Edinburgh aerospace firm Leonardo's LGBTQ+ corporate champion praised

Paula Clarke, Leonardo's engineering and projects director and LGBTQ+ 'corporate champion'Paula Clarke, Leonardo's engineering and projects director and LGBTQ+ 'corporate champion'
Paula Clarke, Leonardo's engineering and projects director and LGBTQ+ 'corporate champion'
The company's engineering and projects director, Paula Clarke has been applauded for her work ensuring the LGBTQ+ community has a say in policy making during pride month.

Pride network members working at aerospace engineering company Leonardo’s, based in Crewe Toll, Edinburgh, have praised Ms Clarke for making them feel more represented in the company’s working culture.

Members said the quality of listening skills used by the director have been ‘exemplary’.

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Ms Clarke aims to use her position to make sure members of the community feel seen and heard, so their voices can inform future policies and help establish a more diverse and inclusive working environment.

Sam Bone, chair of Leonardo’s Pride networkSam Bone, chair of Leonardo’s Pride network
Sam Bone, chair of Leonardo’s Pride network

Chair of Leonardo’s Pride network, Sam Bone, who first initiated the use of pronouns in the company’s emails to indicate personal identity (he, she, they, ze), said Ms Clarke has already made an enormous impact.

Mr Bone said: “Paula focused on listening patiently to each individual, allowing them to express themselves fully without any interruptions.

“With her executive experience, she is also bold enough to challenge the norms and put forward our ideas at senior management level and sometimes senior management need role models as much as we do, because she is showing those right behaviours.

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“It doesn’t matter whether Paula is LGBTQ+ or not as an individual, it is the fact that she has stepped up and asks us questions like ‘do you need budget for this or do you want me to speak to this person about that’. I am just off the graduate programme, so having someone able to advocate for us at that level is a real game changer.”

Mr Bone said Ms Clarke's advocacy is lifting members of Leonardo’s LBGTQ+ community by giving the community a direct line of communication with senior management to influence change at a policy level.

But they don’t want the listening to be a one-way process, they are keen to engage non LGBTQ+ employees to hear their thoughts, since they are aware their input is needed as they will see things from a different perspective.

While proud of her work thus far Ms Clarke said the company should not get “too comfortable”.

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She said: “My job is to listen, then try and open some doors and be an enabler for ongoing improvement. The team has done a fantastic job of defining what we need to improve and how – my role is supporting them in achieving those aspirations.

“I don’t think we should get too comfortable, as comfort breeds complacency and some may think that because we have a Pride network that it isn’t part of their day job.

“They assume it is all taken care of, however it may still leave room for behaviours to start creeping in that could impact people if they go unchallenged.

“Everyone will say that the concept of discrimination in the workplace is abhorrent. It’s a common-sense, moral and ethical statement. Where we can do more is to be conscious of how we live and interact each day as human beings, beyond the rhetoric.”

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