Our people

Exploring intersectionality, pride and allyship across the globe

As Sydney hosts the global LGBTQ+ festival WorldPride in 2023, we hear from Macquarie employees from around the world, who boldly share their personal stories of pride, intersectionality and allyship.

Manuel Mota in Sydney: The world is richer with diversity

Manuel is a Learning Design Consultant in the Banking and Financial Services Group

I’m originally from Venezuela, where I qualified and worked as an engineer before moving to Sydney in 2011.

I came to Sydney for a career change and enrolled to study media and filmmaking. Over time, I leveraged my skills to work in the learning and development space.

The main reason I moved countries was personal. As a gay man, I did not think that I could be out in the open back home. I’d been in a long-term relationship, but I called my partner my 'cousin'. I wanted to own my future, and that meant moving to a place where I could be my authentic self. 

I am visibly intersectional through my skin colour and accent. And while my sexual orientation may be invisible, I choose to disclose it. 

To me, Pride means being able to own up to who I am. It’s also about the LGBTQ+ community, our supporters and allies. When you see diverse supportive groups joining Sydney’s Mardi Gras, it gives you a sense of belonging.”

I found much more than I was looking for. I got married four years ago, and my partner’s family has embraced us. It’s about love overriding anything else. 

After a decade working in learning and development, I joined Macquarie in 2022 as a Learning Design Consultant in the Banking and Financial Services Group. I support the Central & Operations division to discover and develop learning solutions and experiences to help improve productivity. It’s a vibrant, friendly and creative environment where I've felt accepted and safe to be myself. My leaders are actively visible in LGBTQ+ issues, which is inspiring. 

I also volunteer for Queer Screen, the group behind the Mardi Gras film festival. By chance, Macquarie is running some screenings, and promoting the festival. The films provide a real vision of queer culture and its intersectionality throughout the world.

My passion for being an advocate for diversity is triggered by seeing injustice and understanding the point of view of being excluded. So, I feel strongly about supporting transgender people. I also consider myself a feminist and advocate for gender equality.

Being an ally shows you how big the world is. I see it as an opportunity to diversify my own thinking. The world is richer with diversity.

Ice Valenzuela in Manila: You can have more impact if you can be your true self

Ice is a Senior Manager in Corporate Affairs, Financial Management Group

People are complex, and many intersecting factors influence how someone views and experiences the world. I’m Asian, Filipino, from a middle-class family in a conservative country. I have a visual disability which has impacted the way I literally - and figuratively - see the world. I’m also a feminine-presenting lesbian in her thirties. 

I joined Macquarie’s Manila office in 2011, initially as a technical writer, before moving into a website digital production role. I’m now a Senior Manager within the Digital team in Corporate Affairs.

The best thing about working at Macquarie is that I can bring my whole self to work. It’s a very liberating experience to have a work culture where everyone is celebrated. Being authentic at work contributes to how I do my job and relate to my stakeholders. It's important to me. 

At this point in my life, I feel that I’m in a place of privilege compared to others who may not have the opportunity to speak up. This means I can do something to help.

It can be challenging to come out, but visible allies make it much easier. It’s about being yourself without fear of judgement. I hope me being open with my intersecting identities can support and uplift others and make them feel included and proud.”

I’ve been involved with the Macquarie Pride Manila employee network group for three years and have been Co-Chair since 2022. Last year we collaborated with all the Pride networks across Asia to unveil the pride flag in the office for the first time, which was a very emotional experience. We have also partnered with the Philippine Financial and Inter-industry Pride’s Rainbow Youth Academy to support the education of graduating LGBTQ+ college students and their transition to corporate life. We are continuously looking for ways to have even more impact in the community, and allies play an important role in that.

To me, being an ally is an action word and a lifelong commitment, which starts with education. All spaces should be LGBTQ+ inclusive, and to create safe spaces we need to take collective action.


Since this article was published, Ice relocated to Sydney to continue her career journey with Macquarie.

Tessa Lim in London: Being an ally means having the courage to be openly and vocally supportive

Tessa is a Strategy and Operations Lead in the Financial Management Group

I joined Macquarie in 2016, where I was based in Sydney and working with the Financial Management Group. Since then, I’ve enjoyed great mobility opportunities, like transferring to London, expanding my role to support other regions and groups, and moving into an operations and strategy role. Today, my focus is on helping our people understand what our divisions’ strategy means for them and supporting our leaders in defining and bringing to life their key areas of focus in the region.

I’ve found Macquarie to be welcoming, inclusive, and accepting, regardless of how senior you are, which is something that has made me feel respected and valued. Macquarie’s employee network groups are an important part of that.

Growing up in Australia as a woman with Chinese and Malaysian heritage, I experienced both outright and subtle discrimination based on my identity. I knew first-hand the shame, confusion and upset, and recognised that while individual experiences differed, these feelings were often shared across groups and communities.

I chose to join the Pride employee network group because, while I have friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community, I didn’t know much about it. I wanted to better understand their experiences and challenges, and ensure I was doing what I could to help them feel supported while standing up to discrimination.

Justice of any kind is collective work and requires accomplices. Allyship is essential to enact change, and it is something that is very important to me. 

For me, the first step was education. It’s hard to make a difference if you don’t have understanding, so I watched videos, read articles, and attended events. The more I’ve learned, the more I realised how little I actually knew. Being part of the Pride employee network group has exposed me to different viewpoints and has made me a better ally. 

I’m now one of several active allies on the Pride Steering Committee in EMEA and part of both the internal communications stream, and allies and learning stream. We publish articles, educate and bring awareness to days and weeks of significance, and we run a highly successful mentoring program aimed at connecting those in the LGBTQ+ community with senior leaders across Macquarie.

To me, being an ally means having the courage to be openly and vocally supportive through words and actions.”

It’s about what my behaviour reflects: not walking past, not staying silent, and recognising my biases and privileges. Small things can have a big impact, and simply being visible as an ally can help challenge people's attitudes. 

What I find most rewarding about being an ally is the continuous learning, knowing that I'm doing all I can to have a positive impact on the experience of those in the LGBTQ+ community, and being able to connect with new people I may not have met otherwise.

David Robinson in New York: Pride is when the rainbow appears

David is a Senior Manager in the Cyber Security team, Corporate Operations Group

To me, intersectionality means you can feel the total sum of different parts of yourself, but you don’t ever get to be just one of them. 

The LGBTQ+ community is incredibly diverse, with people being much more than just their letter in the acronym. Recognising that there can be different layers to someone’s identity and the challenges they face has helped shape the way I support and celebrate others.

I am a gay white man who is over 50, I like to describe myself as an early adopter of gay marriage. After many years of being married, I was divorced the year the Supreme Court decided in favour of gay marriage. The timing was bittersweet for me, but a win for my community.

As a gay man, that aspect of my identity feels central to me, but is less visible to the world. I sometimes have to correct people’s assumptions; I have to 'come out' and declare myself. You never really stop coming out. 

Initially, I moved from Arizona to New York to study acting at NYU before reaching a crossroads. I became a software trainer at a law firm but found my niche in project management and consulting. In 2019, I joined Macquarie’s New York office as a Senior Manager in the eDiscovery & Surveillance team within Cyber Security.

I don’t think I understood what an inclusive work culture was until I joined Macquarie. It is authentic and runs deeper than posters and catchphrases. There’s a strong focus on wellbeing, transparency and community through employee network groups, so the idea of bringing your whole self to work feels true. I can talk about what I really did on the weekend, and there’s diversity.”

Allyship is so crucial to our community, and I focus on being an active ally myself. Thanks to Macquarie’s sponsorship of BoardLead, beyond my day job, I joined the board of inreach.org, a trans-led tech non-profit increasing access to safe, verified resources for the diverse LGBTQ+ community. 

I’m also a member of the steering committee for Macquarie Pride Americas, so last year, I helped organise a Foundation Week fundraiser for InReach. It was a Drag Queen storytelling session for kids, jointly run with the Families employee network group. The support we received was incredible, sometimes allies can bring fresh energy and be fierce defending us. 

Through the Pride employee network group, I connected with a program at SAGE where I call a lesbian elder every Friday. If you’re gay it’s important to have community and that can potentially be harder for gay people to find or maintain as they age. 

To me, Pride is an annual, tangible reminder that we should celebrate who we are, where we are, what we’ve done and what we still have to work towards. It’s a time to celebrate, but it also unites people of all backgrounds. It’s when the rainbow appears.

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