Dame Inga Beale was the first woman to lead insurance giant Lloyd's of London and one of the most powerful figures in the City. In 2015, she topped a list of 100 leading LGBT executives - the first woman and the first openly bisexual person to be ranked number one. She stepped down from Lloyd’s last year following a campaign to drag it into the modern age, which was met with stiff resistance. She reveals her career journey, her toughest moments, coming out at work – and why she’s campaigning for more diverse and inclusive workplaces.
As a kid, I was a loner and a bit of a rebel. I was the middle child with two siblings. Both had blond hair. I had dark hair. They teased me that I was adopted. I used to go on long cycle rides so I wouldn’t have to be around them. Even at seven, I’d cycle off on my own.
I was smart but I’d often get detentions at school. I got thrown out of history class because the teacher thought I was so unbearable. If I liked a subject, I’d get top marks. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother and I’d get zero.