Leaders Who Are Out, Proud and Loud Foster LGBT+ Inclusion

Insights into how leaders can set LGBT+ employees up for success from Accenture’s Christine Rauh, Managing Director and Global Pride Network Co-Sponsor
Sep 4, 2020 10:50 AM ET

Leaders who are out, proud and loud foster LGBT+ inclusion

The rainbow flag of Pride continues to spread its colors, and as we celebrate the unity and determination of people across the world striving for equality, we must also remain laser-focused on the road that lies ahead.   

Accenture’s "Visible Growth; Invisible Fears" report reveals that strong leaders are critical in cultivating a culture where equality rules and LGBT+ employees thrive.   

So, how does Accenture walk the talk?

Hear from Christine Rauh, Managing Director and Accenture’s Global Pride Network Co-Sponsor, as she takes the “Pride Challenge”—a series of questions leaders must continually ask about how to uplift and support the LGBT+ community. 

How Accenture supports LGBT+ needs

One of the more visible ways Accenture supports our LGBT+ people is through our Global Pride Network, which spans 45 countries and growing. It’s a community and a support network, which offers opportunities to educate and interact with each other and with allies.

It provides ways to give back to our communities through local partnerships with nonprofit LGBT+ organizations and encourages leadership and career development.

Each country Pride Network has an executive sponsor, which is critical. And I am available to provide a helping hand to our Pride leaders and members who want more guidance, as well as other Accenture leaders learning about inclusion.

I am so inspired by our people in the Pride Network. They consistently bring their passion and willingness to go the extra mile to create an inclusive workplace for all.

Additionally, our Global Pride Program team is comprised of Human Resources professionals focused on advancing LGBT+ inclusion and equality at Accenture. This team works to continuously expand our benefits, update global policies, support programs—such as the Ally Network and Global Pride Mentoring program—and much more to further LGBT+ equality.

Currently, same-sex benefits are available in 92% of countries where legally possible, and we are continuing to expand self-identification options to more accurately reflect the gender identity and expression of our people. 

Strengthening inclusion efforts 

The Accenture LGBT+ community is incredibly diverse, representing many different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and more. I am committed to taking an intersectional approach to our programs and how we support our people.

For example, this Pride Season we hosted virtual events dedicated to Pride and anti-racism and equipped our people so that they could show their support. We also launched Unstoppable by Accenture (available on Apple or Android)—a digital tool that enables everyone to march virtually in support of Pride and anti-racism.

Looking ahead, we continue to foster and encourage further collaboration between the Pride Network and other local employee networks—such as the Accenture Women and Gender Network, ethnicity network groups and disability and accessibility groups—to share resources and stories and co-host networking events and learning sessions.

Driving LGBT+ awareness

Throughout the year, we invite and encourage our people to share their personal journeys of self-realization and how they are advancing equality. Their stories foster a deeper knowledge and understanding of inequalities and challenges many face.

Importantly, they offer words of support to others that need it most. I am so proud of our people for being authentic and visible. You can read many of their stories by visiting our Facebook Pride Album.

We also host regular Pride events, focusing on specific cities, individuals and topics to raise awareness for the LGBT+ community. Additionally, we engage with external LGBT+ organizations globally, which provide opportunities for speaking engagements and events for our people’s participation.

In addition to our global Human Resources programs, our more than 90 Pride Networks in major cities across the world are crucial for creating awareness of available resources and driving participation.

Raising workplace concerns

I am personally committed to creating a workplace that inspires authenticity and belonging for all. Foundational and integral to Accenture’s core values is that we do not tolerate disrespectful behavior or harassment of any kind.

We provide many ways our people can raise concerns, ask questions and seek support. Our Business Ethics Hotline is for reporting concerns about disrespectful or inappropriate behavior, and our confidential Employee Assistance Program offers assistance with personal or work-related issues.

Our local Pride Network leads and our Global Pride at Accenture program team also provides guidance and support to all our people.


The importance of LGBT+ allies

Allies are crucial to building an environment of equality. An ally is someone you can rely on and go to when you have a problem. Allies stand up to protect you and act on behalf of the Pride community, pushing equality for all forward.

Accenture has a robust global ally program with over 117,000 allies across the world, and it is open for anyone to join.

The program provides guidance on how to be visible, vocal and active allies through activities such as ally networking events and educational workshops, which explore special topics related to the LGBT+ community.

We measure our progress against objectives on a monthly basis. I am especially passionate about recruiting senior leaders as allies, as I believe that visible support from leadership goes a long way in inspiring people to bring their true selves to work.


‘Culture Makers’ leading the way

Our “Visible Growth, Invisible Fears” research shows that a small group of leaders—who we call Culture Makers—are leading the way toward driving workplace equality. As we continue to empower all our people to stand up for equality and show their support as allies, our own Culture Makers are invaluable partners in that effort.

Training and resources are open to all our people, and LGBT+ executives and allies are invited to attend LGBT+ Leaders Learning, a global training program that supports their careers and development as LGBT+ role models.

And despite the absence of in-person events this year, we made sure all our people across the world were able to participate in the Pride celebrations and make a stand against inequality.

‘Visible Growth; Invisible Fears’ 

Based on Accenture’s surveys completed by 1,700 senior leaders and 28,000 employees from organizations around the world, our research found that when leaders are out and proud and coworkers are loud in their support, LGBT+ employees are set up for success.


More than two-thirds (71%) of respondents said “seeing people like me” in senior leadership positions is important to helping them thrive, and the same number (71%) said that the support of non-LGBT+ colleagues or allies is important to their ability to enjoy being at work.

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