fbpx Skip to main content

2020 Southern States Forum Agenda

The 2020 Southern States Forum will be held on December 4th from 9:00am-2:00pm ET. Through a powerful half-day virtual event packed with interactive workshops and keynotes, the Southern States Forum will equip businesses and their leaders with vital tools and support in their efforts to advance LGBTQ equality across the region. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in dynamic workshops, connect and network virtually, and learn from inspiring speakers and experts in the field of LGBTQ workplace equality.

Attendees also have the opportunity to meet and connect prior to the event through our Southern Forum Networking Meet-Up on December 3rd from 7:30pm-8:30pm ET. Join as Out & Equal facilitates a high-energy networking session via common questions across smaller virtual breakout groups. Register for Southern Forum Networking Meet-Up here.

See agenda below.

Start TimeEnd Time
9:00am10:00amOPENING PLENARY – The Legacy and Future of LGBTQ Inclusion in the South

Halsey M. Cook, Jr., President & CEO (Milliken & Company)
Deena Fidas, Managing Director | Chief Program and Partnerships Officer (Out & Equal)
Ricaye Harris, Director of Diversity & Inclusion (Milliken & Company)
Sandra Evers-Manly, Vice President, Global Corporate Responsibility (Northrop Grumman)
Ben Hasan, SVP and Chief Global Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, (Walmart)
Jennifer Ogle, Head of Employee Relations (Airbus Americas)
Michelle Fullerton, Diversity & Inclusion – Consumer & Small Businesses (Bank of America)
10:15am11:15amMilliken’s Story: Beginning the Road to LGBTQ Workplace Inclusion

Bharat Ganesan, Global Product Marketing Specialist (Milliken & Company)
Dave Brothers, Business Applications Developer (Milliken & Company)
George Shira, Vice President of Human Resources, Chemical Division (Milliken & Company)
Ottilia Scanlon, Director, Learning & Development (Milliken & Company)
Madelyn Gelpi, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Engagement (Out & Equal)
10:15am11:15amUnity Across the Gulf: Highlighting Black and LGBTQ+ Voices from Chevron’s Southern Facilities

Antonia Barrington, Compliance Analyst (Chevron)
Susan Lacey, Communications Specialist (Chevron)
-Elyssa Okkelberg, Materials, Corrosion, and Welding Engineer (Chevron)
-Liz Rayfield, Strategic Project Engineer (Chevron)
-Makamba Sackey, Competency Leader/CTU Coordinator (Chevron)
10:15am11:15amBeyond the Blame Game: Effectively Navigating LGBTQ+/Religious Identities

Deena Fidas, Managing Director | Chief Program and Partnerships Officer (Out & Equal)
-Leslie Funk, Workplace Program Associate (Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding)
-Jamie Henkel, Learning & Inclusion Manager (PFLAG National)
-Jean-Marie Navetta, Director of Learning & Inclusion (PFLAG National)
11:30am12:15pmLUNCH PANEL: LGBTQ & Allies Stories: Tools for Change in the South

Alex Wan, Executive Director of Horizons, Atlanta City Council 2010-2017 (Horizons)
Monique Evans, EquipFin Transaction Coordinator | Deal Closer (Wells Fargo)
Nicole Gibson, Site Director & North American PRIDE Lead (Dell)
Susan O’Farrell, Board Member at Leslie’s Inc., Former CFO, BlueLinx
12:15pm1:15pmPreparing and Engaging Allies in LGBTQ Inclusion 

Scott Mealus, Vice President – Global Human Resources (Bank of America)
Jay Norris, Managing Director  Global Transaction Services, Sales Executive (Bank of America)
Yom Lana Santiago, Assistant Vice President; Project Manager (Bank of America)
12:15pm1:15pm Building Common Ground: A Framework for Conversations that can Move the Dial

Deena Fidas, Managing Director | Chief Program and Partnerships Officer (Out & Equal)
Madelyn Gelpi, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Engagement (Out & Equal)
Steve Smotherman, President (Steve Smotherman Consulting LLC)
1:30pm2:00pmCLOSING PLENARY – A Keynote with CEO Erin Uritus

Erin Uritus, Chief Executive Officer (Out & Equal)
Ricaye Harris, Director, Diversity & Inclusion (Milliken & Company)
Madelyn Gelpi, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Engagement (Out & Equal)


Global workplaces where all people are equal, belong, and thrive.


Out & Equal is the global convener, thought leader and catalyst actively working to achieve workplaces of equality and belonging - supporting LGBTQ+ employees and leaders who thrive in their careers and lives and achieve greater impact on the world.