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INFLUENCER: In such a fast-moving world, Clear Channel's Ben Hope outlines why Pride truly matters


On the 7th July, Pride in London saw 40,000+ people parade through central London – no small feat to plan, organise and deliver, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’ve had the pleasure of attending Pride for the past few years, both as a participant and a spectator, and it’s one of best days of the year. The whole of London feels energetic, colourful and alive and it can’t help but bring a smile to my face.

It’s a celebration, but it’s also a protest, a stand, a demonstration. It’s many different things to many different people, but the one thing that it does universally is provide a platform for anyone to tell their story. The theme of this year’s event was, by its design, all inclusive: #PrideMatters.

Pride should matter to all of us, not just those in the LGBT community.

Clear Channel has been a media partner of Pride in London for a number of years – we carry their advertising campaign displaying to thousands of Londoners lining the streets on Pride weekend. It’s one of many initiatives and charities that our business supports – amongst them are the likes of The Princes Trust, NABS, Trees for Cities, MediaTrust and London Air Ambulance.

These contributions, however big or small, are about all of us pulling in the same direction to make our company a more inclusive place to work, and by result, making the world a better place for anyone and everyone.

So why does Pride matter?

The world is a dramatically changing place, and the pace of that change is increasing. As a business, and a collective of individuals, we need to be aware of and ready for the change that is happening around us:

- In a recent survey by YouGov, 49% of 18-24 identify as not 100% heterosexual.

- A Stonewall report in 2018 found that 35% of LGBT individuals feel the need to conceal their identity at work for fear of discrimination.

- The Human Rights Campaign found that 62% of LGBT graduates go back into the closet when they start their first job.

Making an inclusive culture is not only important, it’s imperative for the future. Not only is there evidence to support a focus on diversity building a better culture, leading to increased creativity, productivity, diversity of thought, delivering better financial performance and making organisations more appealing to candidates – it’s just the right and decent thing to do. Everyone should be able to come to work and be themselves.

There are many, amazing people around our business doing many small, amazing things that make our story stronger. From colleagues making rainbow cakes for bake sales with our customers to others initiating and creating campaigns that publicly support Pride in London this year for the first time. Recently I’ve seen work mates encouraging others to participate in Ramadan to share their personal journey, actively encouraging and promoting NABS, and backing campaigns such as Project Embrace and Processions to promote diversity.

From a personal perspective, it’s the small, simple, ‘regular’ things that make a difference – it’s the conversation with colleagues about your weekend and feeling free to share it was with my partner, the email from your boss congratulating you on your engagement, the questions about when the wedding date is or others just asking how your partner is. These are the small things that, to me, all contribute to Clear Channel’s brilliant, inclusive culture.

I recently attended a Stonewall course on the importance of role models within an organisation. Whilst discussing positive experiences in the workplace, several attendees, including myself, commented that they felt lucky to work in a business or environment where they could be completely themselves, or authentic, with colleagues.

On reflection, I retracted that thought. I don’t feel lucky. Lucky is something that happens by chance. But what we have at Clear Channel is the result of some serious hard work, thought, time, commitment and investment, as well as some incredible people doing the small things well, to make steps towards being an inclusive culture.

What I feel is Proud.

Ben Hope is head of design and product marketing at Clear Channel

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Clear Channel, Thu, 12 Jul 2018 13:34:17 GMT