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10 LGBTQ trailblazers from the business, financial and legal sectors

Meet the movers and shakers who form the Business, Financial & Legal category in the inaugural Attitude 101 list.

By Markus Bidaux

The inaugural Attitude 101 list is here, and we’re shining a rainbow-coloured spotlight on 100 LGBTQ trailblazers – and one Person of the Year – whose contributions to their fields are changing the world as we know it.

After a difficult year, it’s time to look firmly to the future as we celebrate queer accomplishments from across a range of sectors.

Attitude 101 consists of 10 categories, each containing 10 individuals, and importantly forgoes any kind of ranking; instead highlighting the collective power of our community’s individual achievements.

Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey appears on the cover of the Attitude 101 February issue, out now

The categories are as follows: Science, technology, engineering & mathematics; Fashion and design; Sport; Third Sector & Community; The Future (25 and Under), supported by Clifford Chance; Media and Broadcast; Financial & Legal; Arts & Entertainment. Plus a very special Person of the Year, whose achievements in 2020 have set a new precedent for what’s possible for LGBTQ people.

The Business, Financial & Legal category praises those in places of power and influences who are empowering their LGBTQ family.

Being out and proud in the workplace can be challenging, but these entrepreneurs and legal eagles are leading the way for more open and accepting work environments. Check them out below:

Gigi Chao – Vice Chairman at Cheuk Nang Holdings

When her father offered a fortune for a potential husband to turn her straight, Gigi Chao made a stand for her sexuality and made headlines around the world.

She’s since become a spokesperson for LGBTQ equality, especially in her native Hong Kong where she leads a marriage equality campaign, and made a truce with her father that’s seen her become executive vice-chairman of his hugely successful property company.

She is also a leading member of the campaign for marriage equality in Hong Kong and an advocate for change in society.

Jerry Daykin – Senior media director, EMEA for GSK

Stories sell products and it falls to people like Jerry Daykin, from GSK Consumer Healthcare’s marketing team, to tell an inclusive narrative.

GSK, one of Stonewall’s Top 10 Inclusive Employers, pushes for more progressive advertising portrayals including LGBTQ-focused campaigns for Sensodyne and Voltaren. Jerry is also a director at Outvertising, which supports LGBTQ+ marketers, while also challenging advertisers to embrace queer portrayals.

In addition, for the past two years, he has represented the marketing world at the UN Human Rights Council, discussing how advertisers can avoid funding hate speech.

Fabrice Houdart – Managing director, Global Equality Initiatives at Out Leadership

Fabrice Houdart is a human rights and corporate responsibility specialist with 19 years of experience at the World Bank and the United Nations.

He has helped conduct the largest LGBTQ+ corporate social responsibility incentive in the world and campaigned for gender and sexual equality across the globe.

In 2020, as head of Global Equality Initiatives at Out Leadership, he leveraged the power of more than 80 of the world’s largest companies in pushing for social change on LGBTQ+ issues through “quiet diplomacy”, legal action and philanthropy.

Pierre and Adrien Gaubert – Founders of myGwork

After twins Adrien and Pierre Gaubert experienced homophobia in their separate workplaces, they decided to create myGwork, the rainbow LinkedIn which connects the LGBTQ+ community with inclusive and supportive companies seeking to create a diverse workforce.

Adrien told Attitude, “We’d like people to be able to bring their whole self to work and so feel happier and perform better.”

In 2020, they launched a digital WorkPride conference.

Pierre says, “With most Pride events being postponed or cancelled around the world, we want to make sure the LGBTQ+ business community is visible and celebrated.”

Justice Martin Jenkins – California Supreme Court

A former NFL player has become the first gay person of colour to be appointed onto the California Supreme Court. Justice Martin Jenkins fell out of love with football a short time after going professional and left the sport to pursue law.

After obtaining his law degree, he has had a storied career including time at the US Department of Justice, where he prosecuted white supremacists.

After his confirmation, Justice Jenkins introduced his family and partner and spoke of the struggles he had before coming out as gay, remarking, “I understand what people who are [in] loving, caring relationships really have. I’ve experienced it.”

Robert Herd – Head of communications & PR, Land Rover

A senior automotive marketer, Robert Herd spent several years overseeing the transformation of the Jaguar brand as its evolved product line moved from the traditional (XJ) to the cool (F-Type sports car) and then the forward-thinking (all-electric I-Pace).

His repositioning work broadened the marque’s appeal, culminating in an association with Attitude and our annual awards.

More recently, he has moved to a communications role with Land Rover, just as two of the biggest launches for generations happen, the rugged, all-new Defender and a brand-new Range Rover flagship. Expect to notice both.

Daniel Winterfeldt QC – Partner, US Securities, Global Capital Markets, Reed Smith, & founder and chair of Interlaw Diversity Forum

When you feel like you are the only out person in your industry, it can feel confining — that is how Daniel Winterfeldt felt working in London’s legal sector.

In 2008, he founded the InterLaw Diversity Forum to connect LGBTQ+ personnel of the legal sector.

It worked: in 2007, there were no law firms represented in Stonewall’s Work Equality Index of Top 100 Employers; now there are more than a dozen.

In recent years, the scope of the organisation has expanded to include the BAME community, disability and gender equality, and social mobility.

Mohsin Zaidi – Criminal barrister at 6KBW College Hill

Mohsin Zaidi is a criminal barrister who published a memoir of his trials growing up gay in the Asian community.

His book, A Dutiful Boy, is full of intensely personal memories, including one from his teenage years, when he sought out an exorcism to expel the gay from within.

He told Attitude, “Publishing these stories takes the fear to a different place, because something that was private and difficult, then becomes public, but remains difficult.” Only by sharing these personal stories can we come together as a community to fight for our LGBTQ+ rights.

Markus Carlson – National communications manager, Jaguar

Officially, he’s a multi-lingual, multi-national marketing and communications manager with extensive experience.

Unofficially, he’s the man who suggested that Attitude and Jaguar run a campaign linked to the launch of the Jaguar I-Pace model: “Maybe something with drag would capture the zeitgeist?” he said.

The project became Jag Race, a three-heat, drag-strip run-off between Courtney Act, Peppermint, The Vivienne and Tess Tickle that was seen by in excess of two million people — more than watched each episode of BBC’s actual Drag Race UK.

And it raised £20k for LGBTQ causes. A curious entry for the CV…

Krishna Omkar – Senior associate at King & Spalding

Krishna practises as a corporate lawyer at King & Spalding in London.

One of his greatest achievements outside this was working on the initiative to decriminalise same-sex relations in India, which was successful in September 2018.

Thereafter, he was invited by the UN Assistant Secretary General to co-lead a consultation on the collaboration of the private sector and civil society in the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights, and spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019 and 2020.

Last year, he also joined the board of Athlete Ally, to help bring LGBTQ+ equality to the world of sport.

See the full list of 101 LGBTQ trailblazers in the Attitude 101 February issue, out now to download and to order globally.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £3, or digitally for just over £1 per issue.