As we prepare for Dive In 2020, the festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance, we caught up with Vanessa Horne, a member of Miller’s Pride Alliance.
Hi Vanessa! Thanks for taking a moment to talk to us about Miller’s Pride Alliance. To kick things off, please could you tell us what the main goal of your alliance is?
Vanessa: Hi! Great question - Pride Alliance is a group of LGBTQ+ advocates and allies. Our goal is to ensure that Miller is a place where no matter what your sexuality or gender identity, you feel safe, confident and supported to be your whole self.
Amazing - what activities do you organise to help meet this goal?
Vanessa: Well, first and foremost, we offer a safe space for anyone wishing to talk or share issues that may be affecting them at Miller and act as a conduit to the Inclusion@Miller Committee, to offer an LGBTQ+ voice on Miller policies and decisions.
We also run lots of activities throughout the year where we provide access to educational content, resources and events relating to the LGBT+ and ally community. For example, as part of LGBTQ+ history month back in February, we ran an internal series recognising key public figures who have made a positive difference to the community. We also celebrated Pride month in June, where we changed the Miller logo to pride colours and showed our support as a company, as well as our own ally campaign where several individuals across Miller shared what being an ally means to them.
Outside of Miller, we are active members of LINK, the LGBT+ insurance network, supporting and promoting the work they do across the insurance market and regularly exploring possible initiatives to collaborate on.
That all sounds great - what are some of Pride Alliance’s plans for the next 12 months?
Vanessa: So, we are currently working with Miller’s Cultural Alliance, Zurich, LINK and iCAN on a Dive In event discussing the concept of privilege with particular focus on race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender identity. This has been an exciting project to work on and with such a strong line-up of panellists, promises to be the open and frank conversation this topic needs.
Dive In 2020 virtual event: Using white privilege for positive change
A core focus for us during 2020 has been to explore how Miller can run its own internal ally training. Prior to lockdown we were in discussions with others across the insurance market to learn best practice and work continues internally across all our alliances to define what a Miller programme could look like. Starting in 2021, Miller will also sign-up to become a Stonewall Diversity Champion, which will enable us to benefit from their resources and support, and use their UK Workplace Equality Index as a guide for our own progress.
Exciting times ahead! Changing tack slightly: What do you see as the added value of increased diversity and inclusion?
Vanessa: For me, diversity of thought and perspectives, which naturally come about from a diverse working population, can only help us to deliver more for our clients. But for diversity to thrive, we need an inclusive culture. One where people can be their whole selves and not experience any barriers based on any characteristic of difference. I truly believe that an inclusive environment is how we get the best from our people.
It's obvious this topic means a lot to you, is there anyone who particularly inspires you as a champion of diversity and inclusion?
Vanessa: Focusing on an LGBT+ perspective, I’d have to choose Gareth Thomas. I saw him speak very openly at a Dive In event a few years ago about his coming out in what was and likely still is, a very straight, male sport of rugby. And more recently his positive HIV status. His courage and determination to communicate the importance of being your true self is what I find truly inspiring.
Thanks Vanessa, and good luck with the year ahead!
Inclusion & Diversity here at Miller