Deloitte and Google Australia have just announced this year’s list of Outstanding 50 LGBTI Leaders in Australia. Matthew Wade reports.

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Labor Senator Penny Wong and Sydney-based electrician David Jones are among the role models selected in this year’s list of Outstanding 50 LGBTI Leaders.

Building on the success of the first list in 2016, professional service firm Deloitte and Google Australia have announced this year’s line up in an effort to develop workplace inclusion and champion inspiring executives for LGBTI workers.

The 2018 list features 24 women and 26 men, including two trans business leaders and an intersex leader, with representatives spanning all major cities around the country with the exception of Hobart.

Robbie Robertson, the National Partner Sponsor for Deloitte’s LGBTI network GLOBE, says it’s still important to highlight LGBTI workplace leaders.

“Despite wonderful work being done by many Australian employers on LGBTI inclusion, the most recent research still shows that nearly one in two LGBTI workers don’t feel comfortable being out at work,” he told the Star Observer.

“By promoting successful LGBTI leaders in a wide range of professions – from corporate, to creative industries, and right through to trades – we are hoping to send a message that inclusion works and ensures better outcomes, not only for individuals but for business too.”

Among the 2018 list are chief executive of ACOSS, Dr Cassandra Goldie, chief executive of DOW Chemicals, Louis Vega, and chief executive of Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Emma Dunch.

It also contains prominent politicians and public figures including Liberal Senator Dean Smith, Greens Senator Janet Rice, and Chief Minister for the ACT Andrew Barr.

Also recognising that millions of Australians work in non-corporate roles and within creative industries, the 2018 list features leaders from organisations of all shapes and sizes, including health technology consultancy firm owner Alasdair Godfrey, executive director for the Melbourne Theatre Company Virginia Lovett, and chief executive of Screen Australia Graeme Mason.

Robertson says the list sends an important message to young people, both within and outside of the LGBTI community.

“We know that depression and suicide rates are significantly higher among LGBTI youth and those living in rural areas, so by collaborating with Google we hope to reach these individuals and reassure them that they’re great just the way they are,” he says.

“We want to inspire them, so they know that no matter what they want to achieve, they can get there without their sexuality or gender identity acting as a barrier in achieving success.”

He adds that marriage equality doesn’t mark the end of fighting for the rights of LGBTI people.

“It’s interesting because there is a view that exists out there which is, ‘you’ve got marriage equality now, isn’t that the end of it?’” he says.

“The reality is that, for many, marriage equality is just the first bastion in achieving true equity.

“We need to ensure continued focus on supporting our bisexual, transgender, and intersex community, and we hope that by including trans and intersex role models in our 2018 list that we can help raise further awareness and help to drive better outcomes for these individuals too.”

For the full Outstanding 50 LGBTI Leaders list with more information, visit: www.deloitte.com/au/Out50.

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