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June 20, 2022

Stand up for Pride Month: An Interview with Jacqui Lloyd

Recently, Jacqui Lloyd (she/her) shared her amazing story with Ansys at the invitation of the Ansys Pride Alliance employee resource group (ERG). Lloyd is an absolute powerhouse in making the workplace better for the LGBTQ+ community. She is senior vice president and apprenticeship lead at Citi in the U.K., where she co-leads the Citi Pride Affinity network. Lloyd’s recent contribution to the Gay Times highlights her efforts at Citi to promote a more inclusive workplace. You may also recognize her as the presenter from the LinkedIn Learning course “Out in the Workplace.”

In honor of Pride Month, I wanted to share some insights from her presentation and our conversation. 

Q: Welcome, Jacqui! Can you give us a little background about your career, and how it prepared you for your role today?

A: I think it’s fair to say I’ve taken a non-traditional route professionally. Initially I trained to be a nursery nurse, and I spent many years working with infants and children in different settings, including special needs. I’m grateful for this experience, as it set me up well to deal with all of the different situations and challenges I faced along the way. It was during my time in graduate school that I decided I no longer wanted to work in childcare or education.

I began to explore careers outside of education, and in building my own network connecting with various people, I was presented with the opportunity to join Microsoft, which I did in 2013. My job at that time was to encourage more females to work in technology, addressing challenges many people are familiar with. Working really closely with our junior talent on the diversity team was a pivotal moment in my career. There was a piece of research published around that time that suggested 62% of millennials go back in the closet. This was a real eye-opener, and real call to action for me personally.

Jacqui Lloyd and Alex Moon talk about being out in the workplace, creating inclusive spaces and active allyship.

Jacqui Lloyd and Alex Moon talk about being out in the workplace, creating inclusive spaces, and active allyship.

Q: What was your experience like coming out in the workplace, and how have you used that experience to help others?

A: When I began my career in education, I was very secretive about myself and my identity. I spent a lot of time trying to pass by covering up my own sexuality. And when I discovered a piece of research on this topic, I kind of felt like I didn’t want any more young people to be going through what I had, simply because it takes a lot of time, energy, and effort to self-edit in the workplace around your personal life. At this moment I decided it was important for me to step up and play a bigger role by becoming quite visible and vocal about myself and my relationship with the LGBTQ+ community.

In the beginning it was simple things, like referencing my wife and my relationship during induction sessions with our graduates, interns, and apprentices — talking to them about our LGBTQ+ network and the role I played in that network and encouraging them to get involved, whether they identified as LGBTQ+ or not.

Q: How do we create a safe space for our LGBTQ+ coworkers at the office?

A: Where possible, I believe it’s important to try to create a safe space within your office, at least. So, where you have transferable policies and benefits and so forth, which are applicable in different locations, you can at least say this is how we expect people to show up and be in the workplace — that these are the values that we want people to hold dear and respect how we're going to work with one another.

It's also important to make sure professional networks are open to all, so that even if I'm based in London, colleagues who are based in other locations can still join different events and initiatives virtually. But I also think it involves asking important questions, such as: Is this a safe space? Do we create the safe space within the office and keep it within the confines of the office, or can we do something bolder?

Q: What are the benefits of promoting an inclusive work environment?

A: When I look back at the first part of my career, I was guilty of boxing myself into a particular role or career pathway. It was through meeting other people who thought differently about talent, and about opening doors and creating opportunities, that I was given the opportunity to move in a different direction. I’m grateful to those who have been brave enough to do things differently or challenge the status quo a little bit.

One of the biggest advantages we can bring to an organization is a diversity in talent, in the broadest sense of the word. So diversity of thought, diversity of background, diversity of experience — all of those different kinds of perspectives I think bring something really exciting into an organization. What I’m really interested in is where the talent is that’s kind of sitting in the margins; not necessarily just young people, but people at all stages in their careers who are getting overlooked. I’d like the chance to connect with them to give them a route into an organization. And building on that in my role as co-chair, I think it makes it very easy for me to have quite authentic conversations about diversity and inclusion.

Q: In your opinion, what does it mean to be a good ally?

A: I would like people to think of the word “ally” more as a verb than a noun. And by that I simply mean it's not a name to call yourself, but an action word. I want to see some action here — so to be an ally, we ask people to be visible. We ask them to be vocal. We ask them to educate themselves on the issues and understand what it is that we’re trying to achieve or some of the challenges that we might be facing.

What does that look like at work? Speaking up for somebody when they're not in the room. In very simple terms, I would like someone to stand up for me, for pride, and stand up for the LGBTQ+ community, whether I'm there or not.

We’d like to thank Jacqui for sharing her perspective and experiences with Ansys as we kicked off Pride Month.

We invite you to learn more about our Pride Alliance ERG and related Pride Month activities.

Members of the Ansys Pride Alliance during the Q&A with Jacqui Lloyd

Members of the Ansys Pride Alliance during the Q&A with Jacqui Lloyd

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