Hospital governor from Preston listed as a top ten LGBT+ boss in Financial Times

Pav Akhtar
Pav Akhtar
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A Lancashire hospital governor was listed as one of the top ten LGBT+ public sector executives in the Financial Times.

Pav Akhtar, from Moor Park, was being recognised for his work with UNI Global Union, a federation for skills and services and a gathering of trade unions from 140 countries.

Among his successes Pav has negotiated LGBT+ equalities protection clauses into collective agreements with global companies, and has secured the inclusion of LGBT+ equality rights as part of a new UN standard at the International Labour Organisation on protection of women and men against violence in the workplace.

Pav, 40, who is now a governor at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Personally, the listing serves as a reminder of how much we achieve in life with the support of others. Yes, we may have personal qualities and drive, have learned new and better skills, been tested and succeeded, but all that amounts to very little without an intellectual or emotional exchange of labour and love.

“For someone like me, having spent my childhood growing up in a local authority children’s home before moving into the global business community, I’ve always had people watch over me, support me, and help get me up on my feet. I’m proud to have been able to do the same for others.”

Pav, director of strategy at UK Black Pride, added: “In terms of being LGBT in industry today, l’m not sure anyone would say that being open about who you are is an easy decision to make.

“Far from it. Every day LGBT people have to put on an armour suit to protect against every kind of injustice and abuse. Whether it’s from family, friends, clients or employers, homophobia persists.

“It can be subtle or overt. It can include being denigrated, discounted or dismissed. I know that I’ve lost projects, pitches, and even promotions because of it.

“Some may ask why these FT are necessary in 2018. The answer is simple: whether you’re in Preston, Paris, or Pittsburgh, LGBT human rights are being systematically violated in workplaces and communities the world over.

“If you’re a minority within a minority: a woman, black, disabled, trans, of faith, working class, or a migrant, the punishing effects can be even harder.

“So it’s important to recognise how every individual who comes out is displaying a certain degree of courage. These courageous behaviours can be learned.”

They’re dependent on effort and practice, rather than on some heroic personality trait limited to the few.”

Giving advice to people trying to make a difference in their workplaces Pav said: "Lay the groundwork; choose your battles; and remember to follow up.

"Don’t feel like you need to jump into the deep end right away. Instead, consider approaching this work incrementally by trying smaller, more manageable acts before proceeding to progressively harder ones.

"That might mean having a difficult conversation in some other sphere of life, or broaching a tough topic with a colleague you like and respect, before confronting a boss about demeaning behaviour.

"It might mean guiding your own team in a new direction before suggesting a transformation of the whole organisation.

"It also helps to consider what ’small’ means to you because we all have different perceptions of which actions require courage.

Then, as you tackle each step, focus on what you learn, not whether it goes perfectly the first time, and don’t forget to build your base of allies and nurture your advocates because, what this FT listing serves as a reminder of is how much we achieve in life with the support of others."