Name: Ro Horton
Role: Diversity & Inclusion Advisor
Sector: Investment Banking and Asset Management
Do you feel comfortable being out at work?
I feel very comfortable being out at work. I do find that not many people have heard of, or understand, what it means to be non-binary. But I’m quite open about my identity and try to help answer questions that allies might have. I can do this because I genuinely believe that my workplace is an inclusive place and people accept and celebrate their colleagues’ identities.
Have you had any career opportunities due to your identity?
I’ve had career opportunities as an out LGBT+ junior employee that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t out. I’ve been on different LGBT+ leadership courses, including the Stonewall Young Leaders programme, which has taught me practical ways to show up as a leader and role model within my organisation.
Through my internal LGBT+ network, I’ve developed a network that includes some of the most senior employees from across the organisation. They’ve provided career advice and guidance at an early stage in my career.
I’ve also had opportunities to present to clients and have spoken about my non-binary identity externally at other firms. These are all opportunities I wouldn’t have had if I was hiding part of my identity at work.
Why are workplace role models important?
One of my favourite quotes about the importance of role models is: “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” LGBT+ people need to see themselves in an organisation for them to know that they belong in that company or even the industry. By being a visible role model, you’re setting out the path for others to follow and can be there to guide anyone who may not feel comfortable with being out.
I’ve been an active committee member of the Citi Pride (LGBT+) Network in London for over three years and I’m the trans* representative. Outside of work, I run networking socials in Canary Wharf for LGBT+ Women and nonbinary people. I also volunteer with Diversity Role Models, going to schools and sharing my experiences as a nonbinary person.
What advice would you give to an LGBT person just starting your career?
If you’ve just started at an organisation, I would strongly recommend that you get involved with your internal LGBT network and any industry-wide networks there are. Your internal LGBT network will give you opportunities to grow you network and develop skills outside of your day-to-day role, which will help progress your career. Your LGBT network will also give you a little community that will be there for you and understand your experiences or frustrations better than colleagues who aren’t LGBT.