Michael Bellemore is passionate about meeting new people, learning new things, working for iconic Australian fashion and retail brands, growing his candles business and working with individuals to promote diversity and inclusiveness within the workplace. Michael just happens to work for PwC, within the Private Clients team.
Having joined PwC as a Trainee, Michael was able to complete his degree in commerce part time, whilst gaining full time work experience, launching his small business of scented candles and diffusers and also joining the GLEE@PwC community.
Now, he’s a Senior Consultant, working with leading Australian retail and fashion - whilst his small business pays for his car and annual European holidays! But deeper than that, Michael is passionate about people, working with his clients and having the chance to help other people achieve their business goals and building his own skills in an environment that nurtures his learning and development. Part of furthering his development, and contributing to something he is truly passionate about, Michael sits on the GLEE@PwC Steering Committee as the National Coordinator.
So what is GLEE? Here at PwC, it stands for Gay Lesbian and Everyone Else. "We're a great group of fun individuals who are passionate about bringing their whole self to work, whoever that might be! We aim to create a culture at PwC that is open to accepting everyone's differences and being able to celebrate our own differences," explains Michael.
Michael initially got involved with GLEE when he was still a Trainee at just 19 years old.
"I wasn’t even “out” yet to a lot of my family, friends or colleagues, and I didn’t know anyone attending - so it took a fair bit of courage!"
"Within minutes, I was greeted by colleagues from other teams that I’d never met before, and was made to feel so welcome".
Michael explains that it was the GLEE community and that initial experience of warmth and acceptance that allowed him to feel so much more comfortable about being himself at work and subsequently coming out to his broader team at work, and the rest of his family and friends.
Now, as his role as the National Coordinator for GLEE@PwC, Michael brings together each of the state teams to plan and then implement events or initiatives that help the community achieve their wider goals.
But it’s not limited to GLEE, ‘The massive Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) surge that we've experienced over the last 2 years is being felt in every corner of the organisation and it's heart-warming to see so many people get on board,’ explains Michael.
Whilst GLEE@PwC is just one of PwC’s wider D&I communities, whether the focus is on gender, culture, disability or LGBTI, they each have the same ideal at their core.
"'Because difference is something we all have in common', is the GLEE slogan and it's so true," says Michael.
Due to the efforts of GLEE@PwC, PwC has been fortunate enough to win Australia’s Top LGBTI employer in both 2013 and 2015, and this year, PwC was announced as a platinum LGBTI employer by Pride and Diversity - the highest accolade in Australia for LGBTI employer awards.
"Although there’s still so far to go, given recent industry data that shows 45% of the LGBTI community are still ‘in the closet’ at work, GLEE exists to break down these fears and create an environment that promotes and rewards authenticity, rather than conformity," says Michael.
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