'Fintech leaders need to be vocal advocates for diversity and inclusion' says PPRO CEO

'Fintech leaders need to be vocal advocates for diversity and inclusion' says PPRO CEO

Pride month is coming to a close, with the main celebrations continuing into this weekend in London. Pride is about much more than parades, parties, and rainbows. It is about the practical process of acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQIA+ identities, even in the fintech workplace.

In honour of Pride passing once again, we spoke Motie Bring, PPRO CEO, about his experiences being a gay man in fintech.
“I came out at seventeen years old, and coming out was hard for me - the process of self-acceptance, the fear of rejection by the people I loved. So, from there, I decided to never go back in the closet. I bring this openness and honesty into everything I do, and that includes my career,” Bring told us.

He acknowledged that his sexual identity has presented some challenges in his career, which have made him even more committed to driving an honest DE&I agenda, but stated: “Being gay is not who or what I am, but is a part of what has made me the person I am today, and I believe that wearing my true identity on my sleeve has helped me in many ways with confidence, being a CEO and leader. Confidence is key, and as a leader, I need to be self-assured about the decisions I make for the company and my team, which is important when growing and expanding an organisation in turbulent economic times.”

Looking to the progress which has been made for LGBTQIA+ people in fintech, Bring said: “It’s great to see some of the initiatives that the very big organisations are driving in the banking and fintech sectors. There are certainly a lot more members of the community in senior and visible roles which is very encouraging, but there are still too few LGBTQIA+ CEOs.”

When asked for some key figures in the LGBTQIA+ community, Bring mentioned: “I admire the work that Julia Hoggett has done over the years in financial services, triumphing both women and LGBTQIA+ members, in an impressive career that saw her take on the CEO role at the London Stock Exchange.”

Yet as Bring noted, “Fintech is a global industry, yet LGBTQIA+ members continue to face many challenges and discrimination in many countries around the world, both in and out of work.”

Despite a lot of the progress made for the LGBTQIA+ community in the workplace, Bring maintained that there are still struggles to be accepted: “Many have experienced some form of unfair treatment, including hiring discrimination, harassment, and some have even been fired due to their sexuality. Unsurprisingly, this can and has led to people feeling isolated and vulnerable in the workplace.”

He added: “In London, 75% percent of LGBTQ+ startup founders in the UK concealed their sexual orientation or gender identity from investors, and fifty percent of employees opt to go back to the closet when they start their career. We still have a long way to go. Visibility of LGBTQIA+ individuals in financial services remains a key issue and without open conversations, the challenges may never go away.”

Looking to how the space can be improved, Bring commented: “Whether a small, medium, or a large enterprise, you need to begin by becoming accountable to the people you have hired into your workforce.

“We all have biases; once you acknowledge that those biases can manifest themselves in different ways, little by little, you can change the culture from within the company. It is essential to have leadership that not only endorses these efforts, but actively champions them. Fintech leaders need to be vocal advocates for diversity and inclusion, both in words and actions, and this begins with setting an example and demonstrating a commitment to DEI principles from the top down.”

Bring concluded: “You don’t need big budgets to make DEI an integral part of your business culture, you need a team that is dedicated and creative. You need to help push and support the different initiatives that make up your DEI agenda by showing up and being a true ally of the community.”

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