Out & Equal Hosts First Annual Dinner

Inaugural Dinner Kicks-off Pride Season and Raises Vital Funds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 18, 2008 — SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Out & Equal Workplace Advocates marked ten years of championing workplace equality and officially kicked-off the Pride season on June 12th by hosting an inaugural fundraising dinner at the Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco. The sold-out gala event attracted more than 300 business leaders, community members and allies, and raised funds for Out & Equal's workplace education and advocacy programs. Event images can be viewed at

"During the last ten years we've clearly come a long way, but we still have a way to go. There are still laws and workplaces that need to change," said Selisse Berry, executive director of Out & Equal. In 1996, only 5% of the nation's largest employers included sexual orientation in their equal employment opportunity policies (EEO) and no one was even talking about gender identity. Today, a staggering 98% of the largest employers include sexual orientation and 40% include gender identity in their EEO policies.

Walter Schubert, the founder of GFN (Gay Financial Network) and the first openly gay trader on the New York Stock Exchange, and Rev. Dr. Jane Spahr, a long-time community activist and the first woman ordained as a Presbyterian minister in the Pittsburgh area, were honored for their leadership and ongoing service to the LGBT community. The gala dinner co-chairs were Robert Hanson, president of Levi Strauss Americas and Jane Harper, director of collaborative innovation at IBM.

Selisse Berry, the founding executive director of Out & Equal, received the newly-created Selisse Berry Leadership Award for her visionary leadership and accomplishments towards workplace equality. In the future this namesake achievement award will be given to a business or community leader whose dedication significantly advanced safe and equitable work environments.

Silver-level sponsor: PricewatherhouseCoopers LLP; bronze-level sponsors: AAA, Wells Fargo, LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson Company, Levi's, PaulHastings, Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab, Booz Allen Hamilton, Kenneth McNeely-AT&T, IBM, and Coors.

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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.

Press Contacts:

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


For larger images, please click a link below each image.


Selisse Berry, Walter Schubert, and Rev. Dr. Jane Spahr

Selisse Berry, founding executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, flanked by award recipients Rev. Dr. Jane Spahr, the first woman ordained as a Presbyterian minister in the Pittsburgh area in 1974, and Walter Schubert, founder of The Gay Financial Network and the first openly gay trader on the New York Stock Exchange. Out & Equal marked ten years of advancing workplace equality by hosting an inaugural gala on June 12, 2008, at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco which attracted by more than 300 business and community leaders.

Selisse Berry with Jose Cisneros

Jose Cisneros, treasurer for the City and County of San Francisco, congratulates Selisse Berry, the founding executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, for marking ten years of advocating for workplace equality. Out & Equal marked ten years of advancing workplace equality by hosting an inaugural gala on June 12, 2008, at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco which attracted by more than 300 business and community leaders.

Selisse Berry

Selisse Berry, the founding executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, accepts the Selisse Berry Leadership Award for her visionary leadership, tireless efforts and accomplishments. Out & Equal marked ten years of advancing workplace equality by hosting an inaugural gala on June 12, 2008, at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco which attracted by more than 300 business and community leaders.

Walter Schubert

Out & Equal gala dinner co-chair Robert Hanson (background), president of Levi Strauss Americas, presents Walter Schubert, founder of The Gay Financial Network and the first openly gay trader on the New York Stock Exchange, an award for being an exceptional LGBT business leader and his ongoing service to the LGBT community. Out & Equal marked ten years of advancing workplace equality by hosting an inaugural gala on June 12, 2008, at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco which attracted by more than 300 business and community leaders.

Selisse Berry, Jane Harper, Vicki Shaw and the Rev. Dr. Jane Spahr

Rev. Dr. Jane Spahr, a retired Presbyterian minister receives an award for her tireless service on behalf of the LGBT community, while dinner co-chair and director at IBM Jane Harper, founding executive director at Out & Equal Selisse Berry, and event emcee Vicki Shaw looks on. Out & Equal marked ten years of advancing workplace equality by hosting an inaugural gala on June 12, 2008, at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco which attracted by more than 300 business and community leaders.

Jane Harper, Robert Hanson, and Vicki Shaw

Out & Equal gala dinner co-chairs, Jane Harper, director of collaborative innovation at IBM looks on as Robert Hanson, president of Levi Strauss Americas, addresses more than 300 business and community leaders, while comedian emcee Vickie Shaw reviews her notes. Out & Equal marked ten years of advancing workplace equality by hosting an inaugural gala on June 12, 2008, at the Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco.

Jane Harper, Robert Hanson, and Vicki Shaw

Out & Equal gala dinner co-chairs, Jane Harper, director of collaborative innovation at IBM looks on as Robert Hanson, president of Levi Strauss Americas, addresses more than 300 business and community leaders, while comedian emcee Vickie Shaw looks on. Out & Equal marked ten years of advancing workplace equality by hosting an inaugural gala on June 12, 2008, at the Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco.

Photos © Alain McLaughlin.