I’ll be honest, it was an idea that got a little out of hand from something I was chatting to a friend about in his kitchen. Ironic, I thought, that for an industry that benefits so much from LGBT+ talent, there wasn’t a supportive network there to champion the very people that make it such a success. A couple of messages later to some friends who I thought might be interested in my latest project, and InterComms was born.
InterComms is the only professional network which supports and represents everyone who works in communications, whether they work in public affairs, marketing, content or in-house teams. It’s the only place where people from all areas of the communications spectrum can come together and tackle some of the often difficult questions that need to be asked.
And we’ve not shied away from that. I never wanted InterComms to become another talking shop, or an events programme that didn’t challenge and stimulate. It had to be about two things; a tangible outcome positively impacting LGBT+ people and hard-hitting truths which were the only way to move the often well-trodden discourse along.
Since launching at Havas Group last year, we’ve had over 700 people become members and attend our events. We’ve partnered with agencies large and small and in-house teams of non-communications firm and the topics have never really been vanilla. We’ve confronted gender-related issues with our International Women’s Day event, the lack of representation in our own network and others with our “Why the G in LGBT event” and our event marking our one year birthday tackles “The Pink Pound Problem.”
Our Committee work also goes from strength to strength, working collaboratively with other LGBT+ to introduce an industry charter by which a base level of support for LGBT+ people working in communications is assured.
The team of eight I lead has also entered an exciting new phase, and we’re ambitiously pursuing new routes of engagement with our members and our ultimate goal of becoming a resource and a hub for anyone who may need it in the industry.
And why? Well, that’s simple. We’ve arguably never enjoyed more rights as a community, but when half of trans people (51 per cent) have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination and two thirds of millennial LGBT+ graduates go back into the closet when they start their first job, there’s clearly much, much more that needs to be done.
It’s been a privilege to lead the work of InterComms, and I’m excited about what more we can do to champion the people who help make our industry so special.
Written by Ethan Spibey - founder and chair of InterComms LGBT+ Network
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