This weekend marks the first of 10 Pride parades that Virgin Media O2’s LGBTQ+ Proud network will be attending this year, as our people (and party bus!) take to the streets of London. We’ve spoken to our internal Proud network’s co-chair, Charlotte Wilson, about the importance of Pride and ambitions for our network.
Charlotte Wilson, pronouns she/her, is a Senior Finance Business Partner and co-chair of our Proud network.
What does Pride month mean to you?
Pride month for me is about taking time out to recognise the LGBTQ+ community and how far it has come in terms of rights and equality. It’s about celebrating and giving people the opportunity and space to celebrate who they are with members of the community and allies.
Pride is becoming more important each year due to ongoing challenges that the community faces with LGBTQ rights being challenged, especially in the trans community. Opportunities like Pride month enable us to further highlight these issues and empower allies and the public to fight for equality for all.
How will our internal Proud network mark Pride?
We’ll be attending pride parades in a number of cities across the UK, including London, Manchester and Leeds where Virgin Media O2 will have a big presence.
Internally we have been empowering our colleagues throughout Pride month to share their stories and thoughts on Workplace which has been incredibly powerful.
What can we expect from Virgin Media O2 at this year’s Pride parades?
We’re going bigger this year, with our own bus in London, Manchester and Leeds! Lots of our colleagues will be there marching.
Can you share some of the recent key achievements within the network?
My fellow co-chair, Adam Wilson, was awarded Highly Commended in the Inspirational Role Model of the Year category at this year’s Rainbow Awards which was amazing. We’re also very proud to have been named in the Top 100 in the Stonewall Index.
What has been key in ensuring we’ve reached these achievements?
Our DE&I agenda has been a key focus for Virgin Media O2 since we merged two years ago. It’s become a basic standard within our organisation that we always consider the DE&I implication of what we’re doing. Last year we launched our All In DE&I strategy which sets out our commitment to become a more inclusive and equitable business by introducing a series of bold ambitions to ensure our business better represents the diverse communities that we serve across the UK.
What is the network’s focus for our LGBTQ+ community going forwards?
We’re really focusing in on continuing to be a support for our people – we’re a place for them to go and know they are being heard. We’re also looking at ways in which we can really highlight areas of our community that may be smaller in number but are still so important to us by ensuring we work with the business to be supportive allies.
What would you like the network/community to have achieved by this time next year?
We would love to continue moving up the Stonewall Index (Top 100 Employers) which would be a massive achievement. I’d also like to continue the work we do with the business on highlighting the challenges the community faces and how business decisions can impact the community.