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My food & drink job: Ru Brown, Pride lead, Tesco

Written by: Charles Wright, The Grocer
Published on: 4 Jun 2024

My Food job 2

Name: Ru Brown (he/they)
Age: 22
Job title: Pride project lead & Pride lead for ‘LGBTQ+ at Tesco’
Company & location: Tesco, Welwyn Garden City
Education: Sociology at the University of Sheffield

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a singer, my voice is horrendous so we’re all lucky that didn’t work out.

Why did you decide to go for a career in food & drink? I’m passionate about people. Working for a company the size of Tesco means the work I do reaches colleagues across the country and I can have a real impact.
I started at Tesco as an intern three years ago and was then offered a place on the grad scheme. None of my roles have felt the same and that’s what’s kept me here – I love the variety of work I’ve been able to do.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I plan all our colleague-facing Pride events. Whether it’s a virtual talk on LGBTQ+ inclusion or one of our fabulous local Prides, I help colleagues celebrate Pride with Tesco.

“I’m lucky to do something I’m so passionate about”

How does your workplace celebrate Pride month? Tesco supports over 20 Pride events across the country so colleagues can celebrate a Pride that is local and matters to them. We have a range of virtual talks and panels throughout Pride month, on topics ranging from same-sex parenting to being a fantastic ally. Tesco amplifies the LGBTQ+ community in Pride month and our LGBTQ+ network works across the year to make sure LGBTQ+ colleagues can thrive at Tesco.

Does your company provide support to LGBTQ+ employees? Our policies and resources are frequently updated and checked to make sure we’re still supporting the community in a way that makes a real difference to them. Last year we launched our virtual Trans+ Colleague Space, for trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming and gender diverse colleagues. Tesco supports all of the LGBTQ+ community and understands that the different letters within the community need different support.

What does a typical day look like for you? As we approach June, my days get busier and busier! I work with our teams across the country to make sure they’ve got everything from Tesco ahead of the day. I then support local colleagues attending on the day and make sure everything runs smoothly. I work closely with the customer team to make sure our colleague Pride experience matches up with our customer offer and work ad hoc on anything Pride-related.

How do you celebrate Pride? I love going to Pride events across the country because there are so many queer people in one space. Pride has such an amazing feeling and it’s a joy to stand with the community and make it clear we’re not going anywhere.

Who is a Pride role model for you? Bimini Bon Boulash is such a role model for me, I love their unapologetically queer attitude and how they don’t take everything seriously. People are always going to have an opinion or make comments, especially when you’re LGBTQ+. I love how Bimini owns it and lets their work and talent speak for itself. You’ve got to shrug things off and continue with what you know is right. 

What’s the best part about working for a food & drink company? For me it’s the people. I’ve worked with a mix of teams and met fabulous people wherever I go. The culture at Tesco is brilliant and it shows in the teams I’ve been in and the people I’ve met.  

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? Before I arrived at Tesco, I didn’t realise the size of the business and how many different jobs there are. Tesco is great at letting you try different things and I really benefited from this when I was on the grad scheme. The company is so broad, which means you can almost get involved with anything. I’ve enjoyed creating my own career path and getting the chance to figure out what sort of role suits me best.

What advice would you give to young queer people in the food & drink industry? Get involved with your company’s LGBTQ+ network, and if you don’t have one, start one!
The LGBTQ+ at Tesco network has been so supportive, and I’ve met so many wonderful queer colleagues who are all so passionate about inclusion. It makes my job and life easier to be surrounded by people who are on the same page and working towards the same goal. LGBTQ+ networks are great at encouraging you to speak up and use your voice in a way that feels authentic to you, so you can be the change you want to see.

What’s your ultimate career dream? I’m lucky enough to say my current job is my dream job and I feel so thankful to work on something that means so much to me.

Looking forward, I want to continue to drive LGBTQ+ inclusion and make sure people from all backgrounds are represented and supported, so they can thrive in the roles they’re in. I’m not sure what’s next after Pride but I’m very excited to find out!