Serving Safety: How Mark McBride-Wright is Advocating for All Engineers
Posted: June 26, 2023
When Mark McBride-Wright was coming up as a young chemical engineer, he wanted to connect with others who shared his identity.
What he found, though, was a lack of existing resources to connect with other LGBTQ+ engineering professionals, and an employer that wasn’t quite ready for a pride network.
So he made his own.
“I wanted to set up a network that would sit with me, no matter who my employer was,” McBride-Wright said.
Ready to make that inclusive space he sought, McBride-Wright co-founded and chaired InterEngineering, a networking organization with a mission, “to connect, inform and empower LGBTQ+ engineers and their supports to foster greater inclusion in engineering.”
InterEngineering provides not only opportunities to connect, but resources for engineers on important topics concerning the LGBTQ+ community, including guides for individuals and organizations on transitioning in the workplace, implementing DEI perspectives in supply chain sourcing, and tackling homophobia in engineering.
Under Mark’s leadership, InterEngineering developed into a leading organization for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the engineering sector. He earned multiple awards and accolades for his efforts, including Corporate Rising Star at the 2016 British LGBT Awards and the number 2 ranking on the Financial Times Future LGBT Leaders list that same year.
But he wanted to do more.
Recognizing a need for an intersectional approach to the work he was doing, McBride-Wright founded his second organization –EqualEngineers—with a broader focus on providing programming and leadership for a cross-section of under-represented groups in engineering.
This pivot came at a crucial time in the push for global equity.
“In the march for equity and social justice movements, progress is like a pendulum; it swings forward and it swings back. Right now we’re in a massive swing back,” he said. “When majority groups perceive too much equity has been given out to under-represented groups, the swing back occurs, and the need from advocates is to keep us from swinging back further than we were before.”
By conducting research on matters of safety and inclusion in engineering and providing workshops and trainings for industry professionals, EqualEngineers is doing its part to push against that swing back. Since its inception in 2017, the organization has seen tremendous growth, providing opportunities to more than 10,000 diverse job seekers in engineering and establishing the research them Masculinity in Engineering.
“In 2019, we did a shift in strategy when we realized the high suicide rate in male engineers,” McBride-Wright said. “I found it a bit ironic that the intention of our diversity and inclusion programs was to create a place where you could be yourself, but it wasn’t working.”
The pivot allows a conversation designed to build up empathetic engineering traits and serves as a catalyst for McBride-Wright’s latest venture—an upcoming book titled “Engineering Inclusive Cultures: Masculinity, Mental Health and a New Model for Equity in STEM”. The book examines organizational culture and explores how the link between physical and psychological safety can create a more inclusive work environment. He is planning a U.S. book tour scheduled for February of 2024.
With no signs of slowing down, McBride-Wright is doing what he’s always wanted to do—connecting with engineers.