For the fourth successive year, EY Ireland Partner and Global Financial Crime, Ethics & Compliance Leader Catherine Vaughan has been named on the highly prestigious OUTStanding top 100 global LGBT+ executives. The listing recognises 100 senior executives around the world who are role models helping to make workplaces more inclusive.
The OUTStanding citation called out Catherine’s continued championing of LGBT+ inclusion both in Ireland where she is a Partner and more broadly through her global role. The judges were particularly impressed by Catherine’s involvement as leader of the EY global IDAHOTB (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) 2021 showcase event. The event, which is designed to educate, inspire, and celebrate LGBT+ inclusion across the global firm was the first of its kind in 2021.
“The event involved a 24-hour Global webcast that kicked off in New Zealand and closed in San Francisco, following the sun it provided a global platform with a series of messages, stories and discussions by LGBT+ people, allies and business leaders,” said Catherine.
“This year’s IDAHOTB celebration was really special; the power of more than 5,000 colleagues from around the world celebrating LGBT+ inclusion was a unique event that really demonstrated the power of our EY LGBT+ and ally community around the world,” she continued.
“It was particularly powerful to have representation from our colleagues in countries where we know LGBT+ inclusion is more challenging. I’ve personally put a lot of focus on helping colleagues in these countries and trying to do my bit to influence where I can. The Ireland of 20 years ago wasn’t as openly inclusive for LGBT+ people but look at the progress we’ve made and where we stand now.”
In addition, Catherine was recognised for continuing to drive LGBT+ inclusion into the EY Diversity & Inclusion agenda by investing in relationship building with senior stakeholders across EMEIA, and through delivering keynote talks and training to internal groups of LGBT+ and non-LGBT+ colleagues to inspire and educate.
With relentless passion and energy for LGBT+ inclusion, Catherine sponsors LGBT+ events, is actively involved in fundraising for LGBT+ community groups and participates in Unity Chapter panel discussions as well as supporting BeLonG To, a leading LGBT+ Youth organisation in Ireland supporting young LGBT+ people and working with schools to combat bullying in the school system.
“I truly believe we have a duty to do our best to help others. Those of us who can help, should. If I can make even one person’s life a little bit better, then it’s all worth it. If we can impact thousands of people’s lives through collective action, even better. Change doesn’t happen by accident, it needs action, energy, and perseverance. And it isn’t always easy – there are challenging conversations, uncomfortable situations. But that’s how change happens.”
While Catherine is a central figure in the promotion of LGBT+ equality within EY globally, it is her leadership and mentoring that has come to the fore in recent years. She is a passionate advocate for the EY LGBT+ community, endeavouring to help other more junior colleagues to find their voices and support them in driving for change.
Unity, the EY LGBT+ employee network in Ireland continued to go from strength to strength over the last year, says Catherine. “While we’ve been at this for a very long time, Unity came into its own over the course of the pandemic. It’s fantastic to see such a supportive community who look out for each other. The last couple of years have been difficult – Pride has always been such a big family-focused celebration of the LGBT+ community in EY; people have really missed that, and we hope we can get back to doing things in person again next year. However, I’ve been blown away by the creativity and ingenuity of the Unity network this year, and how they have completely reimagined everything and continued with the same vigour and passion as ever.”
Catherine says she was delighted to be recognised again this year by OUTStanding “Not just for myself, but because the recognition was based on everything we’ve achieved this year collectively within the community at EY. We won’t ever stop – I hope we continue to appear on this list year in, year out – because it will mean that we’re constantly improving and striving to go further. It’s a journey that doesn’t have an end point – there is always more to do.”