I’ve worked at Lloyds Bank for 6 years and I joined their LGBT+ colleague network, Rainbow, as an ally four years ago.
I joined, driven by the need to say goodbye to my old mind-set. I’m originally from Ghana and grew up in a small village, where many people had very traditional views and attitudes. When I moved to the UK, I realised just how much of a bubble I had been living in, and found myself in a much more diverse and inclusive place.
I felt that becoming an ally was the least I could do to support people in being their true self.
During my time with working at Lloyds Bank, I have also set up a programme, called RISE, which aims to Reach, Inspire, Support and Empower disadvantaged young people within our local communities by building financial awareness and employability skills.
Lloyds Bank is a safe place, where we can all bring our whole self to work every day without judgement.
Through the programme, we started to receive feedback from young LGBT+ people, telling us that they couldn’t imagine themselves succeeding in such a large organisation like Lloyds Bank. This is because they lacked confidence, but also because they weren’t sure they could be themselves. I thought a powerful way to reverse that thinking was to introduce them to LGBT+ role models.
That’s why I set up a series of online workshops, called Empower Events. Where our LGBT+ colleagues could connect with young people in their local LGBT+ community, and provide the confidence that they too, could succeed, and also Lloyds Bank is a place where they could be their authentic selves.
I’m proud that we’re now marking 10 years of Rainbow. I love what it stands for: freedom and promoting equality to ensure an inclusive environment for our LGBT+ colleagues. Everyone’s realising it’s not just about marching during Pride – it’s about being together and staying connected all year round.
As an employer, Lloyds Bank is so much more than a financial institution. In my time here, I’ve learned such a lot about people and different communities. Because Lloyds Bank is a safe place, where we can all bring our whole self to work every day without judgement.