Marketing Campaign Manager
Joe McGurk is the marketing campaign manager at Barclays UK and also the Midland chair of Spectrum, its LGBTQ+ group
As well as being Marketing campaign Manager at Barclays UK, you are also the Midlands Chair of Spectrum. What is Spectrum and what does it do?
Spectrum Allies is our internal colleague network of LGBTQ+ people and their allies– as a group we commit to making Barclays a better and more inclusive place to work for the community and really help to guide the business in making the right inclusive decisions.
In terms of what we do: as a colleague engagement group, we recognise and celebrate various important calendar events across the year (such as Pride Month, World Aids Day and Transgender Day of Remembrance to name a few!) and we help to educate our colleague community on these important events, encouraging organic networking and growth opportunities to nurture our LGBTQ+ Barclays colleagues’ growth and development in safe spaces.
Externally, Spectrum help to drive really important initiatives: through fundraising and colleague volunteering, Barclays supports the Terrence Higgins Trust’s Work Positive Programme, which helps those living with HIV to get back into work. We also develop amazing external campaigns such as 2021’s “Stand With Pride” which you can find online!
Barclays are also a founding partner of LGBT+ Foundations with Pride in Ageing in the North-West, which helps people over 50 get access to housing, health services, mental wellbeing counselling, and group support to help them cope with isolation.
How important do you think it is for an LGBTQ+ person to be out at work?
I think that we have to be sensitive to the context of each individual’s personal identity to understand the importance of being out at work. For me, being out is being authentic, unapologetic and unashamed of my personal life. It allows me to bring my whole being to the table, to bring my full perspective to business decisions, and this translates differently for colleagues of all backgrounds.
I also understand that culturally it might be more difficult for others to live in their true identities at work and so we need to respect that, and show support where we can.
What steps can an employer take to create a genuinely inclusive and diverse work force?
From a grassroots perspective we have to look at the environment and culture of the work force, which needs to be promoted all the way from the very top – nurturing an open and welcoming environment for people of all intersections, whether or not that is race, culture, sexuality or any other protected characteristic.
More formally, an inclusive recruitment process where a conscious effort is made by hiring managers to consider applicants from diverse backgrounds is key to forming a well-rounded and truly effective work force. We have to unpack subconscious biases that are engrained in us culturally. We all have to take accountability for those biases.
In the past few years we have seen great advances in LGBTQ+ rights. What remains to be done?
I think it’s really important that we lift up the voices of the most vulnerable members of our community – the transgender community in particular have seen great hostility in the UK and we have to find proactive ways to support them and use our voices daily to point out when something isn’t right. We also have to look at the unique intersections within our community, for example those who are Black, Asian or ethnically diverse will have a particularly unique LGBTQ+ experience different to those who identify as white and cisgender. We have to make an effort to recognise privilege where relevant and create equity.
What has been your proudest achievement?
Without a doubt my proudest achievement since joining Barclays Spectrum was helping to drive the “Stand with Pride” campaign. This was an amazing inclusive virtual series of internal colleague Pride events, driven in tandem with a fantastic external colleague developed by our Sponsorship team. It included important educational panel talks, as well as a lot of fun with a virtual drag queen bingo session hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s Divina De Campo. It was amazing from start to finish; to be at the spearhead of such an amazing internal initiative was a highlight of my career so far – I hope I get to do it all over again next year.