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11 Jun 2020
by Dawn Lewis

Addleshaw Goddard is “Proud From The Inside Out” as D&I Partner Ross McKenzie explains

Pride month 2020 isn’t quite the same this year, but for Ross McKenzie, data, privacy and tech lawyer and diversity & inclusion (D&I) partner at Addleshaw Goddard, the current situation has only made them more determined to do something extra special to mark the occasion.


At the end of last year, law firm Addleshaw Goddard approved a progressive inclusion strategy to create a D&I board to hold executives to account. The aim was to bring together the different strands of inclusion – from gender and disability, through to ethnicity and sexuality – to help the organisation nurture a positive working culture for all.

McKenzie is part of the D&I board representing the firms’ LGBTQ+ group, Open AG. He and the OpenAG committee are spearheading their LEAP strategy: Leadership, Education, Activism, Pride. To help the organisation ‘LEAP forward’ to create a “sustainable firm that I and my colleagues want to work in”.

The Pride element of the strategy refers to be being proud of Addleshaw Goddard’s people and to celebrate their achievements, and this has been central to the committee’s thinking for this year’s Pride celebrations.

Adapting to a virtual Pride month

In the past the firm has held a range of activities and events to celebrate Pride, including taking part in city-specific Pride marches, putting up pledge boards in offices, handing out cupcakes and doing desk drops. Sadly, none of these things are possible at the moment.

At the end February it was becoming clear that Pride marches were unlikely to take place this year, and so the decision was taken early to move to a digital Pride month.

The focus this year is “Proud From The Inside Out” and uses the LEAP strategy to highlight the message of inclusion. For McKenzie, this was particularly poignant this year as many in the LGBT community have been adversely impacted by coronavirus. With the enforced isolation, many people have been cut off from their communities and support networks, while Pride events, which often give people a lift, are cancelled.

To help tackle this, and to bring the firm together, rainbow laces have been sent out to staff so they can undertake their own solo Pride marches. The aim is to get to everyone out walking and running wearing their rainbow laces, and to then collate selfies to create a video to go out at the end of Pride month to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

To build the excitement and fun, the rainbow laces were sent out in an envelope with Addleshaw Goddard and Pride 2020 branding on it, as well as a card. Again the hope is that by receiving one of these in the post, people will get a lift and will feel less detached from the firm and the Pride celebrations.

Other plans include webinars featuring external guests, as well as focus profiles on colleagues. All of these are designed to educate and inform about LGBTQ+ issues in 2020 and to celebrate the work of colleagues in the community.

Promoting inclusivity

Part of the joy of a digital Pride is that there are no barriers to taking part, explains McKenzie.

“Everybody can take part, it’s a really inclusive way of celebrating. The power of the internet means we can all be brought together without any prejudice,” he adds. 

This inclusiveness is really important to McKenzie. “Some may not feel confident enough to attend a Pride event in the workplace and have the misconception that they may be ill-judged… digital events allow people to attend anonymously and feel part of a celebration.”

The OpenAG committee wanted to do something meaningful but also fun, and they hope they have achieved that with their Pride month 2020 celebrations.

The author is Dawn Lewis, content editor at REBA.


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