The fundraising and awareness event at Salesforce Tower London, was aimed at exploring the authentic representation of LGBTQ+ people in the broadcasting and advertising industries.
The event took place at the Ohana Floor, a newly opened event space in Salesforce Tower, designated for charitable and NGO organisations to conduct meetings and special events.
June Sarpong, the BBC’s first Director of Creative Diversity, spoke to delegates about her experiences of championing diversity in broadcasting for over two decades. June was joined by leading broadcast and LGBTQ+ charity sector figures, including Yasir Mirza, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at BBC Studios and Chris Samsa, Positive Psychologist and Co-Founder of The Gay Happiness Project.
The event ran in collaboration with the charity Stonewall that campaigns for greater LGBTQ+ representation in workplaces. It also works with schools in the UK to help educate young people about LGBTQ+ issues. A Stonewall report* found that 40% of LGBTQ+ young people are not taught about LGBTQ+ identity and issues during their school years, which places a much greater burden on the media as the primary source of information for many young people, to educate them about such matters.
Linda Aiello, SVP of International Employee Success at Salesforce, who introduced the event, commented: “Events like ‘Now You See Me’, in collaboration with the charity Stonewall, are such an important step towards improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and we are really pleased to be a part of this journey. Our panellists talked passionately about the need to see a more diverse breadth of LGBTQ+ people on screen and in media campaigns. Strides have certainly been made over the past 20 years, but without increased representation of these groups and platforms to tell their stories, we cannot hope to have an even discussion about LGBTQ+ identity in ways that resonate with wider society.”
“At Salesforce, we believe business is the greatest platform for change. In whatever sector you work – be it the creative arts, white or blue-collar industries, you must be able to bring your authentic self to work every day. We run a number of equality groups across our global network, including Outforce, an initiative which brings together employees who are allies of equality in sexual orientation and gender identity. When a wider range of diverse voices can be heard in the workplace, different opinions, experiences and values can be discussed and meditated upon creating a more collaborative culture in the workplace and wider society.”