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Giving a voice to BP’s LGBT+ community: Joanne’s story

For Joanne, joining BP Pride was about turning negative energy into positive action

Joanne is a BP superstar. Why? Because she has spent close to three decades at BP and worked in over 12 countries for the Upstream, Downstream and Corporate Functions businesses

 

Today she is the head of cyber behaviour change at BP’s Information Technology and Services division where she oversees behavioural change related to cyber security for the company. As a gay woman and a steering committee member of the internal employee group BP Pride, she is also a key driver of the LGBT+ community at BP.

 

Why stay so long?

 

People are one of the main reasons why Joanne has been at BP for so long. “It sounds cliché, but I love the people that I work with”, she says.

 

A big part of this is inclusion: “I can honestly say that I have seen our respect and inclusion agenda being lived in every part and location of the business”. In many ways it is also about the diversity of opportunity. At BP, “if you are up for change and are willing to embrace it, you can go anywhere”.

 

Why join BP Pride?

 

For Joanne, joining BP Pride was about turning negative energy into positive action. After experiencing some negative assumptions at work related to her sexuality, Joanne realised that there were no female role models at BP that could give a voice to gay women.

 

This is something that she felt inspired to change - “my sexuality is no drama to me. If somebody wants to make a drama out of it, bring it on!”

I can honestly say that I have seen our respect and inclusion agenda being lived in every part and location of the business.

What does BP Pride do?

 

A key aspect of BP Pride is raising awareness. The group runs Safe Space training, coordinates activity around Transgender Awareness Week and leads BP’s Allies Programme – a programme which helps non-LGBT+ staff become active allies so they are equipped to support their LGBT+ colleagues.

 

Joanne is currently working in collaboration with OUTstanding, a business organisation that provides mentoring and executive level coaching to the LGBT+ community. She also focuses on organising LGBT+ only events, at which BP employees have a safe space to understand what it means to be an LGBT+ person at BP and in the business world.

 

This is work that she is truly passionate about – “we need BP Pride, both to raise awareness and to talk about our shared experiences, and to drive equality in the business world and beyond”.