Award Winners
Log in
What you can do
A person on their phone and a laptop in a booth with a table

Award Winners

Find out which individuals and network groups have done exceptional work to advance LGBTQ+ workplace equality.

Those listed below have all done great work in their organisations and beyond.

Change maker: Ant Babajee
Ant Babajee

Photo: Chris Jepson

Ant Babajee, CRM Manager, Middlesex University

What are you most proud of as a Change Maker?

First and foremost, I am proud of myself for bringing all parts of my identity to work. I have not always felt able to be so open at work, but I am so glad to have got to a place in my own journey where I can be unashamedly and unapologetically myself. As a mixed-race gay man openly living with HIV, I have an intersecting identity. By being my authentic self in the workplace I know I create opportunities for learning and understanding among my colleagues.

I have grown to understand the most effective equality, diversity and inclusion work looks after people within communities who are on the margins. If we work to include them, everyone thrives.

I’m always so keen with my activism and advocacy work to emphasise just how much HIV has changed – I continue to be shocked by how few people, even in our LGBT+ community, know about U=U and PrEP.

A lot of what I do as a Change Maker happens outside of my workplace, and I am incredibly thankful to Middlesex for supporting all of my LGBT+ and HIV advocacy and activism.

I was proud to be one of the faces of National AIDS Trust’s World AIDS Day campaign, and I used that as an opportunity to link up via the LGBT+ Network of Networks in Higher Education with around half a dozen universities across the UK to give talks to their staff and students. This was an amazing platform to reach new audiences with the U=U [Undetectable equals Untransmittable] message, which means as someone on effective HIV treatment I can’t pass the virus on, and PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis], which is a pill you can take that is extremely effective at preventing HIV.

What advice would you give to individuals and groups that want to make a change in their workplace?

Creating lasting cultural change in our organisations can be hard. The journey you can take people on is perhaps more important than the ultimate destination. Start small.

Think laterally and find your allies – the people who will lift you up rather than drag you down. Sometimes your best allies won’t be in the most obvious places. Are there other staff networks you could work with? We work closely with our Anti-Racism and Disability networks, and have organised numerous joint events.

Pick your battles: you can’t fight every battle straight away, so concentrate your efforts first on those you think you can win.

What help or support did you receive towards your inclusive work?

When I joined Middlesex in 2016, I was so heartened that there was an active and thriving LGBT+ Network for staff.

In my subsequent four years as co-chair of the LGBT+ network, I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from colleagues – from the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, and throughout the university.

We have grown and shaped our understanding of what we need to do as a network and in our university inclusion work more generally. We need to continue to highlight and stand alongside the more marginalised members of our community, both inside and outside Middlesex University in London as well as around the world.

I am incredibly fortunate to have had supportive managers in my time at MDX – they have recognised the importance of my contributions and have allowed me the time and space to work on LGBT+ inclusion work for the university as a whole.

It might take one person to stand up and start change, but ultimately all of my colleagues who have been supportive have played their part. Thank you so much for your support.

Change maker: Odhran Devlin
Odhran Devlin


Odhran Devlin, Business Manager, Citi

What are you most proud of as a Change Maker?

Creating strong and effective partnerships with our key LGBTQ+ sector organisations here in Northern Ireland has been a highlight for me and I am proud to have played a part in bringing the discussion around LGBTQ+ issues into the workplace. This has involved establishing trust, both internally and externally, and ensuring that people feel welcome to engage in topics and discussions that they may never have had the opportunity to do so before.

I am proud to have been able to play a part in platforming LGBTQ+ issues which are specific and unique to Northern Ireland as well as promoting the invaluable work that LGBTQ+ sector organisations do here.

What advice would you give to individuals and groups that want to make a change in their workplace?

Engaging in LGBTQ+ groups, networks, committees is an important way of making connections and can create a forum for bringing about positive change. It is important to recognise that seemingly small, incremental wins play a part in building towards wider campaigns and initiatives as we go about creating a society that is truly inclusive for all marginalised groups.

It is important that the work we do is intersectional so that these efforts enhance the experiences of everyone within our workplaces and communities. As well, prioritising your own well-being is critical. Activism in any form is personal and emotional, therefore I would encourage you to be conscious of your personal welfare.

What help or support did you receive towards your inclusive work?

I am grateful to have been able to collaborate with our colleagues globally to share ideas on best practice in order to inform our local activities. I have received support from my manager, my team and senior leadership, the Citi Pride Network – Belfast, as well as our Business Sponsor, site leadership, and Diversity Office who have championed our work and ensured that LGBTQ+ issues are recognised and prioritised within the workplace and the communities in which we operate.

I have had inspiring mentors, Jill, Grainne, and Carmel, who taught me the importance of dialogue and respectful discussion around challenging subjects.

Change maker: Shamini Rajan
Shamini Rajan


Shamini Rajan, Inclusion Partner, Aviva

What are you most proud of as a Change Maker?

Our ability as a workforce to give each other space and time to make mistakes and learn from one another. We continue on a journey of learning in this life, and Aviva (and our people) enables me to learn something new every day. I am not judged for not knowing things and I am supported through unknown territory.

My progress in understanding our LGBTQ+ community’s lived experiences, and my ability to step up and support them continuously, has come from this journey of learning in a safe environment.

What advice would you give to individuals and groups that want to make a change in their workplace?

Just do it. Rally your “troop”. Engage the most active allies in your organisation and build momentum behind a purpose. Being fearful of saying the wrong thing will not help. The more we speak up and make others understand the need for inclusion, the more success we’ll see in organisations’ DEI progress.

What help or support did you receive towards your inclusive work?

Comforting advice and guidance from my friends, colleagues and leaders. I am blessed to be surrounded by wonderful individuals who support my personal and professional growth, and my work is nothing without the people around me.

Change maker: Angharad Roberts
Angharad Roberts


Angharad Roberts, Councillor, Nottingham City Council

What are you most proud of as a Change Maker?

As an elected representative, I work to represent everyone who lives in my ward. However, it’s been a particular privilege to be an LGBT+ Champion within the Council, working to advocate for our community. I’ve been proud to speak at Full Council drawing on my own experiences of growing up gay in the era of Section 28 in order to highlight the importance of inclusive Relationships & Sex Education in schools today.

I worked with the Equalities Board to gain Executive Board approval for Council participation in Stonewall’s “Trans Rights are Human Rights” campaign. And my co-Councillor and I hosted the annual LGBT+ Celebration and Awards Evening in 2022 and 2023, in partnership with Nottinghamshire LGBT+ Network and Nottinghamshire Rainbow Heritage.

What advice would you give to individuals and groups that want to make a change in their workplace?

My experience is that the best ideas for positive change may come from anywhere, so working to facilitate and support others in making change is important. Similarly, if you are in a relatively senior position in an organisation, being willing to be visible and to use your own experiences to encourage others can be useful. Finally, being tenacious and persistent in taking ideas forward and knowing where advocacy can make the biggest difference will also help to make change happen.

What help or support did you receive towards your inclusive work?

The Nottingham City Council LGBT+ Employee Network has been a great support, and it’s been a great privilege to be their LGBT+ Champion. My co-Councillor and senior Councillor colleagues have also been supportive - when change happens, it’s always a team effort.

Network group of the year: Rainbow Network
Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Rainbow Network


Rainbow Network, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

What are you most proud of as Network Group of the Year?

Striving to create welcoming environments for our lesbian, gay, bi, trans, nonbinary, and queer/questioning colleagues. We’re proud of our ongoing commitment to support others, and the organisation has visibly and practically increased its commitment to inclusion with this amazing achievement, demonstrating progress to LGBTQ+ equality, with staff members feeling able to bring their whole selves to work.

While we are making great progress in this area, we know there is further work to do to fully embed inclusive practice through all parts of our organisation, and we will continue to work hard to do that.

What advice would you give to individuals and groups that want to make a change in their workplace?

Reach out to senior leads - they can influence culture change across the whole organisation. We have a well-established Executive Sponsor and two Senior Sponsors who make a huge difference to identifying funding, reducing barriers, and increasing allyship. Consider becoming a role model to others, keep using your voice for culture change and supporting others in the workplace. Keep on learning and sharing with other partners and networks, there’s some amazing work out there to help inspire and motivate, as you continue to grow, to be the best you can be.

What help or support did you receive towards your inclusive work?

The organisation has enabled our Rainbow Network to provide members with a safe space to share experiences, and have a voice in the continuing growth of inclusion and equality. The organisation has also recognised the importance of going beyond visibility by providing time allocation for staff to lead the network, funding, excellent communication with senior leads, and a chance to celebrate key events, with our 41 stations and other estates flying key LGBTQ+ flags throughout the year!

We also have a range of learning and development opportunities, such as ‘Inclusion Essentials’ training specifically related to our LGBTQ+ community. These increase awareness, provide an insight into how to achieve good equality practice, and provide guidance on creating an inclusive organisation. They include:

  • Inclusive language and communication
  • Allyship
  • Supporting trans and non-binary people at work: a guide for managers
  • Trans and non-binary awareness

We know learning is the key to culture change, so every time staff invest in learning about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion they can earn credits towards Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum certificates and email badges!

Our policies and benefits are also inclusive, and offer robust support in the workplace. They include our Trans and Non-Binary Policy, and our Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination and Victimisation Policy.

Our attraction and recruitment drive has shown sterling support for our LGBTQ+ communities to come and join us through inclusive adverts, partnership working and continually improving interview practices across the service. We want to thank senior leads, our Stonewall working group, all departments and staff for showing support and allyship that enables everyone to feel a strong sense of belonging, dignity, and respect in the workplace.


Unlock the potential of your LGTBQ+ workforce. Join our Diversity Champions programme.

⬅️Return to Top 100 Employers.