Lucia Bellanti’s involvement in Vodafone’s Stonewall Ally Programme has changed her perception of inclusion within the workplace

Vodafone highlights authentic inclusive allies for LGBT+

Vodafone highlights authentic inclusive allies for LGBT+

Lucia Bellanti works for Vodafone's Group Enterprise Commercial and Operations department as an External Communications and Engagement Specialist. Having started at Vodafone as a graduate two years ago, she has taken on a variety of roles but it is her most recent role that gives her the most career fulfillment to date.

She said, “My role allowed me to experience new opportunities and expand my thinking." An event that has made a considerable impact on Lucia is the Stonewall Ally Programme.

She says it was the most eye-opening day she has had since joining Vodafone. “The whole day aimed to explore what it means to be an authentic and inclusive ally to LGBT+ people in the workplace. I come from what I thought was quite an open background but it turns out, living in a small village in Italy isn’t that open-minded as I though, and I had loads of biases that I didn't even realise. I didn't know half the terms Stonewall explained to us on the day or that LGBT+ people had to face so many issues when entering the workplace.”

Ally programme made Lucia acknowledge her biases and make a pledge

At the end of the day Lucia and the other participants each made a pledge as active allies. Lucia’s was, “As an LGBT Ally, I am supportive and the one thing I commit to is making my graduate community aware of this session and the change each one of us can make for LGBT.” Her commitment to the issue was heightened when she read the results of a Vodafone international Out Now survey which questioned 3,000 LGBT+ young people across 15 countries and multiple industries. The survey found that 31% of LGBT people admitted they went back into the closet when they started their first job. This figure rises to 41% among 18-25 year olds.”

Lucia and her colleagues were shocked by the data. Vodafone subsequently set up a full day of training with Stonewall with its 400-UK based Graduates, Columbus graduates and Apprentices across the business. The session was called LGBT: Discover Inclusive Leadership.

Vodafone’s future leaders can change the workplace for the better

Lucia believes that Vodafone’s youth community is in the ideal position to make a difference to the workplace. She said, “As Vodafone’s future leaders, we want to leverage this diversity to build an inclusive culture, where everyone is respected, can be themselves and strive to be their best. That way we can create a better future for our employees, our partners, the communities we work in and our customers. I can definitely say that organising these days, has been one of my proudest moments at Vodafone and I’m so glad I was given the chance to make it happen.”

Changing perceptions of inclusion and diversity

By becoming an LGBT+ Ally and her involvement with Stonewall, Lucia’s perception of inclusion has changed. She commented, “It has changed the way I consider minorities, not just LGBT+ in the workplace and outside it has definitely changed thanks to this training. Because of this, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people that have shared their experiences with me and helped me throughout this personal journey.” She also wants to encourage others to look at themselves and challenge their own perceptions. “My advice to everyone is if you’re already an inclusive and accepting person, challenge yourself and learn more, you can always be more inclusive!”

Vodafone’s LGBT+ Friends network

To support its LGBT+ employees, Vodafone set up the LGBT+ Friends Network which aims to connect and support its people on lesbian, gay, bi and trans matters, whatever their background and wherever they are. The network is open to everyone, whether they identify as LGBT+ themselves or not and it supports all employees who many need advice or guidance. Vodafone’s commitment to its LGBT+ employees was recognised recently when it was hailed the Best Employee Network in the UK by Stonewall.

The Network has actively worked with Vodafone’s customer teams to ensure the way it works with customers is truly inclusive. Vodafone has also participated in Pride events up and down the country. More than 100+ Retail stores took part in local pride celebrations and Vodafone was also active at Stoke, Brighton, London, Manchester, Sparkle Glasgow and Lincoln Pride this year.

Join Vodafone and take the next step of your career journey

If you want to work for a company that takes inclusion and diversity in the workplace seriously, take a look a the current job opportunities Vodafone has to offer.

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