Outie Award Winners, 2008

2,300 participants attend Summit to discuss workplace issues and honor leaders at the annual "Outie" awards

AUSTIN, TX and SAN FRANCISCO, CA – September 15, 2008 – PepsiCo, Goldman Sachs and New York City Comptroller and longtime ally William C. Thompson, Jr. received Out & Equal Workplace Awards (commonly known as "Outies") on September 12 from Out & Equal for advancing fair, safe and equitable work environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The Out & Equal Workplace Awards were presented at the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit, the premier LGBT workplace conference that attracted 2,300 participants who shared best practices on how to advance workplace equality for all. LGBT employees and allies, along with human resources and diversity professional, many representing Fortune 500 companies, participated in the Summit.

Other recipients of the "Outie" Award presented at the Summit gala awards dinner included Chris Crespo of Ernst & Young and Hewlett-Packard's LGBT employee resource group (ERG), HP PRIDE. 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 workplace is more LGBT-friendly than at any time in history. Statistics show that more than 500 major companies today provide protections for employees from discrimination in hiring and firing on the basis of sexual orientation; 463 businesses offer domestic partner benefits to their same-sex employees; and 300 companies prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or expression. Yet the reality remains that there is still no federal law that provides employment nondiscrimination. Because there is no federal law in place, LGBT people can still be legally fired in 30 states.

To review key findings from the Out & Equal Workplace Survey, whose outcomes are captured for the first time in a comprehensive Workplace Culture Report, visit http://www.outandequal.org/news.

"The Summit convened the best corporate and community minds so that employees can return to work with the practical tools they need to help build fair, safe and equitable workplaces," said Selisse Berry, founding executive director for Out & Equal. "The award winners' visionary leadership and forward-thinking programs are helping to create a world where equal means equal. By embracing diversity and equality, companies become stronger and lives are changed for the better."

And the "Outie" goes to ...

Chris Crespo
Chris Crespo of Ernst & Young is honored with the Trailblazer award, presented by Out & Equal board president Tara Bunch and Outie awards committee chair Glynda McGinnis.

Trailblazer Award
Chris Crespo
Crespo is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allies (LGBTA) Inclusive Strategy Leader at Ernst & Young (EY) and co-founded and leads bEYond, a support network within EY for LGBT employees, which continues to expand globally. Largely as a result of her leadership and commitment, Ernst & Young offers domestic partner benefits, includes sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in its EEO policies, and LGBT workplace diversity training. Crespo is the co-chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Corporate Advisory Board and serves on the Board of GenderPAC. She uses her networking skills to share best practices and to learn from other partnerships. She consistently brings together diverse groups and always encourages and empowers people to volunteer, to take on leadership roles and to make financial contributions to help connect people to a greater purpose.

Champion Award
William C. Thompson, Jr.
Thompson is New York City's 42nd Comptroller and has served the public for more than three decades, including former president of the NYC board of education. As Comptroller, he has leveraged the power of the New York City Pension Fund-the fifth largest public pension system in the nation-to convince America's largest companies to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. To date, he has successfully prompted 40 Fortune 1000 companies (most in the Fortune 500) to adopt fully-inclusive policies, and leads the charge year-after-year in urging ExxonMobil to bar such discrimination. Last year, his office released a report "Love Counts" to let New Yorkers know that marriage equality isn't just a moral and ethical issue, but a fiscally responsible move. The report argued that legalization of same-sex marriage could yield $184 million for New York State.

Members of the HP PRIDE Employee Resource Group, accept the ERG of the Year award from Kim Box also of Hewlett-Packard.

Employee Resource Group of the Year Award
Hewlett-Packard's HP PRIDE
HP PRIDE is the oldest identified LGBT Employee Resource Group (ERG) in the U.S. and has a long tradition of contributing within HP and the broader community. Over the past 30 years, HP PRIDE has partnered with management to enact significant internal change, including domestic partner benefits, early adoption of EEO policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and later on gender identity and expression. In 2001 after meeting with then CEO Carly Fiorina, HP PRIDE's leadership team formed a global council, uniting nearly two dozen local groups under one leadership team; later an advisory board of executives was added and has become the model for all HP ERGs. HP PRIDE has used a variety of tools, including Reader's Theater, Building Bridges and Safe Space to educate employees, executives and foster allies within the company.

Patrick Kennedy
Out & Equal board members Stephanie Turner and Janet Smith present the Significant Achievement award to Goldman Sachs & Co., represented by Patrick Kennedy.

Significant Achievement Award
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Goldman Sachs learned early on that to maintain and strengthen its competitive edge requires a diverse workforce that offers the widest possible range of perspectives to its clients. In 2006 in response to an organizational assessment of the firm's diversity progress, they decided to increase its focus on issues of concern to the LGBT community. In 2007, Goldman Sachs convened an LGBT Interbank Conference on Wall Street to serve as a catalyst to make Wall Street a more inclusive environment. Over the past year, in partnership with its LGBT Network, they have increased advocacy and visible support from senior executives, including endorsement for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA); offered employees the ability to self-identify sexual orientation as part of their personal HR data and bi-annual employee climate survey; developed an LGBT-specific training "Working Out: Shaping Your Career as an Out Professional"; and raised awareness internally and across Wall Street by revamping its diversity and inclusion curriculum. In 2008, they were honored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) with a Respect Award and listed at No. 9 on FORTUNE's Best Companies to Work For list and revered for its health-coverage benefits for transgender employees.

Out & Equal executive director Selisse Berry and board president Tara Bunch, present the Workplace Excellence award to PepsiCo, represented by Peggy Moore and Hugh Johnston.

Workplace Excellence Award
PepsiCo is helping define what's next for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally (LGBTA) groups by leading the way with initiatives that continue to raise the bar through broader involvement and corporate giving. A clear and consistent vision, along with communication from senior leadership was paramount to the LGBT initiatives' success. The PepsiCo LGBT network (EQUAL) represents 160,000 employees worldwide and its four chapters span all company brand holdings. Though each chapter has its own organizational structure, an EQUAL website helps employees participate regardless of division or geographic location. In 2002, PepsiCo added sexual orientation to the companywide EEO statement; in 2004 gender identity and expression, along with domestic partner benefits were added. Over the past year, they have contributed more than $1 million to help create safe and equitable work environments through two programs: "Straight for Equality," a program designed to provide businesses with tools and resource linkages at a grassroots level; and "LGBT Inclusion Toolkit for Corporate America," a program to design, test and deliver cutting-edge tools and resources aimed at advancing workplace equality and foster the next of LGBT inclusion. In addition, their AIDS Task Force is reaching out to employees and the broader community of people touched by HIV/AIDS.

Out & Equal™ Workplace Advocates is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in San Francisco, California. Out & Equal champions safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The organization advocates building and strengthening successful organizations that value all employees, customers, and communities.

Media contact: Erik Olvera, eolvera@outandequal.org or (415) 694-6512.