Skip to main content

Pride Month 2024: Why we need role models and authenticity for inclusive workplaces to thrive

Diversity and Inclusion By Lucy May, Head of Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Culture – 27 June 2024

Top left to right: Belinda Morgan, Maria Knowles

Bottom left to right: Lorelei Davies and Maciej Krezolek.

Collage of Belinda, Maria, Lorelei and Maciej


Lucy May in a black top standing in the london office with planting and desks behind her

Lucy May

View bio
Belinda Morgan in a dark suit jacket, yellow top with office background with windows

Belinda Morgan

View bio
Maciej stood in a blue shirt with arms folded in front of a wooden shelving structure

Maciej Krezolek

View bio

As Pride month draws to a close, we spent some time speaking with the Chairs and Executive Sponsor of Prism, our LGBT+ Cundall Community. Lorelei Davies, Sustainability Consultant, Maria Knowles, Commercial Assistant, Maciej Krezolek, Digital Automation and Analytics Lead and Belinda Morgan, Partner shares the importance of Pride, role models and authenticity in the workplace.

Why are groups like Prism so important?

Lorelei: Groups like Prism are important because they visibly represent the culture and values of the business. They empower employees to be their true selves free from fear of discrimination or prejudice.

Maria: Beyond offering individual support for, networks like Prism improve visibility, build cultural intelligence and raise awareness of bias. They build a sense of community, which is essential for us as social beings, and everyone needs that sense of belonging.

Belinda: Being involved with the Communities allows us to understand the barriers these groups face and provide the necessary support. This builds self-awareness of ourselves and others which is vital in such a diverse business like ours. We know that diversity creates innovation and success.

What do you hope that Prism will achieve for colleagues at Cundall?

Maciej: Prism's aim is to ensure that LGBT+ staff can be open about their gender and sexual orientation if they choose, and to create a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion.

Maria: I hope Prism will highlight how inclusive Cundall is allowing colleagues to bring their authentic selves to work. It aims to offer a safe space where individuals can openly express their gender and sexuality without fear of repercussions. As co-chairs, sharing our vulnerabilities and experiences, we can encourage others to feel more comfortable and supported at Cundall.

Lorelei: I believe that Prism can educate, inform and enlighten colleagues on topics which they might not encounter in their daily lives. Increased conversation will enhance the understanding of each other helping us feel relaxed and accepted to perform our best at work.

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Pride’?

Belinda: To me Pride is exactly that. Pride in who you are, pride in what you represent and pride in how you contribute to a more diverse society. We have been very fortunate to hear from some exceptional speakers at Prism meetings, who have moved us deeply, sometimes to tears with their stories. Each of them taking us on their journey and sharing that life did not really start for them until they could be their true selves and take pride in it.

Lorelei: To me, Pride is accepting and being proud of who you are. Many people hide their identity until they can fully embrace it, and ‘coming out’ requires immense courage and a leap into the unknown. If anyone has had the opportunity to attend a Pride parade, you will notice it’s full of love and a safe space in society where everyone can be their true selves. This is a result of a collective understanding that coming out is not easy, but it is necessary to live a life that is authentic and free.

Maciej: When I hear the word "Pride," I think of a powerful celebration of LGBT+ identity, resilience, and history. It commemorates the struggles and victories of our movement, highlighting the importance of visibility, representation, and community solidarity. Pride fosters joy, liberation, and inclusivity, embracing all members of the LGBT+ community. It is a time for advocacy and reflection, pushing for continued progress in our fight for equality while celebrating love, acceptance, and the freedom to live authentically.

Maria: As soon as I hear the word ‘Pride’ three words immediately spring to mind – love, community, and acceptance. Everyone has the right to be accepted for who they are. As a society, we still have a long way to go, but attitudes are definitely changing.

Who are your role models and why?

Belinda: I don’t have a single role model, but I have so much admiration for the courage and pride this community has. We all face challenges in life, but as a straight white woman, I do not feel judged for who I am. I have close friends that are gay, and I have watched the torment they experience, uncertain if they will be accepted by their friends and family, and by society in general.

Maciej: My role models include Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk, Sylvia Rivera, Audre Lorde, and Laverne Cox. Marsha and Sylvia were pivotal in the Stonewall Riots and fought tirelessly for transgender and marginalized communities. Harvey Milk's work as one of the first openly gay elected officials laid the foundation for LGBT+ political engagement. Audre Lorde's writings advanced an intersectional approach to social justice, addressing race, gender, sexuality, and class. Laverne Cox uses her platform to raise awareness about transgender issues and promote acceptance, shifting public perceptions and inspiring many. These individuals embody courage, resilience, and a relentless commitment to justice.

Maria: My role models are not celebrities or well-known public figures. They are the people who have faced adversity, hardship, or have been shunned by their families for being gay. Their courage, strength, and determination inspire me.

What do you love most about Pride Month?

Lorelei: I love Pride Month because it highlights the progress made for the LGBT+ community while also emphasising how much more needs to be done globally. It's a time to celebrate and acknowledge LGBT+ people, ensuring that the progress achieved is maintained through visibility and continued momentum for LGBT+ rights.

Belinda: It’s a colourful celebration of one of the many communities that make up our wonderfully diverse society.

Maciej: What I love most about Pride Month is the vibrant celebration of diversity and inclusivity. It's a time when the LGBT+ community comes together to honour our identities, history, and achievements. The parades, festivals, and events create an atmosphere of joy and liberation, where everyone can express themselves authentically without fear or judgment. Pride Month also highlights the importance of visibility, offering a platform for advocacy and raising awareness about ongoing struggles for equality. It's a powerful reminder of the progress we've made and the unity and strength within our community as we continue to push for a more inclusive and accepting world.

It was wonderful to hear from our colleagues, and we hope their stories have inspired you as much as they inspired us. Prism is one of our four Communities and a true testament of our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace and built environment.