Tesco, Durex and Contiki among change-making brands honoured at PinkNews Awards 2023
The PinkNews Awards 2023, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, along with presenting partner WeAre8, returned to central London on Wednesday (18 October), to celebrate all things LGBTQ+, including highlighting businesses and brands dedicated to uplifting the community.
TV personality Rylan hosted an amazing and inspiring night that saw awards bestowed upon queer trailblazers, thought-leaders and change-makers in both entertainment and business.
The Business Trailblazer of the Year award, sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, went to Deon Pillay from Legal and General Investment Management for his dedicated work to diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I).
“It’s bittersweet,” Pillay told PinkNews after picking up the trophy. “We take for granted the rights that we have had in the UK, but we are seeing it rapidly erode globally.”
Durex, the globally renowned condom brand owned by Reckitt, took home the Brand Ally of the Year award after another year that saw the company work with Stonewall to champion inclusive education and to generate vital understanding of how the UK’s queer community experiences sex.
Commenting on their award win, Ellie Murauer, director of innovation at Reckitt and global leader for the company’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group told PinkNews: “We truly believe that true inclusion starts internally and you can only be a great external ally if you live it internally as well.”
Meanwhile, Tesco PLC was awarded the Diversity Network of the Year award. The retailer’s LGBTQ+ at Tesco ERG is dedicated to helping shape and support the business with policies, products and services for Tesco’s LGBTQ+ colleagues and customers.
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The Charity/Community Group of the Year award, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, was awarded to the global NGO Rainbow Railroad for their tireless efforts to provide assistance and asylum to LGBTQ+ people around the world.
Since its founding, the group has helped hundreds of LGBTQ+ people find safety, including many victims of Chechnya’s “gay purge” and queer Afghans fleeing the Taliban.
“We came all the way from Canada to be part of this evening and to be acknowledged by PinkNews is an amazing thing,” says Scott Ferguson, director of partnerships at Rainbow Railroad.
Voda: the LGBTQ+ Mental Health App was awarded the Inclusive Tech Innovation of the Year award. The platform offers guided therapy, personalised advice and LGBTQ+ meditations that recognise the unique challenges queer people can face.
“Our entire team is queer,” says Jaron Soh, co-founder and ceo of the tech firm, “we identify across sexuality, gender, and ethnicity. We’re all building the app we wish we had growing up.”
The winner of the Travel and Hospitality award, Contiki, is a travel brand committed to bringing young LGBTQ+ people and allies together with their dedicated Pride trips that shine a queer light on some of Europe’s most exciting cities during the height of Pride.
Lottie Norman, chief marketing officer for Contiki, said that winning the award was “truly amazing.”
“We’re really committed to everything we do to give a voice to the community and make travel for everyone,” Norman said.
Olli Hull, the fashion designer who took his own experiences with gender to create “wearable art” through upcycling took home the Inclusive Fashion Brand of the Year award.
“As an independent designer to be recognised on this platform. I’m so grateful,” Hull said during his acceptance speech.
“I just want to ask you all to think about where you get your clothes from, because there’s so many independent designers out there that work really hard.
“So just branch out a bit and support your local queer designers.”
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