The Outies: Champion Award Finalists

The Champion Award recognizes any LGBT person or Ally who has made a significant contribution to advancing equality in their workplace.The Champion Award nominees have shown a unique commitment to LGBT workplace rights and have used their talents to further that cause, even at some risk.

View Workplace Excellence Finalists   View ERG Finalists


Jose Berenguer

Jose Berenguer is CEO of Brazil and Senior Country Officer of J.P. Morgan Chase. As one of the most prominent and well known Bankers in Brazil and Latin America, Jose has a level of influence that he has consistently used to further the LGBT workplace equality cause.  In 2016, Jose approved and helped fund the first ever Out & Equal Brazil Forum, where he also provided the full use of one entire floor of the Sao Paulo office to accommodate the conference.

“Jose personally sends communications to all staff in country to encourage their participation and also launched the Building Bridges training this way.  Jose makes the time for the Brazil LGBT ERG, with a level of accessibility that inspires the leadership team to keep pushing forward.”


Mitchell Harris

Mitchell Harris is the Chief Executive Officer of BNY Mellon Investment Management. Since joining PRISM and becoming its Executive Sponsor, Mitchell has made it a point to educate and embed himself in the conversation to better influence how BNY Mellon continues to enhance its internal environment for LGBT+ employees and drives programming to help the external LGBT+ community.

“Mitchell joined PRISM as a passionate ally and stepped up to take the helm as the group’s Executive Sponsor in 2014 and immediately took it to a personal level. His drive and dedication stems from an intrinsic understanding that there are no bounds to what people can achieve when their voices are heard, their backgrounds are respected, their opinions and insights are valued and their unique contributions reflect their authenticity, as individuals.”


Debbie Lang

Debbie Lang is the HR Employee Relations Manager II at AT&T. Debbie has been a member of LEAGUE at AT&T – the company’s domestic LGBT ERG – since 1995. She has held various positions at the local and national level within the organization. She currently is a board director overseeing workplace and mentoring issues for the organization. As part of her responsibilities, she has been the lead and champion for AT&T’s transgender members and serves as the subject matter expert (SME) on issues relevant to transgender employees. She partners with AT&T HR to ensure benefits for transgender members are on par with all employees. She also focuses on specific issues related to transitioning in the workplace and medical needs.

“As a cisgender employee, I recognize the value that Deb brings to our transgender employees. Being LGBTQA has challenges of its own; yet, being transgender brings further obstacles, which Deb has taken on. I respect not only that she is “out” and braving the world as a lesbian, but also that Deb is a champion for her less-accepted brothers and sisters.”


Jayzen Patria

Jayzen Patria is the Executive Director, Talent Development at NBCUniversal, overseeing executive development for Vice Presidents and above and providing performance consulting for key brands and businesses. Jayzen views his role as an ambassador of both NBCUniversal and the LGBT community. As a result, he consistently works with OUT@NBCUniversal to create a variety of programs, events and initiatives that address the diversity of the LGBT workforce. Notably, he spends time with front line team members at the theme parks in Los Angeles and Orlando, and advocates for flagship events like Pride Parades, Spirit Day, and others that allow all employees to participate. He uses his platform at the Talent Lab, NBCUniversal’s Corporate University, to connect LGBT and ally team members.

“Jayzen consistently makes time on almost every trip to host workshop sessions, attend meet and greets or round tables at dinners with special focus on international markets and TV stations across the US. Often these employees have less connection with company and work in location where it may be less likely that they work with an LGBT colleague.”


Rebecca Powers

Rebecca Powers is the Social Work Spinal Cord Injury Program Coordinator/Chair, LGBTQA at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Rebecca has strived to make Jesse Brown a more inclusive environment to the LGBTQ community since she joined in 2012 and has successfully participated in the training of over 300 nursing and social work staff in the provision of LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare. In 2012, Rebecca co-founded Jesse Brown’s first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allies (LGBTQA) Special Emphasis Program.  She also serves as the facility’s LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator, and facilitates Jesse Brown’s Transgender Veteran Care Committee.

“Ms. Powers truly represents the JBVAMC’s commitment toward diversity and has single-handedly helped create programs, jobs, and training opportunities that directly benefit the recruitment, retention, promotion and career development of those underrepresented groups within our facility.  Her empathic tact allows her to easily communicate with personnel at all levels of senior leadership.  Her background, experience, job knowledge and personality make her a highly sought after individual by all Jesse Brown end-users who require guidance regarding matters of sexual orientation and its connections with healthcare, psychosocial development, social norms, and mental health.”


Ramkrishna Sinha

Ramkrishna Sinha is the Graphics Hardware Engineer at Intel Corporation. Ramkrishna organized Intel’s first participation in the Bangalore Pride Parade for 2016. He believes that as an individual has the journey of coming out from denial to tolerance to acceptance, organizations go through a similar journey. He helped Intel come out as a LGBT friendly employer in India, which is impressive given the legal challenges and social prejudice. Ramkrishna has presented at the 2016 Out & Equal Workplace Summit and has also spoken at various forums like the Diversity Best Practices conference, the Community Business’s ERG Summit etc.

“Ram has been such a strong advocate and voice for the LGBTQ community in India and globally. I mentioned earlier that India is a country where there is social stigma about the LGBTQ community. Yet, Ram has stepped forward, standing up for what he believes in and came up with programs to bring visibility to the LGBT ERG, engage senior leadership, reach out to the larger employee base and create a culture change. He is a global role model and example of what one person can do to make a difference.”


Suzanne Theden

Suzanne Theden is the Senior Director, Quality at UTC Aerospace Systems. Sue supports the advancement of LGBT workplace equality through her relentless participation and increased visibility as an OUT Leader within both the UTAS/UTC businesses and championed the initial ALLY education program at UTC Aerospace Systems. Sue continues her involvement and mentorship with True Colors of CT, a non-profit organization which collaborates with other social service agencies, schools, organizations, and within communities to ensure that the needs of sexual and gender minority youth are both recognized and competently met.

“Since the mid to late 1990’s beginning with Sundstrand and continuing through the company mergers with Hamilton and ultimately Goodrich which is now UTC Aerospace Systems, Sue was a pioneer in a male dominated Engineering and Aerospace field, having to overcome gender and LGBT stereotypes while addressing all challenges of workplace inclusion and diversity. Instead of turning a shoulder, Sue embraced and advocated with equal vigor and commitment an environment positioned to welcoming LGBT employees in a company whose industry was rather set in a status quo tradition.”


Antonio Zappulla

Antonio Zappulla is the Chief Operating Officer at Thomson Reuters Foundation – the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters – a company that employs over 50,000 people worldwide. He is an exceptional young leader who is committed to driving socio-economic change through his work at the Thomson Reuters Foundation and through his strong involvement in the advancement of LGBT inclusion, an area in which he has been championing a number of innovative initiatives, both professionally and in a personal capacity. Antonio is Co-chair of Pride at Work, the global LGBT network at Thomson Reuters, where he has spearheaded the creation of a global LGBT mentorship programme which allows employees from all around the world to connect and mentor each other.

“Antonio is a force for good. He often says ‘if there’s a will there’s a way’, and he acts that way. His strong leadership involvement within the LGBT community is a good example of that. He has an incredibly busy life, yet he manages to find the time to drive the Thomson Reuters internal LGBT network, mentor people, volunteer for LGBT charities and contribute to the advancement and success of number of LGBT organizations and initiatives.”


The Outies will be awarded at the 2017 Workplace Summit in Philadelphia on October 9th-12th to honor individuals and organizations who are leaders in advancing equality for LGBT employees in the workplace.

Don’t forget to register here!