Emerald Founders Top Financial Times LGBT+ Executives

EmeraldLife founders Steve Wardlaw and Heidi McCormack have been honoured in the fifth OUTstanding LGBT Executives List published by the Financial Times.

OUTstanding was founded to prove that LGBT+ executives could be visible, safe and successful in business. Last year Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ranked among top business professionals who either identify as LGBT+ or as “allies”- straight sympathisers who have made significant contributions to gaining LGBT+ equality in the workplace.

Steve Wardlaw – LGBT+ Executive

Steve Wardlaw made the 100 LGBT+ Executives 2018  for his game-changing work in co-founding EmeraldLife.

Emerald has changed the insurance sector – rewritten policies, produced marketing campaigns and improved customer journeys to make sure that everyone feels included,” his listing reads. 

They have spent a great deal of time on trans issues and insurance, and were the first to allow Mx as a title in the sector. Emerald was the first insurer to include surrogate children in the definition of ‘family’ for their travel policy. In July they became the first travel insurer where those living with HIV no longer have to declare that as a medical condition.’

‘Externally, Steve is a role model for Diversity Role Models and Stonewall, as well as being a Stonewall ambassador (which included giving sessions to Stonewall ambassadors on being a trans ally). With the charity GiveOut, he will shortly announce a new personal fund set up for grassroots LGBT+ and women’s initiatives in South Africa, and customers of Emerald Life will have the opportunity to donate part of their premium to the fund. He regularly blogs on HuffPost about LGBT issues globally, and has also been taken on by Thomson Reuters for the same purpose.”

Heidi McCormack – LGBT+ Ally

Co-founder and CEO Heidi McCormack made the highly-competitive list of 50 Ally Executives 2018.

“Bringing relevant and impactful insurance products to the LGBT+ community, delivering a respectful customer journey where people don’t have to ‘come out’ and raising awareness in financial services industry as a whole is what Heidi’s role is all about,” said OUTstanding.

“A significant initiative this past year has been Emerald Life’s corporate benefit partnership programs, where not only are products made available to employees but education and awareness training sessions are conducted. She is also proud of an historic, UK first: Emerald offers travel insurance where people with HIV do not have to declare their medical condition if they are undetectable and on stable meds.’

‘Heidi works extensively with Positive East as a personal contributor, speaker and organiser/fundraiser. She is also a participant and sponsor for DiveIn, and does a lot of public speaking and advocacy work. Emerald is also the main sponsor of Winter Arts Pride, and won the Ethical Financial Services Provider of the Year in November 2016.

The OUTstanding Lists judged LGBT+ and Ally Business leaders according to four criteria, each scored out of 10.

  • Activities undertaken to make the workplace a more welcoming place.
  • Activities a nominee is involved with outside of the workplace that help to achieve positive change for LGBT+ people.
  • Recent awards and promotions.
  • Seniority and influence in the business.

The list of executives represents a broad swathe of top global companies that shows real potential to change lives and attitudes at the very top of the corporate ladder.

Nevertheless, statistics from OUTstanding prove there is still very to do to make more LGBT+ employees feel accepted in the workplace.

According to the campaign, 56% of LGBT workers report being bullied repeatedly at their job (Career Builder Poll, 2017) while 46% of LGBTQ workers are closeted at work  (HRC, 2018).

Some 41% of 18-25 year old LGBT+ respondents report they “went back into the closet” when they moved from education into full-time work. (Out Now, 2018)