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This Pride month we talk to Nicki Illman, our Pride Network Chair

Our Pride Network work actively together to create a more inclusive workplace.

At the start of Pride Month 2022 we talked to Nicki Illman, our Pride Network Chair. Nicki has worked at LV= since 2014 and is currently a Business Systems Analyst. Nicki has been working with our Pride Network since 2018 and took the position as chair earlier this year.

Why is Pride important to you?
I get asked a lot if Pride is still needed in the current climate and my answer is always “Yes!” Not only are we celebrating those that came before us, the people who lost their lives for us to be able to live openly and loudly, we are showing the younger generations that it’s OK to be who you are. Pride will always be important until there is universal equality.

We have the privilege of location, and many LGBTQIA+ people are suffering simply because of where they live; it is still illegal to be gay in more than 70 countries and in 11 of those homosexuality is punishable by death. 15 countries criminalise the gender identity and/or expression of transgender people, using so called ‘cross-dressing’, ‘impersonation’ and ‘disguise’ laws. Although the UK still has a long way to go to completely eradicate homophobia and transphobia, it’s good to know things are heading in the right direction.

Why is the Pride Network important to you?
Working for LV=, I feel genuinely able to be myself and it’s nice to know my company not only supports that but encourages it. One of the Pride Network Chair roles is to be approachable and open to questions. Lots of my colleagues who are parents have approached me over the years to talk about their kids’ gender and sexuality.

They may not necessarily need help or advice, sometimes they just need someone to talk to, or they may have questions. Most of the time they tell me how proud they are of their offspring and they want to know how best to support them. The Pride Network isn’t just about supporting our people or our members, although that is really important, it’s about supporting the people they love as well.

What would you like to see in the future for the network?
It would be great to do even more for the wider community. There are some great organisations helping LGBTQIA+ people and youths and I’d like to see us support them further.

Will you be attending any 2022 Pride events this year?
Yes! Covid-19 restrictions meant many Pride events have been cancelled in the last few years. We had a great turn-out at Bourne Free (the Bournemouth Pride parade), in 2019. We’re looking forward to donning our LV= Pride t-shirts and marching again at this year’s parade in July.

We are always looking for great people to join our business. Take a look at our current vacancies.