I’m Mark, PR account executive here at One.

As someone who is an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, an adopted Mancunian and a marketeer working with well-known brands, I believe it’s vital to have a support group for the LGBTQ+ community in the North West.

The messages we communicate, on behalf of the brands we work with, are seen and heard by one and all. It’s our responsibility as marketing professionals to make sure that our campaigns are inclusive, diverse and truly representative of the LGBT community.

That’s why we’re launching Everyone+, the first LGBTQ+ network for the marketing and creative industries in the North West.

The free event, which takes place at Whitworth Locke on Thursday 22nd August, 6pm to 9pm, will be a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and a great way to get ready for Manchester Pride.

As part of the launch, Dr Carl Austin-Behan, LGBT Advisor to the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the former first openly gay Lord Mayor of Manchester, will be discussing the need for diverse representation in marketing and how, as a region, we can be more inclusive.

Starting out in the industry just over a year ago I quickly realised that we play an important part in leading and changing conversations through marketing.

Conversations not only about brands, but also about diversity and equality within the wider social, economic and political discussions.

It’s our responsibility, as the people who help change narratives, to come together to highlight and champion the LGBTQ+ community and give a voice to the often-unheard members of society.

While it’s great to see brands supporting Pride, if you look past the branded socks, sandwiches and the myriad of other products and read about the many homophobic attacks that have taken place in recent months, the need for a support network and a place where you are encouraged to be yourself is crucially apparent.

Our plan for Everyone+ is to host a series of events including discussion panels with thought leaders and networking sessions, as well as other inclusivity workshops throughout the year and beyond.

I spoke with the head of PR & social, Alex Hamilton, who shared why he, and the entire agency, are supporting Everyone+.

“As an integrated marketing agency that’s undertaken endless campaigns since our inception in 1973, it’s important for us to practice what we preach and support the diverse communities we are targeting on behalf of our client base.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the industry together to discuss how we, as the North West, can help promote LGBTQ+ representation.

“We have ambitions for Everyone+ to be the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ for the community and with Manchester Pride just around the corner and increased awareness of LGBT rights following the recent 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, it seemed the right time to launch.”

To get your ticket for the launch event on Thursday 22nd August, sign up below.