Daisy Reeves is a partner at international law firm BCLP

Who are you and what is your professional background?

I am a partner at international law firm BCLP. Most of my career in Law has been spent advising on large scale financings as a Finance Partner, culminating in being appointed as the Global Co-Leader of our Banking sector across our 31 international offices.

However, since May 2021 I have had a new and unique role as the Global DEI (Diversity, Equality & Inclusion) Client Relationship Partner. This is a first-of-its-kind role in the legal industry – we are the only firm that has a Partner, 100% dedicated, pro bono, to working with clients to develop and collaborate around diversity efforts. I love my role and am lucky to work at a firm which has allowed me to have two very different careers and has literally “put its money where its mouth is” in supporting me with this market-leading appointment as Global Client DEI Client Relationship Partner whereby I no longer fee-earn as lawyer but, instead, work with clients and communities to shift the dial of DEI forward.

How important do you think diversity and inclusion is, both in the corporate workspace and in the wider world?

Very! Organisations are populated by individuals who comprise different constituent parts, made up of a myriad of experiences – heritage, gender, race and ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, physical and mental health, and economic status: the list is endless. In my opinion, the pandemic has humanised us, increasing our awareness of what makes us “us” and this, in turn, has put more of a focus on what we want and need, including in the workplace. As a result, organisations need to listen, support and include their people like never before – as recent reports have shown, if they don’t, team members are voting with their feet and finding other workplaces where they are supported. In recent years attrition hasn’t been based purely on the pay cheque but increasingly also on the value systems (or lack thereof) of the employer – the so-called “Great Resignation” (a term coined by McKinsey). In addition, organisations work in communities that are similarly diverse as are clients, so they need to work to be reflective of those client and communities.

So, in answer to your question, DEI is important for many reasons – as well as it being the right thing to do, it makes business sense to be inclusive.

Pride – party or politics?

Both – each has a necessary place – we absolutely need to celebrate how far we have come since the LGBTQ* civil rights movement started in earnest in June 1969 at the Stonewall Uprising in NYC which kicked off a series of events which has meant that, in relatively recent history, the black letter laws have been overhauled, particularly in transatlantic regions where homosexuality has been decriminalised and marriage equality is on the statute books. That’s the celebration piece. However, changing the law doesn’t necessarily change hearts and minds – one only needs to look at the treatment of our trans siblings who are seemingly constantly under attack and, even in 2024, there are still over 60 countries where being LGBTQ* is illegal and 12 countries where it is punishable by death – just based on who people love or identify themselves. I have said this a few times, but there was a time, maybe five years ago when I thought, maybe, one day I would be able to take off my metaphorical rainbow-laced boxing gloves. However, they are firmly on and fastened up tighter than ever.

So, for me, Pride is absolutely a time to celebrate but it is also a time to commemorate, reflect and re-energise to ensure rights for LGBTQ* populations, globally, are improved, not removed.