Spotlight on... Gerard Jones

Gerard JonesGerard Jones
This week we meet Gerard Jones, LGBTQ+ Equality Implementation Group (LEIG) Manager at UCL, who has been working on the first draft of UCL’s LGBTQ+ equality action plan. Here, he chats to us about his latest projects and love for Scotland.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I’m the LGBTQ+ Equality Implementation Group (LEIG) Manager in UCL’s central Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team. The main purpose of my role is to create and implement an action plan that will improve the experience of LGBTQ+ staff and students at UCL. Since starting the role in November 2022, I’ve been reviewing existing data, planning initiatives that build upon existing EDI frameworks, and engaging with key stakeholders across the university to create the first draft of the LGBTQ+ equality action plan.

It’s been a really interesting and rewarding experience so far; I’ve enjoyed working with LEIG, the LGBTQ+ Equality Steering Group (LESG), and of course, the central EDI team. It’s been great meeting such passionate and talented people who are working hard to make UCL an inclusive and equitable workplace.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

While I’m new to the EDI team, I’ve been at UCL since 2019. My previous role was as Alumni & Supporter Care Manager in UCL’s Office of the Vice-President (Advancement), where I was responsible for providing guidance and stewardship to the university’s graduate community of 350,000. Within OVPA, I was also the LGBTQ+ lead for their EDI committee, delivering training on gender identity and creating a department-specific action plan for LGBTQ+ inclusion and belonging.

Before UCL, I worked in the Supporter Care team for an international development charity, and before that I taught English in the south of France.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

While working in OVPA, I designed a trans-inclusive process to support alumni who were transitioning gender and thus needed to update their records, as well as obtain new degree certificates, transcripts, and email addresses. I worked collaboratively with Student Records and ISD to streamline our approach, which reduced the administrative burden for alumni and empowered my team to deliver an inclusive experience for trans graduates. The positive feedback from teammates and the alumni we supported was really heartwarming.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list

My biggest priority is establishing a finalised version of the LGBTQ+ action plan that we can share widely across the institution. Once that’s done, we’ll be in a strong position to carry out lots of exciting work that empowers and celebrates our diverse community of staff and students.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

  • Album: Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. I’m here for the drama, the heartache, and the raspy dulcet tones of Stevie Nicks.
  • Film: I’m not a massive film lover, but I’d say Ghost for Whoopi Goldberg’s performance alone.
  • Novel: a toss up between To Kill a Mockingbird and Young Mungo.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

Why can’t you explain puns to kleptomaniacs?
They always take things literally.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Katherine Ryan, Adele, and Bob the Drag Queen.

What advice would you give your younger self?

It’s cliché, but true: don’t worry so much about what people think of you.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

Despite my general light-heartedness, I’m a bit of a Grinch at Christmas - I find the season is so overwhelming!

What is your favourite place?

Scotland. My mum’s from Glasgow, so we used to visit our family all the time when I was growing up. The sense of humour is unparalleled, the landscape is beautiful, and even the water tastes better than it does down south. Visiting always gives me a warm sense of homecoming, even though I’m English (something that my cousins have only recently stopped teasing me about...).

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