LGBT executives from the nation's largest corporations explore actions to advance workplace equality

SAN FRANCISCO March 31, 2011 From around the country, forty-five openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business leaders gathered in San Francisco this week to strategize around issues of workplace equality. The group is comprised of out executives and those on an executive career track and is convened annually by Out & Equal, the nation’s leading LGBT workplace advocacy group.

One of the key questions that participants considered is how best to support the rights of LGBT employees throughout their companies. They also used their business acumen to explore the way in which workplace equality makes sense for corporations’ bottom lines.

“The people who gather for the Executive Forum are those who know very personally the strength that comes from bringing all of who they are to work,” said Selisse Berry, Founding Executive Director of Out & Equal. “They know it has helped them become strong corporate leaders and they are committed to creating a safe and equal workplace for others.”

The group heard from powerful speakers, including Roberta Achtenberg, a Commissioner with the United States Commission on Human Rights, who spoke on the history of LGBT advocacy and her belief in the power of the private sector to transform workplaces for LGBT people.

Also speaking was Boris Dittrich, the Advocacy Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Program at Human Rights Watch, who gave an international perspective on LGBT inclusion. Dittrich is a former member of the Dutch parliament and led the successful legislative efforts for same-sex marriage in that country.

Participants and leaders of the event were enthusiastic about their experiences over the past two days.

“We’re here looking at equality in the workplace both nationally and globally,” noted Scott Beth, one of the Executive Forum’s co-chairs. This is a unique opportunity for out leaders to reflect on best practices, learn from one another, and sharpen our leadership skills. There’s no other event like this.”

“The opportunity to be with other out LGBT executives makes an incredible difference,” commented Julie Hogan, the other co-chair of this year’s event. “Business leaders come here to get energized with new ideas both for our individual careers as well as for our companies. This is community at its best.”

Christie Hardwick, Executive Coach, Spiritual Contribution, and Rayona Sharpnack, founder of the Institute for Women’s Leadership, facilitated the program.  

 

Participants included:

Jonathon Aubry, Publisher, The Advocate Group

James Brown, Denver District Sales Manager-MSK, Eli Lilly & Company

Brett Cook, Director, MassMutual Financial Group

Rodney Frazier, Director, eDell Global Online, Dell Inc.

Alec Hughes, Senior Vice President/Marketing Director, Wells Fargo

Nancy Linzy, Academic Dean, St. Louis Community College

Eric Lybeck, Global Privacy Manager, Cargill

David Perel, Partner, Windward Partners

Joe Sadler, Director of Manufacturing, Northrop Grumman

Andy Smith, Director of Corporate Philanthropy, Texas Instruments

Elisabeth Warren, Group leader, Portfolio Management and Operations, Genentech

Scott Willoughby, Senior Corporate Counsel, The Clorox Company

Stewart Anderson, Business Operations Manager, Hewlett-Packard

Steven Evans, Vice President, JPMorgan Chase

Lynda Higgs, Director, Development Operations, Intuit

Casey Horton, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young

Scott Reiber, Director, Public Sector Business Development, Xerox Corporation

Adam Wolf, Operations Manager, Hewlett-Packard

Selisse Berry, Executive Director, Out & Equal

Scott Beth, Vice President of Finance Operations, Intuit

Renee Brown, Director of Marketing, Wells Fargo

Tara Bunch, Senior Vice President, Hewlett Packard

Laurie Burns, President, Bahama Breeze

Kevin Callahan, Vice President Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company

Mark Demich, Vice President, Organizational Development, Sara Lee Corporation

Donna Griffin, Chief Diversity Officer, Chubb Group of Insurance

Julie Hogan, Region Vice President, Xerox Corporation

George A Kalogridis, President, The Disneyland Resort

Charles Lickel, Retired Executive Vice President, Global Research Software Strategy, IBM

Richard Linebaugh, Managing Director, Global Corporate Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Tom Moore, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

Michael Oard, Agency Field Executive, State Farm Insurance Companies

Patrick O'Donnell, Principal, Deloitte & Touche

Robert Pompey, Senior Vice President, TD Bank

Reza Rahaman, Vice President, Research & Development, The Clorox Company

Kayla Shell, Legal Counsel, Executive Director, Dell Inc.

Patrick Strieck, Senior Vice President, West Region Executive, Bank of America

Neil Tallantire, Senior Vice President, Diageo

Atticus Tysen, Vice President of Product Development, Intuit Inc.

Michael Welch, Chief Financial Officer/Partner, Stephan Pyles Enterprises, LLC

Bobby Wilkinson, Zone Marketing Manager, State Farm Insurance Company