Allyship is a crucial part of helping to ensure that all members of the LGBTQ+ community at McKinsey feel supported, included, and seen by colleagues within the LGBTQ+ community and outside of it. For our Day of Pink celebrations this year, our senior partner Udo shares his thoughts on the importance of allyship and the day’s significance for visibility of the LGBTQ+ community.
Why I think LGBTQ+ visibility is important in leadership positions
“Although I have been out for more than 16 years, I didn’t join Equal at McKinsey, McKinsey’s LGBTQ+ network, until last year. I felt it was time because I have benefited a lot from others’ visibility. I want to give back, especially to our younger colleagues who naturally look to partners for examples of leadership.
Day of Pink is important because we are all different, but as people, we all want the same things: to be recognized, appreciated, and respected. Everyone wants that, and Day of Pink helps us to remember to show that respect and compassion toward others.
Celebrating this day at McKinsey has a positive impact—reverberating from the firm to individuals and back again. Visibility and feeling included strengthen our unity and commitment to others while also helping us realize our own potential. It’s important to have role models, because we learn from them at every stage of our career. They make a huge difference for our growth and help us to choose who and how we want to be in the world. LGBTQ+ colleagues should be visible at all tenure levels because this shows our firm’s commitment to diversity internally and externally.
Meaningful ways to demonstrate LGBTQ+ inclusion allyship at work throughout the year
It is all about small basic actions. In some offices, it is natural to bring your same-sex partner to office events. That may seem insignificant to some of us, but in other workplaces, it is still a big deal to be open in that way. We should remember that such openness is not a given everywhere.
To change that, we need the support of our allies. Allyship can and should happen in daily behaviors. Allies are helping us realize, as a firm, that diversity is broad. We are getting collectively more comfortable with the different shades and hues of diversity. A very concrete action that an ally can take is to speak up about diversity, equity, and inclusion more frequently.
All of us—Equal at McKinsey members, allies, everyone—have long-standing, deeply instilled behaviors. We must work to de-bias ourselves and question our assumptions. The LGBTQ+ community cannot be everywhere. We rely on allies because they are in many more places than we can be, simply by virtue of sheer numbers. I thank our allies, because I have seen courageous acts by colleagues who had nothing to gain beyond doing the right thing. I have so much appreciation for their selfless actions. If every ally took small actions to show support and inclusion, it would make a big difference.