Charlotte Robinson



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June 6, 2024 | 7 min read

Here, members of the IAB’s Inclusion, Diversity & Equity group share their personal stories.

It’s Pride Month, and while big campaigns and high-profile events often make headlines, it’s no secret that the everyday actions of individuals create the most meaningful impact year-round. From leaders who champion diversity by showing up as their authentic selves every day, to the initiatives that are fostering inclusive workplaces, members of the IAB’s Inclusion, Diversity & Equity group share their personal stories.

When it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusion , what’s the one most meaningful action you’ve experienced in the workplace or beyond?

Remove the need to ‘come out’

Stacey Delaney, she/her, (managing director, Northern Europe, Taboola): “When I was last interviewing for jobs, I was dreading having to constantly come out at work, so I decided that I would explicitly mention my wife during every interview so that if I got the job, it would already be out in the open. I was nervous about how it would affect my chances of selection, but decided it was important to sniff out the bigots early on at any company I might end up working at. 

"So for me, one of the most meaningful actions I experience from others is when someone casually asks me about my partner and family, like it’s not some weird thing.”

Surround yourself with supportive people

Dee James, she/her, (senior software engineer, Microsoft): “I remember the day before I planned to come out at work - the mail to 20 close colleagues was written and ready to send. But I needed encouragement - so I cropped it to a square and posted a screenshot to Instagram, asking my followers for good vibes for the following day. But I’d forgotten that those groups intersected – so work friends of mine saw that post. The way they all immediately liked it, and commented with words of encouragement, told me I was going to be okay. I shall never forget how that felt.”

Show up as your authentic self

Amanda Woodley, she/her, (head of clients, Ipsos iris): “The most meaningful action has not been grand gestures, or large events with headline speakers, it’s been those standing up and being seen without fear or prejudice. I’ve been lucky enough to work with colleagues and leaders who identify as LGBTQ+ and weren’t afraid to show up every day as their authentic selves, which meant more than they can ever know. 

"In particular, it was Megan Clarken during her time at Nielsen. Knowing that she had achieved such success while maintaining her authenticity every day, showed me that who I choose to love shouldn’t impact my career.”

Take company initiatives to a global level

Mateo Delgado, he/him, (growth director, Moloco): “I've been lucky enough to work in companies that have allowed me to create spaces for representation and inclusion even when teams were small and relatively homogeneous. I think the most meaningful example was putting together a D&I committee in Moloco EMEA and bringing our initiatives to our offices around the world which have had little to no exposure to our community. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive and, most importantly, it allowed me and people from our community to bring their most authentic selves to the workplace.”

Take labels out of the conversation

Ellie Gabrielli, she/her, (senior account manager, SeenThis): “When it comes to the most meaningful action I’ve experienced, my honest answer is nothing. People would say I am part of the LGBTQ+ community, however I don’t identify as anything other than myself. Race, gender and sexuality are three very powerful words, but why are we tiptoeing around them? The most meaningful action I take and will continue to do every day is to surround myself with nice people who know me for who I really am. Most of them never really asked my gender or sexuality. The simple act of being asked the question makes me feel diverse and you could agree, less included; so are we, by highlighting diversity, simply amplifying the dissociative fabric of our society?”

Lead the pack

Steve Taylor, he/him, (creative commercial director, Bauer Media): Within the advertising industry, one of the organizations I admire is Outvertising. I’ve known one of the founders Mark Runacus for a long time now and truly believe they are making meaningful change in mass-market advertising; from shifting audience perceptions to accurate representation and inclusion of the community. 

“Personally, in my career, I’m most proud of being part of the team that launched Hits Radio Pride, the first dedicated LGBTQ+ UK radio station by a major broadcaster. Initially launched as a pop-up, it’s still on air almost four years later and continuing to grow, supporting the community and its allies.”

What advice would you give to someone from the LGBTQ+ community joining the digital advertising industry?

Seek out inspiring mentors

Dan Brown, he/him, (website manager, IAB UK): “Seek out mentors and peers from the community who will passionately advocate for your success. Navigating a new industry during the aftermath of the Covid pandemic could have been quite overwhelming but having a mentor from the community in a senior role empathetic to the challenges the LGBTQ+ workforce experience was a total game-changer. 

"Digital advertising, like the LGBTQ+ community, is small but mighty - if you can’t make connections directly within your organization get involved with LGBTQ+ networking groups like Outvertising. They can connect you to mentorship schemes and individuals to help you harness your unique perspective and contribute more authentically to your work.”

Never apologize for being yourself

Kai Sabas, he/him, (associate account director, The Trade Desk): “Never stop being unapologetically yourself. Our identity and the essence of who we are provide structure to our lives, allowing us to be our best and do our best. Remember that most companies have Pride Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) - join them to meet amazing people and possible new friends.”

Start with ‘yes’

Chris Davy, he/him, (head of grocery, Amazon Ads): “Bring out the real you and say ‘yes!’ to opportunities that stretch you. Going into this industry of big voices can be daunting, but showing your personality gives people a reason to talk to you and remember you. When I started out I didn’t think I’d be using Mean Girls gifs in presentations to 300 people… but here we are.

"Accept that big presentation or meeting offer, even if you feel you’re not ready (but practice and ask for support!). This industry is fast-paced and hard work, but it’s full of opportunity if you’re brave enough to take it. You got this.”


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