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WHO WE ARE

ALBEI (Australian LGBTQ+ Board & Executive Inclusion) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the boardrooms of Australia. Our mission is to foster discussions between company board members, nominating committees, executive search firms, industry governance bodies and individuals, to create an inclusive and diverse workplace that benefits everyone.

ALBEI has been established by:

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David Anthony - founder (he/him)

David is an experienced corporate lawyer and company director. Throughout his career, David has been a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community and for diversity, equity and inclusion more broadly. A partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, David was instrumentally involved in the establishment of Corrs’ Pride network and currently leads the Diversity & Inclusion portfolio at Corrs.

 

David is a non-executive director and was the inaugural Chair of Australia’s largest LGBTQ philanthropic giving charity, GiveOUT and a director of The Footpath Library. In 2020, David was named one of Australia’s Top 50 LGBTQ+ Role Models by Deloitte for his leadership in the LGBTQ space and advocacy for inclusion of people with lived experience of disability.

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Mark Baxter - founder (he/him)

For the past 40 years Mark has had an extensive global career as a C-Suite executive and Director of major financial services organisations in Sydney, Hong Kong, London and Cape Town.  Mark has generally been “the only gay in the village” which has made him passionate about improving the participation of the talented yet often overlooked  LGBTQ community members in senior corporate leadership.  He has sponsored pride networks with the aim of moving them beyond just cup-cakes to true career development networks. While popular with LGBTQ+ staff this is often met with resistance from his C-suite peers.

 

Being orphaned in his teenage years and from a working-class background - Mark developed a strong community focus and has been a Director of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association, the Performance Space and the National Association for Visual Arts (NAVA) to name a few.  In 2018, Mark was named one of Australia’s Top 50 LGBTQ+ Role Models by Deloitte and Google.

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David Brine - founder (he/him):

David is passionate about supporting the LGBTQIA+ community with inclusion across corporate Australia.  Since being one of the instigators behind the Commonwealth Bank’s pride network ‘Unity’ he has worked to foster collaboration across his industry of financial services and banking, convening the Pride in Finance network. 

David is a non-executive director and current board Chair for Out For Australia and is also a member of the executive advisory for Pride in Diversity.  In 2018, David was also named one of Australia’s Top 50 LGBTQ+ Role Models by Deloitte and Google for his leadership within his industry during the Marriage Equality campaign.

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Lesley Traverso - founder (she/her)

Lesley has worked as an Executive Recruiter in the global Actuarial market for the past 30 years.  During that time, she has advised many of her clients on recruitment and succession planning methodology to ensure that positive diversity principles remain at the forefront.

 

She has worked closely with the Institute of Actuaries as a previous Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion working group, has spoken globally to the profession in the “Diversity of Thought World Series” and has written many articles and presentations.  She has complemented this with academic study, resulting in a recent Master’s thesis on “Identity in Actuarial Careers” which explored how the development of a professional career identity is interwoven with the development of a personal identity.

We are always looking at working with people passionate about supporting future generations of LGBTQ+ leaders.  If you'd like to get involved, contact us.

OUR THEORY FOR CHANGE

Why is this focus needed?

Board diversity is an internationally recognised concern. However, board diversity has divergent meanings and measures globally, and across local national and sectoral settings. While the dominant form of board diversity is gender diversity, other claims for board diversity such as ethnicity, socio-economic, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, neurodiversity and culture are emerging as legitimate concerns.  A broader talent pool is possible.

  • Australian research in 2021 has found that by inviting just six particular company directors to lunch you would cover 48% of companies on the ASX 200 and 75% of its market capitalisation.  This implies a very small talent pool. By considering an extended talent pool the risk of “groupthink” can be minimised.

  • Directors with similar characteristics and backgrounds make boards potentially vulnerable to missing emerging trends such as ethics, sustainability, workplace sexual harassment, discrimination or the rapid changes brought about by new technology to name a few.

  • By having board directors and C-suite executives openly identify as LGBTQ+, employees are given role models to aspire to and have confidence that their employer takes inclusivity seriously.

  • Global developments include new NASDAQ listing requirements around board diversity.  Further, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK is extending the diversity requirements in its listing rules. In addition the FCA considers diversity when supervising firms. The Deputy Chair of APRA in Australia has recently been making public comments about diversity initiatives.

  • Global research has shown that diversity creates better overall results for companies – many investment managers and investors are evolving their investment criteria around diversity both at the board and C-suite level. 

  • Companies that do not keep pace may not keep up with investment criteria of superannuation funds and investment managers.  This will include LGBTQ+ diversity.

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OUR AIM

Why is LGBTQ+ inclusion on Australian corporate boards important?

We believe that it is important that all under-represented groups be considered for board and C-suite positions as diversity of thought and lived experience will stimulate debate and create better outcomes.    Companies with diverse leadership perform better, with Goldman Sachs citing in 2020 a positive impact on share price performance as a result of broader diversity of background, thought and perspective.

 

There is excellent work being done in respect of gender and now ethnic and first nations representation in Australia.  However, there has been limited or no discussion on the representation of the Australian LGBTQ+ community on corporate boards.  This does not mean that additional targets or quotas need to be introduced but that nominations committees and chairs need to have regard to broader aspects of diversity, beyond simply gender, when considering board appointments and take into account all under-represented groups.

"Organisations reportedly place a strong emphasis on board diversity due to its multifaceted advantages. Extensive research consistently demonstrates a positive correlation between board diversity and organisational performance. Diverse boards offer a broader range of perspectives, knowledge, and expertise, leading to a more comprehensive analysis of complex issues and fostering innovative problem-solving approaches."

(source - Erbil, C. & Özbilgin, M. F. (2023): 'Board diversity as institutional
competence: recognition and misrecognition of diversity claims'

We believe that diversity is key to the success of any organisation, and we are dedicated to helping companies achieve this goal. 

At ALBEI we would like to see existing LGBTQ+ leaders supporting aspiring LGBTQ+ executives and directors.  Visibility counts.

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WHERE TO BEGIN

What are our priorities?

Much work has already been started around the globe - in the USA by organisations such as the LGBTQ Directors Association and Out Leadership, in Canada the LGBTQ Corporate Directors Canada and others. 

 

ALBEI is already partnering with counterpart organisations around the globe.

 

We have created a locally resourced initiative in Australia that builds on this international momentum.

  • We will conduct research into Australian organisations to build data on current levels of diversity in boardrooms.

  • We believe that there needs to be the development of a pipeline of LGBTQ+ executives who are board-ready and we are keen to engage existing LGBTQ+ directors and executives in this initiative, as well as the AICD, executive search firms and board nominations committees.

  • We also believe that there is a not insignificant number of existing LGBTQ+ executives who are currently board-ready in Australia but need mentoring and guidance from the current cohort of LGBTQ+ executives and directors as they may not be currently exposed to the “right” networks.

  • We need to engage with the investor market as an additional way of advocating for broader representation on boards.

Take a look at some of ALBEI's projects.

Does the above resonate with you?  If so, contact us today to get involved.

 

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