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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Responsible Business Insights

Working towards a sustainable future

Pizza and pronouns

Emma Elias, Responsible Business Manager in Hong Kong, shares her experience of collaborating informally with one of our banking clients to develop a better understanding of LGBT+ terminology and issues, as well as foster more inclusive workplaces.

Over the last few years, I’ve observed improvements in the development of more inclusive workplaces across the Asia Pacific region. This has been achieved, in large part, through close collaboration with clients and other external stakeholders. One example of note is the ongoing inclusion initiatives that we have collaborated on with one of our banking clients, J.P. Morgan.

We have worked with J.P. Morgan on several inclusion workshops focusing on gender and reverse mentoring. As an extension of this work, we started to discuss other ways we could collaborate in the Inclusion space and decided to focus on the LGBT+ community.

This event was timely, as J.P. Morgan had recently put together a toolkit for staff, covering a range of topics relevant to the LGBT+ and allies’ community. We decided to co-host an event titled ‘Pizza and Pronouns’ to discuss topics such as LGBT+ terminology, how to be a good ally, and how to foster an inclusive workplace. Over pizza in the late afternoon, legal and business professionals from both firms would come together and participate in an interactive workshop.

I worked closely with Eddy Chan from the Legal department of J.P. Morgan as well as our Global Director of Inclusion Tiernan Brady and Partner Matt Fairclough, who founded the Asia Pacific Arcus network, to develop content for the workshop. At the event, Eddy, Tiernan and Matt discussed topics including the LGBT+ spectrum and gender identity. Attendees were then given a series of case studies to workshop in small groups, such as how to create and foster an office environment where colleagues would be comfortable to come out.

Inclusion is about all of us and we must make spaces where we can listen, learn from each other and ask questions. Pizza and Pronouns really made that space. Due to the event’s success and positive feedback, we aim to replicate this workshop across the network. It’s important that we lead from the front and help colleagues and clients foster inclusive environments regardless of gender, race and sexuality.