Out & Equal to Host Workplace Summit in Austin, Texas

Keynote Speakers to Include Syndicated Columnist Arianna Huffington and Former U.S. Ambassador to Romania Michael Guest, among Others


July 29, 2008 — SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the only national nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to advancing workplace equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, expects nearly 3,000 attendees to gather at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, September 10-13 for the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit. For more information or to register, visit www.outandequal.org. The early bird registration deadline is August 8, 2008.

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit attracts human resources and diversity professionals, LGBT employees and straight allies to share best practices, vital information and resources to address workplace issues that impact LGBT people. The Summit’s programmatic line-up includes more than 150 workshops, world renowned keynote speakers, panel discussions, numerous networking opportunities, and pre-Summit seminars designed around timely issues that affect the ever-changing workplace.

The theme of this year’s conference “Creating Connections: Building Progress Together,” embraces the philosophy that safe and equitable workplaces for all will result when individuals build, cultivate and educate their professional and personal networks on the societal cost of discrimination.

“This year’s summit brings together a ‘who’s who’ of today’s thought leaders,” said Selisse Berry, founding executive director of Out & Equal. “In today’s competitive labor market, employers who don’t take lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality seriously risk losing out to those who do. It’s always the right time to do the right thing. And workplace equality for all is the right thing.” The Summit aims to raise awareness about the negative impact of employment discrimination and to support businesses and employees to sustain equitable and safe work environments for all.

Keynote speakers at the 2008 Workplace Summit include:

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor of the HuffingtonPost.com, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of ten books. She is also co-host of "Left, Right & Center," public radio's political roundtable program. Her weekly progressive commentary is syndicated in newspapers across the country. Her new book, On Becoming Fearless...In Love, Work, and Life was published in September.

Michael Guest enjoyed a distinguished career serving his country in the U.S. Department of State from September 1981 through December 2007. He is now a private consultant. During his 26-year career as a foreign service officer, Guest held a range of demanding executive-level assignments. Overseas, he served with distinction as U.S. ambassador to Romania, deputy chief of mission in the Czech Republic, and deputy political counselor in France. While in Washington, he served as principal deputy assistant secretary, then acting assistant secretary for legislative affairs and a White House assistant press secretary.

Keith Boykin is the editor of The Daily Voice newspaper. He is a host of the BET television show My Two Cents, a New York Times best-selling author of three books, and a frequent political commentator on CNN. Educated at Dartmouth and Harvard, Boykin attended law school with U.S. Senator Barack Obama and served in the White House as a special assistant to President Clinton. Boykin has been actively involved in progressive causes since he worked on his first congressional campaign while still a student in high school. He is a veteran of six political campaigns, including two presidential campaigns.

Donald R. "Don" Knauss was named chairman and chief executive officer of The Clorox Company in October 2006. Prior to joining Clorox, Knauss spent 12 years with The Coca-Cola Company. Knauss previously held a variety of positions in marketing and sales with the Frito-Lay and Tropicana divisions of PepsiCo, Inc. He began his business career as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble.

Ken McNeely, president of AT&T California, was appointed to his current position in November 2005, following the close of the historic merger between SBC Communications Inc. and AT&T Corp. McNeely began his career with AT&T in 1991, as a commercial litigation attorney in Atlanta. Throughout his career he has held numerous positions in the legal and legislative affairs organizations.

Megan Wallent, a general manager at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, was known to the world as Michael until November of 2007. During more than 11 years at Microsoft, Wallent has been responsible for delivering multiple versions of Internet Explorer, has lead a large team that built major portions of Windows Vista, and currently leads a team in the Windows Server and Tools Division. In her role at Microsoft, Wallent is a frequent conference speaker and has represented Microsoft in congressional testimony on Internet privacy issues in the summer of 2001. Wallent transitioned on the job in the late fall of 2007.

National co-chairs for the 2008 Workplace Summit include Kayla Shell, legal director at Dell; Victor Martinez, senior engineer at Freescale Semiconductor; and Donna Rose, transgender advocate. The Summit›s Presenting Sponsors are Dell and Deloitte.

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Out & Equal Workplace Advocates™ is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. 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. See our website, www.outandequal.org, for more details.

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