Brian Ashmead-Siers is out and proud and has been with his husband for 18 years. He’s a Partner at PwC, and Lead Partner Sponsor for Shine (their LGBT+ network), and is extremely positive when he talks about his role there and his activism.
“I have the honour and privilege of being the partner sponsor of the LGBT+ network, and get involved in pushing it forward both internally and externally, for examples with charities.”
While most of Brian’s time at work is focused on global tax affairs, he carves out some of his time to focus on leading Shine’s work.
The partnership are very supportive of him making time for this other role, and making sure PwC connects with their clients on LGBT+ issues.
In only three years at PwC he’s made his mark on the company: “I joined at the start of 2017 and immediately joined the LGBT+ network - I wanted to be an open and out partner from the outset.
"My predecessor left and I was asked if I wouldn’t mind having my picture used on our internal website as partner contact for our LGBT+ network - and then I realised it was actually a big deal."
Quickly after this, Brian was asked to be the Lead Partner for Shine, and is now in his second full year of the role.
“I get to work with the most brilliant people, whether it’s with my superiors on the Board who are really supportive, or graduates who are starting their journey with PwC, or middle managers, everyone is so open and willing to help.
"People at PwC genuinely want to support anything to do with the LGBT+ community and make our work as meaningful and as positive as possible.
"My network has increased 20 fold and I get to associate with Pride in London, the British LGBT Awards, Trans in the City (a new association that Brian helps to lead), etc.
"Spending some of my time on this is such a joy as I’m so passionate about it both professionally and personally. We need role models who want to stand up and be counted - and show everyone it is very normal to be different"
"I have no qualms about being openly gay and it’s great to be championing LGBT+ equality and any number of associated issues with a colossal and progressive company behind me.”
This is a particularly exciting year for him. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the PwC LGBT+ network is relaunching to become truly global, including setting up a global LGBT+ partner board.
PwC is also considering the wider legacy of this year with more globally LGBT+ friendly policies and framework agreements supporting LGBT+ rights within the global business.
They also have launched an Inspirational 50 campaign, where everyone in the network was invited to nominate somebody that has inspired them to be themselves.
"We really want to drive things forward. These landmark years for LGBT people are few and far between. So this is really something to celebrate how far we’ve come."
A big initiative Brian is also part of is “Trans in the City”; a newly formed organisation with other big corporations in the UK. It was developed last year with other senior people and LGBT+ network leaders at the forefront of trans rights.
This November PwC will be involved in a critical seminar for Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Brian hosted something similar last year and will put his clout behind the event hosting again this year.
Another thing Brian is aware of in the UK, is not having a London slant to everything. Brian lives near Birmingham, and is keen to make sure the focus can be steered elsewhere too.
“I’m passionate that it’s not all about London, and we need to focus our LGBT+ efforts across the UK regions too. That’s absolutely something that is important at PwC.”
PwC UK Is a corporate member of myGwork, the LGBT+ Business community.