The Dentsu Aegis Network has announced the launch of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) employee network in the UK & Ireland, called “&PROUD.” As a member of LGBT+ equality charity Stonewall, &PROUD aims to support LGBT+ people across Dentsu Aegis’ 3,500 workforce by ensuring an inclusive and diverse culture where staff feel able to be their true self at work. In addition, &PROUD will provide consultancy to all Dentsu Aegis agencies whose clients want to better understand and reach LGBT+ communities. &PROUD is part of a wider effort from Dentsu Aegis Network in the UK to ensure it is a diverse and inclusive agency. The network recently launched a Women & Leadership programme, as well as launching a new agency which is dedicated to doing good and will be made up of young people from diverse backgrounds, called fortysix.
“Difference is a key ingredient to a healthy and innovative culture and I am committed to ensure that Dentsu Aegis is a place where all of our people feel able to be their honest self at work”
In its first year, &PROUD will support local charity Diversity Role Models, which seeks to prevent homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in UK schools, and encourage Dentsu Aegis Network staff to be volunteer Role Models. The name, &PROUD, was chosen for its flexibility to work alongside any agency or department within Dentsu Aegis Network. The branding was created by Silas Amos and graphic artist Rob Lowe, also known as Supermundane, whose signature style of distinct colours and lines was seen as a great way to take the familiar rainbow stripes and present them in a distinctive way.
The network is sponsored by Liz Jones, CEO of B2B, Dentsu Aegis Network UK & Ireland, and is run by a team of LGBT+ champions and allies across its group agencies, which includes Carat, Vizeum, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, Posterscope, MKTG, and John Brown Media. Jones said: “As a heterosexual woman who has always worked in diverse teams, I hadn’t truly appreciated the challenges that many LGBT+ people still face in their lives, with many choosing not to be open with colleagues and clients about their sexuality or gender identity. Businesses have a responsibility to cultivate inclusive environments where people feel confident and empowered to be themselves, and do what they love. This isn’t just about helping a a group of people find a voice, it’s about turning up the volume on what diversity means and encouraging everyone to embrace it.” Tracy De Groose, CEO of the Dentsu Aegis Network UK & Ireland, added: “What makes us all different is more important than the similarities we all share. Difference is a key ingredient to a healthy, vibrant and innovative culture and I am committed to ensure that Dentsu Aegis is a place where all of our people feel able to be their honest self at work. This is another positive step forwards for our Diversity and Inclusion agenda which I am incredibly proud to see happen.”
“This isn’t just about helping a a group of people find a voice, it’s about turning up the volume on what diversity means and encouraging everyone to embrace it”
To mark the launch, outdoor digital screens around some of Dentsu Aegis’ main UK offices including London, Manchester, Newcastle, and Edinburgh, will display a message of pride alongside the &PROUD branding. An event is also being held at Dentsu Aegis London HQ on July 20, and streamed live across all other offices, with guest speakers including Asifa Lahore, Britain’s first 'out' Muslim drag queen, one of YouTube’s biggest LGBT stars in the UK, Trent & Luke, and former deputy-chair of Stonewall, Liz Grant, who received an OBE for her services to the LGBT community.