Allyship in action

Ramboll is proud to be celebrating Pride once again this year. As part of our activities, our colleague Jess Dimond, Engineer and member of our LGBTQ+ Allies Network, shares her take on what meaningful allyship looks like.

“There’s no limit to what we can learn by listening to peoples’ experiences and stories.”

This month, Ramboll celebrates Pride alongside millions of people around the world. Pride month is a special opportunity to take stock of where we stand today, to recognise the work of the advocates and allies among us, and to gain further insights into what we can do year-round to be an ally to our friends and colleagues in the LGBTQ+ community.
As part of our Pride activities, we spoke with our colleague Jess Dimond about what allyship really looks like, what people often misunderstand about allyship, and how we can actually advance allyship in the workplace. And in her words, she gets “a bit frank” with us. So, without further ado… meet Jess.
Hi Jess. Thanks for agreeing to speak with us. Can you share with us your working definition of allyship? And what allyship looks like in your experience?
Jess: In a work context at least, allyship is all the effort that goes towards ensuring emotional, physical, mental health, and safety. It means being active in supporting and advocating for marginalised individuals and disrupting the status quo and the cycle of inequity.
I think it really comes down to a lot of small actions. Collective allyship is all the things we do as a company, like using certain terminology, having leadership that encourages, inspires, and empowers people – that kind of thing. Individual allyship is all the small actions that make people feel included and welcome in a space.
Jess Dimond photographed with Ramboll colleagues Marla Gillow and Paola Casagrande.
So where should people start if they want to be an ally?
Jess: I’d say start with active listening. Really take the time to learn about the people around you and try to understand their perspective and background. That means coming to a conversation with our own biases challenged. Seeking to understand someone else’s experiences through their own words and stories.
For me, I think a lot of allyship happens in the in-between moments. Those moments where you’re not talking about work but just talking to one of your colleagues and getting to know each other. I think sometimes we get busy and undervalue the importance of all those moments.
Have you ever experienced allyship in action at work?
Jess: Yeah, I have. And the moment still stays with me today. I was in an external meeting and all of a sudden the conversation shifted. I felt really uncomfortable but was also quite young and didn’t really know what to say or how to get out of it. And one of my more senior colleagues in the meeting saw that I was uncomfortable and found a way to divert the conversation. They did it quickly and seamlessly and I just felt really grateful to them.
In that scenario, they could have just ignored my discomfort but instead they went out of their way to make me feel safe. I actually found out later that they spoke to the person we were with in the meeting afterwards and explained that what had been said was inappropriate.
I honestly don’t think there is a better way to deal with that situation. Because I also appreciated that in the moment my colleague didn’t make a scene but just subtly changed the topic and then was willing to take the time afterwards to bring it up with the person. And that’s such a big part of allyship: taking it upon yourself as an ally to help others learn. And the learning doesn’t always have to happen in a super public, confrontational way.
Jess Dimond photographed with Ramboll colleagues James Thomson and David MacRae.

“In my experience, allyship comes down to a lot of small actions.”

Jess Dimond

That’s really interesting. Do you think there’s anything that people often misunderstand about allyship?
Jess: This might be a bit frank… but to be a good ally people need to take responsibility for their own privileges. They need to understand that they’re not the centre of the issue and they’re not being blamed for it. But that they need to be accountable for their words and actions.
And you know, allyship isn’t a perfect process. It requires a lot of iteration. We’re all fallible. And it’s not about pointing out when someone’s wrong or right but trying to learn and understand our very diverse experiences. Being willing to learn, adapt, engage with intention, and actively listen. It’s not a blame game.
Jess Dimond at home with her dog
What can we do at Ramboll to encourage allyship?
Jess: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take the information out there and engage with it. I think sometimes people avoid things that they don’t really understand. But that leaves us with things as they are. Be fearless in your pursuit of knowing more!
And honestly, I think generally Ramboll is doing good work by creating opportunities for people to share their stories; by offering platforms where we can take the conversation a little further than just teaching the theory. It’s important to have the knowledge and information but it’s ultimately about what we do with that and how we consistently show up. That’s what’s important.
That is what’s important. Any last thoughts to wrap up our chat? What are you thinking about this June?
Jess: I guess Pride is often seen as a celebration. And it’s great to show our solidarity and celebrate. But recognising the history of Pride and where it’s coming from is really important, too. Because LGBTQ+ experiences aren’t confined to the month of June.
Jess Dimond at London Pride
Pride at Ramboll
In addition to the stories we share externally, Ramboll is hosting an internal webinar titled “Stories of allyship”, where we will hear more personal perspectives on allyship from our colleagues. We have also introduced exercises called ‘Everyday inclusion’, which can be used either at the start or end of meetings to spark reflection and conversation about how to be an ally and create an inclusive workplace. The newest additions to the collection give tangible examples of how to turn allyship into action.
One of the new additions, for example, is our STOP model, which teaches people how to intervene in a situation as an ally in order to challenge offensive language or behaviour and actively stand up against exclusion. The STOP model advises that a powerful series of steps you can take are to: “Say something”, “Tell someone”, “Offer support”, and “Provide a diversion”.
To contact the editor of this article, email Sofie Campbell at

About Pride

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    History of Pride

    LGBTQ+ Pride Month happens each year in June. The origins of Pride date back to the Stonewall Riots which happened in June 1969 in New York City. These riots erupted when police officers stormed a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn and bar patrons and members of the LGBTQ+ community resisted in an act of collective protest and defiance. In June 1970, the next year, a march in Central Park was organised under the theme of “Gay Pride”.
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    Why Pride?

    The sentiment of ‘pride’ at the heart of the march in 1970 and at the core of today’s celebrations promotes ‘pride’ as a foil to the ‘shame’ that many people in the LGBTQ+ community experience as part of a community that has been and continues to be a target for discrimination, exclusion, and violence.
  • :

    Pride month

    Pride celebrations have evolved over time and today are focused on raising awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, promoting equality, and celebrating the diversity and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. Ramboll embraces equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and engages during Pride Month to show our commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and freedoms.

Want to know more?

  • Beata Pyszniak

    Global EDI Manager

    +49 1522 2582202

    Beata Pyszniak
  • Tina Gaardsøe Albrechtsen

    Director, Global Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

    +45 51 61 61 97

    Tina Gaardsøe Albrechtsen