OUT & EQUAL WORKPLACE SUMMIT CELEBRATES 15TH ANNIVERSARY
- Momentum for LGBT workplace equality & inclusion as 2,000 LGBTA business leaders from 25 countries gather
- Keynotes: Kathy Najimy, Tabatha Coffey, Robert Hanson, Elaine Kaplan, Janet Mock, Selisse Berry & Robbie Kaplan
- Headline entertainment: Thelma Houston and Steve Grand
- Featured Panels on Russia, ENDA, Faith, Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity Issues
- Leaders of the Movement to be honored at Annual Outie Awards
October 23, 2013—The fifteenth anniversary Out & Equal Workplace Summit  is taking place in Minneapolis from October 28 – 31. The 2013 Out & Equal Workplace Summit is expected to draw over 2,000 attendees from over 25 countries to share strategies and best practices to create workplace equality, inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. The Summit comes after a landmark year for progress on LGBT issues and with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act  (ENDA) heading for a vote in the US House of Representatives.
“It’s still legal for LGBT workers to be fired simply for who they are in 29 US states. In 76 countries, it is illegal simply to be LGBT. The Summit is the global gathering of the movement dedicated to a world free of discrimination where we can all bring our full authentic selves to work,” said Selisse Berry , Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. Berry founded the organization in 1996 and since 1999, the hallmark Out & Equal Workplace Summit has grown from 200 pioneers to a global network attracting more than 2,000 attendees.
The event is sponsored by approximately 100 corporations , including presenting sponsors; IBM, Thomson Reuters, and The Walt Disney Company. The Summit coalesces the voice of the business community that stands behind the case for diversity and inclusion.
The Out & Equal Workplace Summit attracts business leaders from around the world and high-profile speakers  including: Kathy Najimy - Actress, Performer, Activist; Tabatha Coffey - Television personality; Janet Mock - Writer, Activist, Founder of #GirlsLikeUs Project; Robert Hanson - CEO of American Eagle Outfitters; Steve Grand - Songwriter, Recording Artist, YouTube hit: All American Boy; Thelma Houston - R&B Artist; Caleb Flood-Goldstick – Songwriter, Recording Artist; Robbie Kaplan – Attorney for DOMA Plaintiff, Edie Windsor; Elaine Kaplan – Director, United States Office of Personnel Management and recently confirmed Judge of the US Court of Federal Claims; Selisse Berry – Founder and CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
“I am honored to be speaking at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit at this amazing moment in the evolution of human rights,” said Kathy Najimy. “As marriage equality spreads across the nation and around the globe, it is vital that we all be treated with dignity in the workplace.”
Around 80% of the expected attendees will be members of LGBTA Employee Resource Groups at Fortune 1,000 companies and many will be presenting during the 100+ workshops , 12 Featured Panels  and Leadership Seminars  that take place over the four days of the Summit. Dell donates equipment for the workshop sessions and panels.
"During this unique time, I feel honored and obligated to demonstrate that each of us with our individuality and diversity can come together to shape the future of business to be a force of positive change in the world,” said Robert Hanson, the openly gay Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle Outfitters, who will be a keynote speaker during the opening session on Tuesday sponsored by Thomson Reuters. Janet Mock, who will also be speaking at the opening session added: “Educating one another by way of our own personal stories is a powerful tool in culture and policy change, and I hope sharing my own corporate workplace and activism experience enlightens and inspires our community to share theirs as well.” YouTube sensation, Steve Grand will be providing entertainment. Later that evening, Deloitte sponsors the opening reception. The Exhibit Hall, featuring over 90 booths, also opens on Tuesday and is sponsored by PepsiCo. The Summit also relies on the support of over 200 volunteers.
Lunch during Wednesday’s general session, sponsored by The Walt Disney Company, is when Berry delivers her keynote address: “The past year has seen incredible advances in the US, France, Brazil, Uruguay and New Zealand, but setbacks in places like Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle-East,” says Berry, continuing: “It’s time for us to take to heart the maxim, “no worker left behind,” and redouble our efforts for non-discrimination in the workplace and the creation of safe, inclusive workplace.” The annual Outie Awards  recognizing significant contributions to workplace equality are also presented at the general sessions.
On Wednesday night, attendees relax with a “Night In” – a special screening of the film Bully – or paint the town rainbow colors on the official “Night Out” social event.
Business leaders and non-profit champions will also be leading the twelve featured panels covering Bisexuality, Transgender Identity, Allies, Voices of Latino and Latina LGBTAs, Faith, Intersections with Disability, Corporate Social Responsibility, the impact in the workplace of the Supreme Court Decision on DOMA, progress towards the passage of ENDA and Successful Executive Sponsors, a panel featuring Howard Ungerleider, Executive Vice President – Advanced Materials, Dow; Jim Wilkinson, Executive Vice President – Communications PepsiCo; and, Matt O’Grady, Executive Vice President – Local Media, Nielsen. Another panel, Uncovering Talent, led by NYU School of Law Professor, Kenji Yoshino, expands on his groundbreaking book Covering – and explores new concepts to create inclusive workplaces.
The Featured Panels include a special Global Series, sponsored by IBM, covering issues of LGBT issues in growth markets, Social Media, Refugees, Global Trends, and Issues in India, China and Russia. The panel, “From Russia - With or Without Love" features Michael Guest, Former Ambassador to Romania.
New this year is a special session during which Robbie Kaplan – the attorney for Edie Windsor - shares her insights into the DOMA ruling. Also new this year is an executive panel of contributors to the book Out & Equal at Work – From Closet to Corner Office featuring openly LGBT executives sharing their coming out stories, including George Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort and Maggie Stumpp, Senior Vice President at Prudential Financial. Another addition is a fun run on Thursday morning sponsored by PepsiCo.
The Out & Equal Workplace Summit will conclude with a reception sponsored by Target and the Gala Dinner on Thursday evening, sponsored by IBM and hosted by political humorist and entertainer, Kate Clinton, featuring keynote remarks by Kathy Najimy and entertainment provided by music legend, icon and R&B Grammy-winner Thelma Houston.
"In the year 2013, equality should extend to everybody in the workplace,” said Thelma Houston. “We are all equal and should be treated that way."
The full schedule for the conference can be found at: http://outandequal.org/2013-schedule 
ABOUT OUT & EQUAL WORKPLACE ADVOCATES
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, based in San Francisco, is the leading global non-governmental organization (NGO) 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 more than 2,000 attendees and support from over 200 U.S. Fortune 1,000 companies. The 2013 Out & Equal Workplace Summit takes place in Minneapolis October 28 - 31.
Today, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates continues educating and empowering its constituents through training and events. Its services include LGBT CareerLink, 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 .
2013 OUT & EQUAL WORKPLACE SUMMIT SPONSORS
The Walt Disney Company
Marsh & McLennan Companies
Bank of America
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
MassMutual Insurance Group
The Clorox Company
Toyota Motor Sales | Toyota Financial Services
American Eagle Outfitters
Andavo Meetings & Incentives
Ernst & Young
Johnson & Johnson
New York Life
Sears Holdings Company
The Nielsen Company
PUBLIC SECTOR (Gov.)
American Institutes for Research
Out for Work
Judicial Arbiter Group
Press Contact: Teddy Basham-Witherington