What an evening ❤️🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ From the food and drinks to the beautiful event space,Nando's UK & IRE(our gracious hosts) pulled out all the stops to make Last night’s Pride in Tech panel discussion a runaway success. We would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who braved the weather to help us delve into the power of intersectional advocacy. 🌧️☔️
For the trans community, today’s world is an increasingly hostile, often deadly place – by showing up as allies for one another, sharing our real human experiences, and demonstrating our willingness to listen, we can help create a kinder, safer, and more equitable future.
Our favourite insights from the night include:
⭐️ Trans inclusion is a litmus test for employer quality
⭐️ Senior leaders must step up as champions of corporate advocacy
⭐️ We need to learn by reading outside of our narrative
⭐️ Speak up for people when they aren’t in the room
⭐️ We’re all leaders in our own space; our actions must be consistent
⭐️ Look beyond social media and seek data as evidence
⭐️ We can bridge knowledge gaps by encouraging generational curiosity
Thank you to our incredible panellists for sharing your expert insights.
Our panel of speakers includes:
Ashleigh Phipps (she/her) - Host @ Pride in Tech
Asha Harkness (she/her) - Chair @ London Bisexual Network
Emma Cusdin (she/her) - Director @ Global Butterflies
Rachel Reese (she/her) - CEO @ Global Butterflies
Lu Purll (she/they) - Investor Service Executive (& Co-lead of Circle of Pride) @ Funding Circle
Thoko Zondo (she/her) - the Inclusion and Diversity Lead at Nando's
Asha Harkness (she/her) is a proud queer, brown, neurodivergent woman, equity strategist, public speaker, trainer and founder of Indigo Inclusion an anti-racist diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consultancy. She works with clients to build sustainable and inclusive workplaces and cultures, ensuring teams and businesses can thrive and grow. Her work is centered on education, engagement and empowerment through equity strategies, insights and in-depth community knowledge. Asha is also a committee member for the London Bisexual Network and volunteer for Outvertising.
Emma Cusdin has over 30 years’ experience in Human Resources having worked as an HR Director for global financial services organisations. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. Emma is an openly trans woman, having transitioned in 2009, and she is enthusiastic about raising awareness of trans & non-binary issues.
Emma has spoken at many trans & non-binary inclusion events organised by leading private sector companies. She has appeared in the Financial Times and has written several blogs including for the Huffington Post and HR Zone. Emma was a Trustee for the Gender Identity Research & Education Society (GIRES) and she chaired the National Trans Youth Conference for 2 years in succession. She also was a co-founder for Trans*formation, a networking group for Trans & Non-Binary professionals.
Emma was delighted to receive the Positive LGBT Role Model Award at the National Diversity Awards and she has appeared in the OUT at work top 50 UK LGBT Executives. In 2019, Emma was proud to receive the Prime Minister’s Office Points Of Light recognition for her tireless work in trans & non-binary inclusion. In September 2020, she became a Trustee for the Human Dignity Trust.
Emma is also a qualified Executive Coach, ICF qualified, and enjoys coaching senior leaders and leaders across many sectors. Emma is a Director at Global Butterflies, a company that has been extremely successful in bringing about trans & non-binary inclusion and acceptance within corporate organisations in many global jurisdictions.
Rachel originally trained as an Avionics Software Engineer working within the defence sector, later transferring to a senior position within HR.
An interest in employment law led her to study for the Solicitors’ Final Examinations. As a woman with trans history she was unable to obtain a position within a law firm in the 1990s, so instead joined the University of Law working for 15 years in various senior operational roles leading up to Production Director. Rachel is founder and CEO of Global Butterflies, a company that is hugely successful in helping businesses to create trans & non-binary inclusive environments. Global Butterflies donates much of its time and profits to other LGBTQI causes and events.
She was Vice Chair of The Law Society LGBT Lawyers Division Committee representing trans & non-binary solicitors and is a trans & non-binary ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors. Rachel has worked with many law firms regarding their trans & non-binary inclusion journeys. She is honoured to be a judge for the People in Law, InsideOut and OutVertising awards each year.
In 2019, she wrote the acclaimed “Lloyds of London Trans & Non-binary Inclusion Guide” and also contributed to the popular “Guide to Gender Neutral Drafting” with the Government Legal Department. Rachel joined the IGLTAF trans & nonbinary board in 2021. Advising on tourism support for trans & non-binary travelers.
D&I Leaders listed Rachel as one of their Inspirational D&I Leaders in 2021. In 2022, Rachel was listed as a Pride Inclusion Advocate by Pride Life Global. Also in 2022, Rachel was awarded the Chambers Crystal Award (with her wife Emma), for their visible work in trans & non-binary inclusion.
Lu Purll (she/they) is a proud queer woman. By day she works in Investor Service at Funding Circle helping clients service their accounts as well as as co-leads its Pride network - Circle of Pride. She has helped lead various employee LGBTQIA+ groups wherever she has worked at throughout her career.
Thoko Zondo (she/her), the Inclusion and Diversity Lead at Nando's, a dedicated advocate for a more inclusive workplace and world. With a number of years of experience and a deep commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, Thoko brings a thoughtful perspective to the table. Join her at our event, where she'll share invaluable insights on inclusion, spiced up with a touch of PERi-PERi inspiration. 🔥🌶️