Becci Bryant, Keele Honoray Graduate, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive of

Becci Bryant is the first woman in the UK to have achieved her prestigious position, as Chief Fire Officer, after beginning her career as a firefighter.

Q. Why do you think it’s important to have out and visible LGBT people in the University?

Difference in the workplace is vital to the success of an organisation whether that be a University, a business or a public sector organisation, however acceptance of that difference and embracing the benefits that it brings is as equally important. If people can not be themselves in their place of work they will not bring the best of themselves into making the difference they are there to achieve, whether that be working with others, working to improve outcomes for our communities or working to improve the outcomes of a business. Being visible with all the various facets that cover difference is important and some differences are visible immediately and some are not. This is why it is important that members of the LGBT community are visible because this could be a difference that is not easily recognisable.

Q. What is it like ‘coming out’ as an LGBT person?

Coming out is different for everyone, for some it is not as challenging as it is for others but knowing there are people around you who have had similar experiences does provide comfort, reassurance and having someone to talk to and listen to you and even help if that is needed is crucial. This is what a network looks like to me, people who I can talk to if I want to, who actually might be like me in many different ways but until I talk to them I won’t find out, so being visible is really important.