Interview with Martyn Atkinson, Group COO & Pride Network Executive Sponsor
To celebrate Pride month, Martyn Atkinson, Chief Operating Officer and Board member for Close Brothers Group, shares his feelings on inclusivity, acceptance, and what Pride means to him.
What do you do at Close Brothers and how long have you worked here?
I am the Group COO and have been here for just over three months.
Where did you work before Close Brothers?
I was the CIO at Metro Bank, before that Director of IT and Transformation at Nationwide Building Society.
Who are your role models and why?
I have two –my mum and my wife. My mum made so many personal sacrifices and did all she could to give my brother and I the best start in life, including working two jobs. And then my wife – she’s a brilliant mum and inspiration to my two young daughters.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride to me means the opportunity to recognise and celebrate diversity, to ensure everyone's voices are heard and that we celebrate equality.
There are lots of definitions about what an ally is. What does being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community mean to you?
To me it means supporting and acting in the pursuit of equality…..we are all born equal - it’s important to me to support that quest of inclusivity and acceptance.
What’s something that you think we can all do to ensure LGBTQ+ inclusion both in and out of work?
I think there’s a number of ways. Inside of work, there are going to be special Pride themed events and it’s a great way to engage and understand more about the Pride movement. Outside of work, it can be as simple as supporting a friend in their Pride events, or maybe attending local LGBTQ+ events…they really are great fun.
In 2019 it was 50 years since the Stonewall riots - an event which is widely considered to have kicked off the modern Pride movement. What do you hope the next 50 years will bring for the LGBTQ+ community?
I hope that in 50 years time, we are actually celebrating that inclusivity, acceptance and equality is the norm, rather than striving to make people understand it should be the norm.