Daniel Pheysey explains why tech firms need to embrace the LBGT+ community and how the LGBT+ world itself is making the most of technology.
Daniel Pheysey is YouTube's sports manager and helps shape Google's EMEA-wide LGBT+ strategy. Technology, he says, can be a great force for change and empowerment. But, it only works as such when people inside a business are willing to push ethics forward.
Tell us who you are and about your experience
I'm a sports partner manager for YouTube, and also the UK lead for the Google LGBT+ society - the Gayglers. Through my role, I am responsible for a number of LGBT+ themed events and play a role in the development of the EMEA-wide Gaygler strategy.
In particular, I was responsible for the #andproud Android campaign which enabled the global LGBT+ community to march together during Pride month. The march happened both digitally and physically - physically on floats in London, New York and San Francisco.
In my day-to-day, I work with traditional media sports partners and endemic creators to optimise their presence on YouTube, including working with Tom Daley on his coming-out strategy in 2013.
Why is this important to you?
I have always been passionate about diversity, sport and digital media. I now find myself in a role that embodies each of these interests, within one of the largest tech companies in the world.
As a former football coach, I remember how hard it was to come out in a sports environment. As a result, I focus my energy on creating campaigns that aim to facilitate a more open atmosphere. Tech plays a huge part in that, at scale.
What challenges have you faced in your career?
I can honestly say that I have had more opportunities from being open at work than challenges. However, I think the main challenge is making the case for LGBT+ causes to those outside the community. There can be a fear from 'the outside' of saying the wrong thing and getting in trouble. This can make it difficult to have an open conversation. The more you create a 'no stupid questions' atmosphere, the more success you will have with internal and external stakeholders.
How does the profession need to progress / develop?
I am lucky in so much that Google and YouTube are very progressive. Google knows that its products are used by a hugely diverse range of people. It is, therefore, imperative to have that diversity reflected in its workforce so that the products meet the right needs. I think all tech companies should have their wide user-base properly reflected at their company.
What one piece of advice would you give to others?
Technology can reach a mass audience. Our #andproud campaign was engaged with by people in 218 different territories. There aren't many industries that can have that sort of impact.
However, those uses of technology only happens when people are willing to put the business and ethical case forward internally. Don't be afraid to be that person and to push for change. You can have an incredible influence.