Jeff Robinson, Global Legal Operations and Conflicts Manager and one of the early founders and current co-leader of L.E.K. Consulting’s employee resource group Pride@LEK, tells us what Pride means to him and how understanding intersectionality is key to being an ally.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride to me is community. It means being part of a community engaged in discussion of and movement toward equality, equity, social justice and human rights.
How has your identity played a role at L.E.K., and what role has Pride@LEK played in bringing your authentic self at work?
In terms of my identity, L.E.K. fosters an outstanding environment where I feel supported as an out gay man at work. L.E.K. is a space that has always felt inclusive, welcoming and inquisitive — a place for me to thrive as my authentic self. I am one of the founding members of Pride@LEK and currently the co-leader of the group, which is why Pride is important to me. It helps me anchor myself in my own identity. We formalized the ERG about 6 years ago, and it has been great watching the community grow. When we formalized the group, it was an exciting and important time to have pivotal discussions, programming, and initiatives around gender equality, sexual orientation, and gender expression in corporate America, as well as to amplify the conversation, within the firm, around power, privilege and intersectionality.
For people who do not identify as LGBTQA+, what does it take for them to become better allies, especially as it pertains to the workplace?
The first part is identifying yourself as an ally — someone who supports those who identify as LGBTQA+. The second part is speaking up when you see acts of inequality and homophobia. The third component concerns learning and understanding how intersectionality, power, privilege and unconscious bias work. When I think of allies, I think of someone who understands that being gay doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You also need to understand feminism, gender, race and the dynamics of power. The best allies understand how it’s all connected to a broader system of social and racial justice.
What are you excited to do for Pride Month? Any particular events or celebrations?
Within L.E.K., I’m looking forward to working with the broader Pride@LEK team to drive our strategic goals, as well as our Pride Month programming across all U.S. offices. We want to focus on the heart of Pride and investigate how we can better serve each other and the firm by collaborating with recruiting and talent, other ERGs, the ED&I Committee, and learning & development to support L.E.K.ers who identify as LGBTQA+.
A specific event that I’m really excited about in the broader community is the annual Pride flag-raising ceremony in Boston. The ceremony is such a touching moment for me because it’s a civic and public display affirming the cause and fight of the movement. It’s a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come, yet also a time to reflect on the larger systems of oppression and inequality that still exist in the world.
Favorite Pride song/anthem?
Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”!