The Outies: Champion Award

The Champion Award recognizes any LGBT person or Ally who has made a significant contribution to advancing equality in their workplace.The Champion Award nominees have shown a unique commitment to LGBT workplace rights and have used their talents to further that cause, even at some risk.

Roberta Smith

Roberta Smith is currently Assistant Vice President & Senior IT Architect in the Systems Department at State Farm.  As one of State Farm’s first openly gay executives, Roberta has exhibited a keen interest in furthering diversity and inclusion in the enterprise.  She serves as executive advisor for Statefarm’s Pride employee resource group, and the Systems Diversity and Inclusion Council.

“Roberta works to make State Farm more identifiable as a company where LGBT leaders can thrive and excel.    Roberta makes it a point to sit down with upper leadership and have a conversation about how important it is to the organization, and especially to more junior LGBT leaders and associates, to have a visible upper leadership LGBT presence, and serves as an example for them to come out and tell their stories.”

Gina McCarthy

Gina McCarthy is the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Appointed by President Obama in 2009, Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment.  In 2015, Administrator McCarthy announced the first-ever EPA Order establishing clear expectations for inclusion and respectful treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming employees.

“By authorizing EPA to be the first agency in the federal government to collect demographic data on sexual orientation and gender identity from employees, she is setting an incredibly high standard of LGBT-inclusive leadership not only for senior leaders at EPA, but also for the rest of President Obama’s Cabinet.”

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith is a Project Engineer in the Ventures organization within Phantom Works – Boeing. Michelle has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network as well as St. Louis Public Radio where she spoke to her experience of transitioning in the workplace.  She is a member of the Out and Equal Transgender Advisory Committee member where she was an active participant in completing the Workplace Gender Identity and Transition Guidelines.

“Michelle has provided one on one coaching for employees who are currently in transition.  Michelle leverages her personal experience in transitioning to help coach, provide support and hope to employees beginning and in the process of transitioning in the workplace.”

Tom Vilsack

Tom Vilsack serves as the Nation’s 30th Secretary of Agriculture. As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), he is working hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for the tremendous innovation of rural America. In 2015, Secretary Vilsack directed the USDA Office of Civil Rights to develop and produce an hour-long training video covering the important aspects of LGBT worklife, including policies, expectations, and protections which is now mandatory viewing for all USDA employees.

“Secretary Vilsack is the longest serving of President Obama’s Cabinet Secretaries, and the only one who will have served both full terms. His tremendous support and commitment to all USDA employees, but particularly LGBT employees, will be missed.”

Shannon White

Shannon White began her adult working career serving in the United States Army. In 2011, Shannon began her career with Northrop Grumman as a Software Quality Engineer where she participates in the development of software for military aircraft weaponry and surveillance from inception to the final testing and delivery of the software.   She pioneered and currently is Chair of the Pride In Diversity Alliance (PrIDA) ERG at the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems site in Melbourne, Florida.

“Shannon has inspired others to bring their true self to work. Currently at 54 members, the Melbourne PrIDA ERG would not be here today without Shannon’s hard work and dedication.”

The Outies will be awarded at the 2016 Workplace Summit in Orlando, Florida on October 4th-7th to honor individuals and organizations who are leaders in advancing equality for LGBT employees in the workplace.

Don’t forget to register here!