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Heart and hustle

“It wasn’t until I joined ANZ that I made the decision to come out more publicly. And that was because of the support in the workplace for the LGBTIQ+ community that I felt.” – Darren Sibson

Darren Sibson

The idea of bringing your ‘whole self’ to work was a scary one to Darren Sibson at the start of his career.


As someone who was not totally ‘out’ in his personal life, and certainly not professionally, he was understandably concerned about what is often labelled ‘tokenistic inclusivity’ - in which lip service is paid to diversity but is largely sidelined.


This can be especially daunting for a member of the LGBTIQ+ community, with only 37 per cent of Australian employees with a diverse sexuality and 32 per cent with a diverse gender, identifying as ‘out’ to all colleagues. It’s no secret that fears of discrimination linger for LGBTIQ+ employees.


However, a month after Darren joined ANZ, those concerns were starting to abate as he was greeted by an energetic ANZ Pride Booth at the top of the stairs.  


“I immediately felt safe. Like I was surrounded by like-minded and open people. It was an active network, that actually changed policies and made people feel like they belonged in an organisation, no matter who they are or who they love.”


Feeling not tolerated, not accepted, but welcomed in the workplace was significant for Darren.


“It wasn’t until I joined ANZ that I made the decision to come out more publicly. And that was because of the support in the workplace for the LGBTIQ+ community that I felt. I was an active and eager volunteer from the minute I joined the Pride Network.”


ANZ Pride Network



Fast forward nine years, and what’s felt like five different careers in one, Darren is still focused on giving back to communities, customers and inclusion.


Darren started his career at ANZ in the corporate communications function, spearheading social media strategies and helping senior female leaders at the bank build a profile and media brand.


“It was rewarding working with executives straight away and helping to create the much-needed space for senior women in banking and finance to launch their profiles.”


A key moment for Darren was also working with CEO Shayne Elliott, building his social media presence and cementing him as the first banking CEO in Australia to have a Facebook influencer page – connecting him with both employees and customers on an unprecedented level.  


Meta HQ

Darren then made the move to the brand retail marketing team, where he worked on iconic ANZ campaigns such as The Australian Open and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.


Now, a Partnerships Manager in ANZ’s commercial function, Darren’s love for people and helping communities succeed is flourishing.


“I jumped at the opportunity to work closely with customers. To find innovative solutions for business owners and help them to start, run and grow their businesses that they’re so passionate about.”




Darren’s commitment to community hit a powerful milestone when he became co-lead of ANZ’s Pride Network in 2019.


Each and every Mardi Gras is memorable for Darren, with his role in the Pride Network taking on not just a celebratory, but educational lens too, advising internal and external agencies on LGBTIQ+ challenges and key issues.


Darren in drag for ANZ's Mardi Gras celebrations

This also led to Darren stepping in front of the camera on occasion to feature in ANZ’s myriad of Pride and Mardi Gras campaigns, such as #HoldTight.


“As a leader it’s a privilege to have oversight of almost all of our initiatives. But I’m probably the proudest of being involved in the work we did for marriage equality in Australia.


Ensuring staff felt safe and supported, educating senior executives and stakeholders. There was a lot to do but it was really meaningful, especially when the vote came back as a ‘yes’.”


Australia voted Yes to marriage equality

More recently, Darren has revealed that he and his Pride Network co-lead Caitlin Monnery-Korving will be passing the rainbow baton on, and stepping down as leads of the network.


“I feel like it’s the right time. For me, Pride means a thousand different things. But most importantly it’s about bringing my full, authentic self to work everyday, and thriving as the person I am. I get emotional talking about my time at the network, because Pride has been one of the biggest parts of my life, and I’ve made lifelong friends.”


Darren and ANZ Pride Network co-lead Caitlin Monnery-Korving

Celebrating love


As Darren prepares to step away from his leadership role with the Pride Network he has chosen to step into a loving side hustle as a marriage celebrant.


“I’m a self-confessed lover of public speaking! I love storytelling, engaging with people and with crowds – plus, who doesn’t love love?”


After being asked to officiate a close friend’s wedding in India, Darren was hooked and took the steps to become certified, launching his business last month.


Australia’s move towards marriage equality also cemented Darren’s passion for helping to bring people in love together.


“I now know that I, everyone, has the opportunity to get married one day too, making it all the more special. I’m also happy to report I am recently engaged to my partner Sean too!”


But balancing both a 9 to 5 and a budding business isn’t for the faint of heart.


“It’s a slow burn with lots of ups and downs, but do something you’re passionate about, and something that gives you variety.”


Darren sees the connection between his work at ANZ and his side hustle, with his love for engaging with communities and customers manifesting inside and outside of his professional life.


“Getting to speak to customers one-on-one and making a difference on one of their most memorable days is a privilege… and as the only employee it’s certainly nice to not have to seek approvals from multiple departments!”


Alexandra Galea is Editorial Producer, ANZ

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