Business heavyweights recognised at RBS British LGBT Awards

RBS LGBT Awards Baroness Noakes

Lloyds Banking Group and supermarket Asda among big winners.

An array of key business chiefs and top British companies battled it out for a series of prestigious accolades at the RBS British LGBT Awards this weekend.

Lloyds Banking Group, which has a professional LGBT Network of over 3000, was named LGBT Network Group of the Year. The bank saw off stiff competition from the likes of Tesco and PwC. Mark McBride-Wright, co-founder of InterEngineering, a firm which connects, informs and empowers LGBT engineers and supporters, was crowned LGBT Corporate Rising Star.

Dubbed Britain’s ‘Gay Oscars’, the RBS sponsored awards ceremony, brought together top gay celebrities and corporate leaders at a glittering gathering at London’s Grand Connaught Rooms. Individuals and organisations who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting equality and diversity in the workplace were recognised.

Supermarket giant Asda was named Employer of the Year, beating corporate heavyweights including Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Citi.

The British LGBT Awards judging panel, which included Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Angela Eagle MP, paid tribute to the supermarkets’ support for LGBT employees.

Leading civil servant Jacqui Gavin, Chair of the Transgender Network within the Department for Work and Pensions, was named LGBT Diversity Champion.

Other winners also included Lt Gen James Everard, who picked up the Corporate Straight Ally of the Year award, beating Aongus Hegarty from Dell and KPMG’s Vincent Neate. Flight Lt Ayla Holdom, who works with the RAF’s Freedom Network on transgender issues, won the coveted LGBT Inspirational Role Model prize.

Welsh writer Sarah Waters, best known for her novels set in Victorian society and featuring lesbian protagonists, such as Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award.

Hollywood actor, Sir Ian McKellen, was also named Global Icon.

Meanwhile BBC broadcaster and Newsnight presenter, Evan Davis, was named LGBT Broadcaster of the Year triumphing over stars such as Paul O’Grady, Gok Wan, Nick Grimshaw and Clare Balding.

Speaking about RBS sponsorship of the awards, Marjorie Strachan said:“We’re proud to be the headline sponsor of the British LGBT Awards for the fourth year running in 2016.

“Fundamentally, they acknowledge and reward those who deserve recognition for their outstanding commitment to the LGBT community.

“However, these awards are not just about celebrating the nominees and winners; they’re about creating a cultural shift towards acknowledging the benefit of inclusion and RBS want to be a part of that. All of these winners are incredibly inspirational and deserving. It is wonderful to be part of it.”

Sarah Garrett, founder of the British LGBT Awards, added: “All of the nominees are winners really because they are doing great things to support the LGBT community and it is wonderful to shine a light on them for one special night every year.

“The British LGBT Awards champion the very best in LGBT talent and celebrate LGBT friendly businesses. The 2016 awards have been the best yet.”

TV funny man Alan Carr, Boy George, Sam Smith and Olympic boxing hero Nicola Adams also attended the ceremony to collect awards.

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