LGBTQ+ leaders tackle workplace mental health at PinkNews Business Community event with Accenture

Accenture director speaks at a PinkNews Business Community event

Leaders of equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) and LGBTQ+ networks came together in London on Thursday (2 February) to share insights and learn how to better manage their mental health in the workplace.

More than 60 leaders from businesses and organisations around the UK assembled for the second quarterly PinkNews Business Community event, which was hosted by leading IT services and consultancy business Accenture.

During a buzzy evening centred around the topic of mental health, attendees were treated to an illuminating talk from Simon Blake OBE, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England and Chair of Headspace’s International Advisory Board.

A man holding a glass at a PinkNews Business Community Event
The PinkNews Business Community brings together ED&I and LGBTQ+ network leads from organisations across the UK. (Paul Grace/PinkNews)

Over the course of 60 minutes, Blake shared key tips on how to manage personal wellbeing while juggling the demands of both professional and ED&I roles – otherwise known as the ‘day job’ and the ‘gay job’. (A key takeaway: purchase an old-school alarm clock and get that mobile phone moved away from your bedside table, immediately!)

Breakout meetings where those in attendance were encouraged to share their own wellness strategies led to some revealing exchanges that dealt with the intersection of race and gender with LGBTQ+ mental wellbeing.

Speaking to PinkNews, Blake expressed his hope that the PinkNews Business Community event would give LGBTQ+ network leads a space to “think about their wellbeing and self-care so they take steps to prioritise themselves and keep themselves well and healthy, so they can keep doing the brilliant job they are doing.”

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Simon Blake OBE speaking at a PinkNews Business Community Event
Simon Blake OBE, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England, shares insights with attendees at the PinkNews Business Community’s February event. (Paul Grace/PinkNews)

Paying tribute to the vital work of those championing ED&I and LGBTQ+ network initiatives in their organisation, Blake added: “Focus on themselves is rare and important – this is about building self-care and peer support into the workplace for those working on issues that can be hard, isolating and involve significant emotional labour.”

Attendees also heard from Accenture’s Business & Technology Delivery Manager and Pride UKI co-lead Mario Lamas-Saavedra about some of the inspiring work the organisation is doing when it comes to inclusion, both in the UK and globally.

Accenture’s Pride UKI groups boasts between 3500-4000 members out of a staff of 14,500 – an engagement rate that can provide positive lessons across the board – but Lamas-Saavedra told PinkNews that all LGBTQ+ networks can benefit from the “advantage” attending a PinkNews Business Community Event can offer.

A man holding a microphone speaks at a PinkNews Business Community event
Mario Lamas-Saavedra is Business & Technology Delivery Manager and Pride UKI Co-Lead at Accenture. (Paul Grace/PinkNews)

“Even if you’ve been doing this for a long time, there are always new lessons to learn, there’s alway someone who has different experiences, and also topics that keep changing”, he explained. “There’s a lot of people here from different backgrounds, different industries, [it’s] very diverse.

“The LGBTQ+ spectrum touches every aspect: race, religion, gender, your role, you mental health, everything. So yeah, I think it’s very useful.”

The PinkNews Business Community event at Accenture also attracted interest from Accenture’s Mental Health Ally network, with the body’s co-lead Paul Duggan praising the evening as an “opportunity to learn from other people, the opportunity to look at things you might be doing from a slightly different angle.”

A Progress Pride Flag with the Accenture logo
Accenture, the leading IT services and consultancy organisation, is setting the standard when it comes to ED&I initiatives. (Paul Grace/PinkNews)

He told PinkNews: “Meeting people who’ve gone through different things, it makes what we do more robust, more intersectional and more powerful.”

Launched in October 2022, the PinkNews Business Community has fast established itself as a vital hub for ED&I and LGBTQ+ network leads across the UK, serving as an open and friendly forum to connect with like-minded professionals, build skills and share insights and best practice across a variety of sectors.

The PinkNews Business Community offers quarterly London-based and soon-to-be regional meetings that allow members to link up with other professionals from businesses committed to diversity and inclusion.

Three women and a man stand in a group laughing at a PinkNews Business Community event.
The PinkNews Business Community is open to all professionals looking to progress ED&I and LGBTQ+ networks in the workplace. (Paul Grace/PinkNews)

Monthly emails deliver members all the latest on ED&I best practice, key topics and links to the latest business and career-related news.

Plus, the PinkNews Business Community offers access to the latest insights from the PinkNews research and audience insight hub, as well as key reports and research from our members.

Sign up for PinkNews Business Community updates now.

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