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News > Alumni news > Lee Marshall MBA FRSA (Class of 1980) Honoured for for His Work In The Diversity and Inclusion Field

Lee Marshall MBA FRSA (Class of 1980) Honoured for for His Work In The Diversity and Inclusion Field

Lee Marshall has been awarded one of the highest honours that the Church of England can bestow on an individual - the Canterbury Cross
11 Jun 2024
Alumni news
Lee Marshall recieving the Canterbury Cross from the Archbishop of Canterbury
Lee Marshall recieving the Canterbury Cross from the Archbishop of Canterbury

TWGSB are proud of all our alumni and especially when they make such a difference to the world in which we live in.  

Lee has worked tirelessly over 40 years to promote and advocate diversity and inclusion in the UK and for that has been awarded the Canterbury Cross by the Archbishop of Canterbury for Services to the Church of England .

Lee was one of the co-founders of Stonewall, he chaired the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation (antibullying) for 9 years and is regularly included and recognised in the lists of LGBT senior executives working around the world to make workplaces more inclusive. In late 2023, he was also honoured to be included on the Diversity Power List which recognises 50 of the most profound champions of inclusion, diversity professionals and D & I Leaders across the UK.

Lee Marshall hosting the StandUp (antibullying) Awards

Here Lee tells TWGSB Connect about his facinating career and how he has fought to make a change in society in so many different ways and via so many organisations:

"After I left Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys (formerly known as ‘Tech’) in 1980, I went to Lancaster University for three years before starting work at the Church Commissioners. This was for organisations akin to the Civil Service but providing services to support the Church of England. I am still there and am now the Chief of Staff/Executive Director within the Church of England Pensions Board, with a focus on, amongst other things, diversity and inclusion at board/director level.

Alongside, what I refer to as the “day job”, I have been working on diversity and inclusion initiatives globally. This work has included working with organisations across the United States, Canada, the UK and even in the Seychelles, where I engaged with organisations as the guest of the British High Commissioner. 

Lee discussing same-sex marriage and other equality issues with government ministers at the home of the British High Commissioner in the Seychelles

A few years after graduating, Michael Cashman (then Colin on EastEnders and now Lord Michael Cashman) approached me about an organisation being put together – this was Stonewall. A few people had thought in the light of s28  (Section 28: What was it and how did it affect LGBT+ people?)  that something needed to be done to campaign for full legal equality for the gay community, thereby benefiting wider society.

In 1990, I became the first Treasurer and kept an eye on the financial position of the fledgling organisation during its initial formative years and sat on its board alongside luminaries like Michael, Sir Ian McKellen, Lisa Power. We achieved a lot, and I stepped back in the mid-late 1990s but remained in the background advising and acting as a sounding board when needed. Interestingly I am now back doing just that with the current Board when called on.” 

Stonewall on the Pride Parade back in the 1990s

Lee with his old friend and fellow co-founder of Stonewall, Ian McKellen (friends for over 35 years)

Stonewall is an organisation who stand for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace (LGBTQ+) people everywhere. They are part of a vibrant global movement for change made up of LGBTQ+

people and since day one, they have fought for freedom, for equity and for potential. Over the last 30 years, the organisation has helped create transformative change in the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the UK.

The campaigns have driven positive change in public attitudes and public policy and ensure LGBTQ+ people can thrive throughout their lives by building deep, sustained change programmes with the institutions that have the biggest impact on people, whether learning, working, praying or playing sport.

In recent years, I have also chaired the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation (antibullying) for nine years and am the current Chair of the Diversity Project Charity, dealing with inclusion projects affecting the financial services sector. 

Lee launching an antibullying event at Speaker’s House, Parliament

Last year, I was delighted to be awarded by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England. It was for my work over the years in the diversity and inclusion field, work that i'm very proud of."

Lee recieving the Canterbury Cross from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

The Archbishop's Citation read:

"Lee Marshall has worked tirelessly to promote and advocate for diversity and inclusion, both as Chief of Staff at the Church of England Pensions Board, and outside Church House as Trustee, and often Chair, of several charities over the past 35 years. This has included the Diversity Project Charity, promoting diversity and “putting inclusion into practice” through the investment world, the StandUp Foundation, an anti-bullying charity, and as co-founder of Stonewall. Lee has worked for the National Church Institutions for almost 40 years in various capacities with a commitment to diversity and inclusion underlying and underpinning his work.

In 2007, recognising that there was a need to provide support to gay staff in particular, as debate swirled around LGBT issues in the Church of England, he co-founded the NCI’s LGBT staff network – the Last Thursday Group.

Action, not just words, was important to promote an inclusive culture in Church House. He has worked extensively, and passionately, on ensuring that the trustee bodies within the National Church Institutions are diverse and inclusive. When appointed to his current role in 2009, the Pensions Board had only 5% women and no data on the diversity mix. In 2021, when the Board’s restructuring was approved by the General Synod, a key indicator of success was achieving greater diversity. The result being a trustee body 18 with 42% women, as well as trustees from a global majority heritage background and declaring a disability.

Lee worked to ensure that a full diversity profile of the trustee body was developed to ensure that future appointments maintained this diversity. He has also worked with others to promote diversity and inclusion across all the National Church Institutions both amongst the staff and those charged with their governance".

We wish Lee many congratulations on his well deserved award and hope to get him into the school soon to talk to the students about his work and why it is so important. 

To learn more about Lee and his work, here is a brilliant interview recorded in Canada in 2022: Click Here

And an interview he gave for GatenbySanderson’s Pride Month: Interview with Lee Marshall, Church of England Pensions Board Chief of Staff - GatenbySanderson

If you would like to tell TWGSB Connect of an honour or award you or a fellow alumni have received, please do  as we love to share what our alumni are up to now and to inspire the next generation as to how they can make a difference in the world. 

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