Or anywhere else, for that matter. But for many people showing up authentically in a professional environment is uncomfortable at best… And, at worst, genuinely dangerous.
The travel and lifestyle industry is no exception. Look around – really look – and you’ll realise there’s a distinct lack of diversity among the people who work in it. And no, it’s not because some types of people don’t want to work in travel and lifestyle (er, who wouldn’t?!). It’s because the spaces we’ve created aren’t always welcoming, or even safe, for them.
But all is not lost. We’re an industry built on relationships and transformational experiences. At Lightning we believe the humans of travel and lifestyle have it in us to create positive change – and we want to help make it happen.
We’re a Living Wage Foundation employer. Underpaying employees (or, worse, offering unpaid internships) harms social equality because it favours those from wealthier backgrounds. That’s why we commit to paying our team at least £25k (the London Living Wage) and we don’t work on roles that pay less.
We publish salary brackets for all roles. Salary secrecy fuels pay inequality, which disproportionately affects marginalised groups. Unlike other recruiters, we publish salary brackets for ALL our jobs.
We offer paid mental health days once a month. Mental health is health. We want Lightning to be an environment where everyone feels empowered to be their best selves – and sometimes that means taking a time-out.
We’re Certified Proud. We aim to create a safe space where members of the LGBTQ+ community can live a life free from discrimination and unease. As a member organisation, we commit to operating under The Certified Proud Principles.
We offer accessible, inclusive career guidance in our Lightning Lounge. We want to help every candidate achieve their potential, whatever their industry, age, race, gender, sexuality, or class. To make career (and life) guidance accessible for everyone, we hold free, weekly one-to-one video chats offering CV workshops, job advice, industry insights, or even just a safe space and motivational boost.
We’re a QueerAF Lifetime Member. QueerAF supports, mentors and builds the resilience of queer creatives to get their first commissions and kickstart their media career. As a lifetime member, we’ve helped kickstart this community-interest company and support a weekly newsletter to amplify queer content – all without the need for adverts. So they can tell stories because they matter to the community, not for clicks.
We’re an expert for The Conscious Travel Foundation. The Conscious Travel Foundation is a community for like-minded travel professionals to share ideas and foster new relationships, providing essential resources and access to some of the most forward-thinking minds in sustainable travel – so that, together, we can take manageable, measurable and achievable progress towards a greener, more inclusive, more conscious travel industry.
Chris founded Lightning with the goal of creating a new model of travel and lifestyle recruitment that puts people before profits, helping to set a new standard of diverse, inclusive practices in our industry.
Since coming out as non-binary in March 2021, Chris has become an vocal advocate for the queer community. They share their story on LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as taking part in speaking engagements, interviews, and writing about their experiences as a queer transfemme icon on Lightning Latest.
After an ADHD diagnosis in 2022, Chris has also been raising awareness of the challenges of neurodiversity in the workplace.
"I try to bring stats to life through storytelling, so people understand discrimination isn’t some abstract concept: it affects real people and real lives. I hope to give a voice to people less able to speak up for themselves and work towards a society where everyone is truly free to be themselves.” – Chris King (they/them/she/her, Founder & CEO of Lightning Travel Recruitment
Independent Hotel Show - Allyship in the hospitality industry (panelist), October 2022
Private event for Nokia - Redefining the recruitment experience for trans and non-binary candidates (guest speaker), October 2022
Ideas Fest, Main Stage - Business has a vital role to play in Trans acceptance (panelist), August 2022
Step Up, Stand Out and 86 The Silence, Change & How to Make it Happen (panelist), July 2022
SITE Leaders retreat, (panelist), July 2022
Travelling as LGBTQ, hosted by Gwork - LGBTQ+ Professionals & Allies, (panelist), July 2022
The Journey of an LGBTQ+ Entrepreneur by Barclays EagleLabs, (panelist), March 2022
Private event for Diageo, Being LGBTQ in the workplace (guest speaker), February 2022
‘Diversity: It’s Not Just A Trend’ – A View To 2022: Hospitality Moving Forward by Exp101, September 2021
Private Event for Pan Pacific London - Trans Inclusion in Hospitality, September 2022
British Recruitment Awards 2022 - Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the year (finalist)
British Recruitment Awards 2022 - Rising Star of the year, Chris King (finalist)
British Recruitment Awards 2022 - Best New Recruitment Agency (finalist)
The Global Recruiter Awards 2022 - Best Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy (finalist)
Business Travel Awards Europe 2022 – Achievement in diversity, equity and inclusion (finalist)
The Business Travel People Awards 2022 – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion (finalist)
The Italian National Tourist Board LGBT+ Trailblazer of the Year Award 2021 (finalist)
The 2022 Queer Student Awards (judge)