Target, Lockheed Martin, The Dow Chemical Company, Cathy Bessant from Bank of America, and Kevin Jones recognized for their leadership

•    “The #OutieAwards winners are truly advancing workplace equality for all LGBT people” – @Selisse Berry 
•    Today @OutandEqual announced #OutieAwards winners 
•    #OutieAwards first-ever tie for “#LGBT ERG of the Year” – @LockheedMartin @target [short link to PR]
•    #OutieAwards winner for #LGBT “Workplace Excellence” – @DowChemical [short link to PR]
•    #OutieAwards winner for #Champion Award Cathy Bessant, Bank of America
•    #OutieAwards #Selisse Berry Leadership Award awarded this year! Winner is Kevin Jones

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—November 4, 2013:  Five silver ‘Outie’ statuettes were bestowed upon Outie Award winners this week, while 2,200 attendees from around the world gathered at the 15th annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Summit is the leading LGBT professional development conference, equipping attendees with the tools, resources and connections to create equitable and inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The annual Outie Awards honor individuals and companies for their leadership in creating workplace cultures of inclusion and equity for LGBT people. 

The winners were chosen from a competitive slate of nominees and voted on by an independent panel of experts from companies and nonprofits that set the standard for LGBT workplace equality. 

The Champion Award recognizes an ally who has played a pivotal role in advancing equal treatment of LGBT employees on the job. This year’s winner is Cathy Bessant from Bank of America. “We have worked for many years at Bank of America to build a culture of inclusion for our LGBT teammates and their families,” said Bessant. “That work has been expressed in the support of our employees around the world and policies that provide full access to opportunities and benefits. We will continue these efforts so that every person will know that they can be who they are and live their professional life to the fullest.”

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Employee Resource Group of the Year Award recognizes a particular ERG, sometimes referred to as a business group or network, with an exemplary track record of leadership in advocating for LGBT equal rights over the prior year. There was a tie for the LGBT ERG of the Year Award, between Target’s LGBTA Business Council and Lockheed Martin’s PRIDE.

"The LGBTA Business Council, with one of the strongest Ally bases I've ever seen, is more than just a resource group for its peers," said Keri Jones, senior vice president, Merchandise Planning with Target, and the council's executive sponsor. "The team's strategic and holistic approach leaves a lasting positive impact on the workplace, marketplace and the broader community." Maryanne Lavan from Lockheed Martin added: “We believe that every single one of our employees should be respected and valued for who they are and comfortable sharing who they are.”

The Workplace Excellence Award recognizes an employer that has an ongoing commitment to workplace equality, demonstrated by unquestioned leadership, dedication and innovation on behalf of LGBT employees everywhere. This year’s winner is The Dow Chemical Company.

Howard Ungerleider, Executive Vice President, The Dow Chemical Company, said:  “We are proud and honored recipients of this recognition.  Respect for all people is core to Dow’s value system and to enabling EVERY employee to feel they are able to reach their full potential.  Dow's deeply held values of integrity and respect for people are evidenced by our commitment to driving a culture of diversity and inclusion, which is critical to our success, integral to our strategy -- and the right thing to do.”

The Selisse Berry Leadership Award, given only twice since it was first awarded to its namesake in 2008, recognizes an exceptional individual whose visionary leadership, tireless efforts, and remarkable accomplishments have been a critical contribution toward achieving LGBT workplace equality. In addition to leading change in the world of employment, this leader inspires countless individuals to champion workplace equality for all inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, or characteristics. This year’s recipient Kevin Jones has been a lifelong advocate for LGBT issues in the workplace and beyond.

“Please know that this award will always be a reminder to me of the courage and commitment of all of you, and a challenge to me that no matter where I am or what I am doing, I will be a voice for equality and inclusion for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” said Kevin Jones.

The Regional Affiliate of the Year Award recognizes an Out & Equal regional affiliate that has demonstrated commitment to the Out & Equal mission through exceptional programming and sound organizational practices. The Regional Affiliate of the Year award was given to the Seattle Regional Affiliate.

"I am incredibly proud of our Seattle Executive Board, Council, and volunteers whose dedication to educating and developing their peers is making a difference in the lives and careers of out professionals in Seattle," said Michael Mattmiller, Chair of the Out & Equal Seattle Regional Affiliate.

The Seattle Regional Affiliate built impressive coalitions by engaging both local and national companies for the Out & Equal Northwest Regional Summit in June. The Affiliate has also developed a series of online resources to engage constituents. A network of nineteen volunteer led and run regional affiliates carry on the mission of Out & Equal across the U.S.

“We congratulate all our winners,” said Out & Equal founder and Chief Executive Officer, Selisse Berry, adding: “Their commitment and courage expand the frontiers of diversity and inclusion as we create ever more equitable workplaces.”

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit brought together 2,223 business leaders, human resources and diversity professionals, employee resource group leaders, executive sponsors, LGBT employees and allies for a four-day conference to examine issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. Long considered the leading conference on the topic, the event featured more than 100 workshops, panels and speakers, along with cultural programming and entertainment. For more information about the Summit, visit http://outandequal.org/summit-2013.


Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, based in San Francisco, is the leading global nonprofit organization devoted to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) workplace equality and inclusion. Our vision is a world where employees are evaluated on their performance, not their sexual orientation or gender identity, expression or characteristics.

Founded by Selisse Berry in 1996, Out & Equal’s services have quickly expanded to meet the needs of employers and employees in creating safe and equitable work environments. The hallmark Out & Equal Workplace Summit, first held in 1999, has grown to become the largest annual LGBT workplace conference in the world, attracting 3,000 attendees and support from over 200 Fortune 1,000 companies. The 2014 Out & Equal Workplace Summit takes place in San Francisco November 3 - 6.

Today, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates continues educating and empowering its constituents through training and events. Its services include LGBTCareerLink, the world’s only LGBT job bank; the world’s largest LGBT employee resource group registry; and a network of 19 regional affiliates across the U.S.

In 2013, Out & Equal published Out & Equal at Work – From Closet to Corner Office, a groundbreaking anthology of 37 inspirational personal stories that chart the evolution of workplace equality.

For more information go to www.outandequal.org.

Contact: Teddy Basham-Witherington