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Award shortlisting recognises BU graduate as a future leader

In the three years since graduating from BU, Tyler Lee has become a champion for diversity and inclusion in his workplace and beyond, resulting in a shortlisting for a national award. 

Tyler, who studied International Business Studies at BU and who now works as a Category and Channel Development Manager at Unilever, was announced in the top 10 of the Future Leader category of the British LGBT Awards earlier this month. The achievement recognises the impact that Tyler has made as co-chair of Unilever’s proUd network in the UK and Ireland, including helping the company to be more inclusive in its marketing and providing activities and support for colleagues.  

The fact that Tyler is now a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ community stems from having overcome his own challenges to get where he is today. He said: “Before coming out I was concerned that it might have a negative impact on my career. There is a perception that being gay will affect how colleagues view you and could even undermine your authority in the workplace. I am pleased to say that it has had the opposite effect and I have had so many more opportunities as a result of getting actively involved in campaigning and supporting others. I want to use my experiences to encourage other people and to show how important it is to be your authentic self, to be happy and fulfilled at work.” 

Tyler reflects that the process of unlocking this new sense of purpose has been helped by the company culture at Unilever. He said: “Unilever has always had a strong focus on inclusivity, which is part of what attracted me to the organisation in the first place. During my induction I took part in a full day workshop focused on discovering your purpose. This helped me to find what I was passionate about and led on to the work I have been doing through the proUd network. It is important that everyone can bring their authentic selves to work. It leads to better mental health, productivity and creativity so it’s of benefit to the individual and the company as a whole.” 

Over the past year Tyler has helped to organise a series of virtual events for colleagues including talks by the boxer Nicola Adams and Rugby player Gareth Thomas, regular socials and educational sessions on how people can use more LGBTQ+ inclusive language. When asked for his advice to other organisations seeking to become more inclusive, Tyler says: “Be led by the views and feedback of the communities themselves as this will always be more authentic, partner with external organisations – such as Stonewall – who can help you along your journey and ensure there is senior level support.” 

The British LGBT Award winners will be announced later this summer. Good luck Tyler!