Bobbi Pickard, consultant senior project manager at BP (BP.L), was just named the top LGBT+ Future Leader role model for the 2019 OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists, which is supported by Yahoo Finance.
The lists, which are a powerful reflection of the incredible achievements of LGBT+ people in the business community, features a ranking of the top Future Leaders in business.
All of the future leaders in this list — who can be in any position in a company once they identify as LGBT+, and can be any nationality and based in any country — were nominated by peers and colleagues, or put themselves forward. Nominations were then reviewed by the OUTstanding judging panel who scored each person on the influence of their role, their impact on staff inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.
Pickard, who was the first openly transgender person in BP, said that while she “is probably the worst person for publicly grabbing limelight and publicity, it's, more than anything, just an amazing privilege and surprise be on the list, let alone number one.”
She told Yahoo Finance UK that while she is a “really shy and private person,” lists like these that help give visibility to the LGBT+ community and all the efforts made by herself, and others, “is something worthwhile and are going in the right direction.”
How a single email can signal powerful impact
Pickard won the Future Leaders award due to her relentless pioneering and advocacy within the LGBT+ community.
She is the co-chair of the BP Pride Transgender Group and co-founded “Trans in the City”, which has brought together over 30 organisations so far for Transgender Day of Remembrance event and collaborative corporate transgender advocacy.
She organised 11 internal BP UK site Transgender Awareness events and continues to work outside the organisation to drive greater diversity and inclusion across lots of other industries — by participating in panel events for International Women’s Day, Mental Health Awareness day event, and other LGBT+ events. She has also written several articles including “Transgender and Suicide”, “Introduction to Transitioning” and “Science of Transgender.”
On top of that, she has created training programmes for several of BP’s international offices — as well as delivering BP Pride’s first reverse-mentoring programme. Her work has also been called upon by external organisations, such as Sky TV, with which she aided in the organisation of their first transgender awareness event in April. She has also provided free consultancy, advice and training to many organisations, including the Jockey Club, which she aided with the establishment of its first LGBT+ organisation.
Aside from the various accolades, however, she says there is one moment that hit home how her actions can impact someone else’s life.
“The thing I am most proud about, which really made me everything I have been doing worthwhile, is just a single email three months ago,” she said.
“A transgender person at BP sent me an email out of the blue and said they had worked at BP for 27 years and that they had just seen their manager and had just come out and it was the first time at the company they felt completely safe enough to be out within it. That's the most special thing that's why I do what I do. I don't want anyone to have to go through pain and the journey I went through.”
‘My manager saved my life’
Pickard noted that while there’s a lot more to do when it comes to the diversity and inclusion space for LGBT+ across all industries, the greatest impact people can have is by leading by example on an individual basis — within their teams and building outwards.
She said her role models within the trans community are Jake and Hannah Graf, who she says are “amazing, not just from what they’ve done but also for the sheer professionalism and how they hold themselves amongst the weight of abuses” from society.
She says her biggest role model was her “amazing manager” Simon Hodgkinson (who ranked 45th on the Ally Executive Role Model List for 2019), who she says saved her life.
She said that when she worked for him, he was looking after around 100 staff — but knew everyone’s names and everyone loved working for him. The way in which he fostered such a positive working environment led to her coming out to him at work, after attempting to kill herself previously. “He saved my life”, she said, noting that he told her to be herself and come straight to him with anything she needed in terms of support.
“He is a fantastic ally and what an ally should be. He is my personal role model,” she said.
While Pickard has achieved so much, she said there’s more she would like to achieve for the wider community. She said that, while she’d like to move into a role that focuses full-time on diversity and inclusion, it would be one that looks more intersectionally — on issues such as disability and mental health awareness.
Yahoo Finance supports all of INvolve’s executive role model lists. Check out some of them here with accompanying winner profiles: