Tony Wood, Mercer Marsh Benefits’ UK & Ireland Regional Leader, has been named in the OUTstanding 100 LGBT+ Executives List for the third consecutive year. This year, Mr Wood is listed no 71 in the ranking compiled by INvolve in collaboration with Yahoo Finance UK. INvolve is a not-for-profit professional network for LGBT executives and their allies that helps member firms create inclusive workplaces. This accolade recognises executives who help make the workplaces more welcoming for LGBT+ individuals.

“I’m delighted to be recognised by INvolve in this year’s Outstanding list, among so many leading executives who play such key roles in driving workplace diversity and inclusion,” said Mr Wood. “I am passionate about supporting my fellow LGBTQ+ colleagues by creating more inclusive workplaces and through shaping our society to drive positive change and acceptance. At Mercer, we understand the need to create a space that enables people to be authentic and the importance of fostering an inclusive culture where everyone can succeed.”

As executive sponsor of Mercer’s LGBT+ Pride group in the UK for the past five years, Mr Wood has been instrumental in growing the network and building an inclusive workplace. During 2019 and 2020, he and the network helped Mercer implement trans healthcare benefits, gender neutral language and explicit LGBT+ examples in all HR policies, gender neutral toilets, dual photo ID cards, the use of pronouns in email signatures and a graduate recruitment LGBT+ support programme. Mr Wood is regularly invited to speak on LGBT+ topics at events and conferences. Recent talks include a joint event with the Human Dignity Trust as part of a global Pride event and a European Pride event on better allyship.

Suki Sandhu, Founder & CEO, Involve, said: “I’m thrilled to be celebrating another amazing group of LGBT+ and Ally Role Models from across the globe who are championing inclusion and inspiring the next generation of talent. LGBT+ discrimination is still prevalent across the world and Role Models are essential to change perceptions and show everyone that you can be successful in business while also being your authentic self at work.”


How the list was compiled:

All of the 2020 Role Models were nominated by peers and colleagues or put themselves forward for consideration. Every Role Model submitted an application outlining the work they have done for LGBT+ inclusion in business. Submissions were then reviewed by OUTstanding’s judging panel, consisting of: Lord Browne, Executive Chairman, L1 Energy; Ashok Vaswani, Global Consumer and Payments Head, Barclays; Harriet Green, Former Chairman & CEO IBM Asia Pacific; Dawn Airey, Independent Director, Grosvenor Estates GBI; Jim Fitterling, CEO of Dow Inc; Suki Sandhu OBE, Founder & CEO, INvolve & Audeliss; Lianna Brinded, Head of Yahoo Finance UK.

Each person was scored on their impact on LGBT+ inclusion inside and outside the workplace, their business achievements, and the seniority and influence of their role. Everyone featured in the lists has given their explicit permission to be included. For the 100 LGBT+ Executives and 50 Ally Executives, the nominee’s seniority and influence was taken into consideration. They must also be visibly out, or a vocal ally, actively working to create an environment where LGBT+ people can comfortably bring their best professional selves to work. It was important that people were working towards this goal above and beyond their day job, which made it hard for the judges to consider diversity and inclusion professionals, however deserving.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.