Our culture

Be curious.

June 13, 2024
Pride Week 2024

9 Questions for Julian - Head of our LGBTQ+ network "JustBe"

1. Julian, you were recently appointed Head of our LGBTQ+ network JustBe. What opportunities does the affinity group offer for LGBTQ+ individuals?

I am really proud and honored to be the new Head and to lead our diverse affinity group. The group offers a safer space for each LGBTQ+ individual to talk about LGBTQ+ topics and feel a sense of direct belonging. I always had the feeling that it gives us strength to know that Roland Berger fully supports a diverse working culture, and we as LGBTQ+ individuals are an integral part of that. We also have colleagues who are not out in the firm and the group gives them, even more, a space to open up. It's also of great value to have an international and cross-platform network at a very early stage in your career.

2. How long has the JustBe network been around and what has changed since then?

We started the network in 2015 with a handful of people at first, growing every year, thanks to Tobias and Yvonne paving the way. I am really proud that, with the tremendous growth, we now number more than 70 colleagues from all over the world and from all platforms and functions. Colleagues are now signing up in their first weeks after joining the firm – this too shows that the network offers a safer space. The acceptance of our network also grew very much in the last years, as did our visibility – we do a lot of awareness activities and there's also Pride Week as the largest global company event, with so many colleagues engaging and advocating for diversity.

3. What is it like to come out at Roland Berger?

I think there is no standard answer here and there are also different ways, which have to suit the individual. Some colleagues are totally open with their sexuality and identity and others are not, which is a very personal decision. In my case, I think people were aware that I was gay and at some point I was routinely talking about my boyfriend when I felt more comfortable. What I can say is that I didn't have any bad experiences in that regard ever.

4. What's your advice for career starters from the LGBTQ+ community?

With the firm establishing the Global DEI Leadership Council, everyone can see that DEI is high up on the agenda. I would advise every new joiner from the LGBTQ+ community to join our affinity group, talk about their experiences, help each other to become more confident by sharing best practices and become a role model. Most importantly, however, be as you are, there is no need to hide.

5. How can colleagues act as allies and support LGBTQ+ colleagues?

First of all, by giving the feeling that they are welcome and also by being able to talk about LGBTQ+ topics – this is also demonstrated in the great support we have for Pride Week, where so many allies show their support for us. Knowing that we have so many allies in our JustBeFriends network gives us the real feeling that we are accepted and celebrated the way we are. If there are still any derogatory comments, it really helps if our allies raise their voices and speak up against every kind of discrimination. This reduces any possible discrimination within the firm, not only towards LGBTQ+ colleagues.

6. How important are ally networks like our JustBeFriends network?

Really crucial. JustBeFriends promotes inclusion and gives support, raises awareness, fosters a cultural change in the firm, creates a safer space and gives visibility. And this is true of any ally network.

7. Why is it so important for employers to foster diversity, equity and inclusion?

We want every colleague to feel valued in the way they are and perform at their best. And from a general point of view, fostering DEI increases the performance of individuals, opens up a broader talent pool, represents the diversity of our clients and increases employee retention.

8. What does it mean to really be an inclusive employer?

An inclusive employer creates a work environment where all individuals are treated equally, fairly and respectfully so that everyone has equal access to career opportunities and can make their contribution to the firm's success. Especially being who they really are and thriving with their best performance.

9. What are some of the projects or goals that the JustBe network is currently working on?

Besides our awareness campaigns and activities, we would like to include a focus on intersectionality, support other affinity groups and help foster engagement and allyship. On a practical note, we want to engage more at universities and also in dedicated business groups. And we want to grow our structures across the Roland Berger world and awareness as well as our acceptance, in all regions – the global community is important.

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