International law firm Gowling WLG has co-founded The Alliance Network, bringing together the LGBT networks of professional services firms in the Midlands area, including PwC, KPMG, Barclays, Mazars and DWF, to provide support and networking opportunities to other LGBT professionals. The network will also organise relevant thought leadership events, share best practice and provide a platform to promote LGBT equality in the workplace.
The inaugural event took place at Gowling WLG's Birmingham office at Two Snowhill on Thursday 26 May. Rob Hudson, group finance director at St Modwen, and Sally Bourner, chief superintendent at West Midlands Police, ran a discussion panel on the topic of "Promoting the business case for LGBT equality in the workplace".
Rob and Sally are both senior leaders in their respective organisations and have experience in promoting workplace equality for LGBT professionals.
More than fifty people attended the event, which took place just before Birmingham Pride weekend (28-29 May).
Paul Eaves-Seeley, the Chair of the Network from PwC in the Midlands, said after the launch, "I'm looking forward to sharing our plans for the future of The Alliance Network. The network will complement the range of established and newer LGBT networks in the Midlands, help promote inclusion in the workplace and provide support for individuals."
As well as the steering group in attendance at the launch, there were guests from firms including EY, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deloitte, Birmingham City Council, the Solicitors' Regulation Authority and Pinsent Masons.
Peter Bond, representing Gowling WLG in the network, said: "Launching the Alliance Network is a really important step for professional services firms in the Midlands, allowing us to come together and share best practice, as well as providing an inclusive network for LGBT professionals to network and forge business contacts."
You can learn more about The Alliance Network on their website or follow them on Twitter @midlandalliance.
The launch was swiftly followed by another LGBT networking group's - OpenLand - a network dedicated to LGBT professionals working specifically in real estate. OpenLand was formed at the end of April by individuals from St Modwen, Gowling WLG, Higgs & Sons, Court Collaboration and Millennium Point. Their official launch event is in July - see www.openland.org.uk for more information.