Outie Awards (the “Outies”) recognize individuals and organizations who are leaders in advancing equality for LGBTQ people in workplaces globally. Outies are awarded at the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit.
This award recognizes an Ally who has made a significant contribution to advancing LGBTQ workplace equality. This person is an action-oriented change maker. They uplift the voices of marginalized groups, have shown a unique commitment to LGBTQ workplace rights, and have used their talents to further that cause, even if at some risk.
The 2021 Ally Changemaker Outie Award honorees are below. The Outie winners were announced at the annual Workplace Summit happening October 6-8, 2021.
Shobha Pandey (she/her), John Deere
Shobha Pandey is a Regional Talent Management Leader for the Southeast Asia region at John Deere. After leading the initiative to build the first female washrooms in one of the company’s factories in India, Shobha realized the need for inclusion at John Deere went beyond gender equality. Shobha pioneered conversations about the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion at John Deere in India. Despite pushback and challenges, she helped create the Rainbow Employee Resource Group in India, which is now one of the most active groups at the company. Additionally, Shobha established a cross-functional team in India, called “Mitr” (which translates to “friends” in Hindi), to focus on LGBTQ inclusion internally. The group includes employees from across the organization – engineering, finance, sales, marketing, and human resources. Shoba is leading the charge to establish gender neutral restrooms, to address LGBTQ+ mental health, to enforce pronoun policies, and to recruit diverse candidates in the Southeast Asia region.
In the nominator’s words: “A changemaker is a person who finds creative solutions to tackle a problem and make a difference. An ally is someone that knows how and where to stand with the LGBTQ community. They stand in front to protect; they stand beside to show partnership and solidarity; they stand behind to quietly provide space to enable other voices to shine. Put these qualities together, you will find Shobha Pandey.”
Catherine Fagan (she/her), FBI
Catherine Fagan is a Supervisory Special Agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Co-Chair of the FBI’s LGBTQ diversity advisory committee. Catherine advocates for greater inclusion for the FBI’s LGBTQ workforce by identifying policies that discriminate against these employees and then working to replace them with new inclusive policies. She recently championed initiatives to change outdated gender codes for FBI documents, to establish gender-neutral restrooms, and to create a mandatory diversity training program for all FBI employees. Catherine helped advance transgender inclusion at the FBI by changing the policy that barred most transgender men from becoming Special Agents and recently added guidance to the FBI’s gender-based physical fitness test to accommodate transgender applicants. She also provided recommendations that require mandatory unconscious bias training for background investigators and polygraph examiners after noticing discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. She coordinates efforts between the LGBTQ community with FBI’s women, Black, API, and disabilities advisory committees and collaborates on projects to ensure the organization’s policies are inclusive of everyone.
In the nominator’s words: “Catherine doesn’t seek the spotlight and instead sees her responsibility as doing the work as an ally alongside her LGBTQ+ constituents and leading by example. Catherine’s professionalism, collaborative efforts, and leadership over the years has been critical to the milestones and achievements the LGBTQ FBI committee has obtained.”
Jo-Anne Kelly (she/her), Citigroup
Jo-Anne Kelly is the Managing Director and Global Head of Employment Law at Citigroup and serves on the global Pride Affinity Steering Committee. She is a leader who strives for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of her role. Jo-Anne is instrumental in leading Citi’s support of LGBTQ+ legal rights. She organized the firm’s support of amicus briefs in the Bostock, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Obergefell, and Windsor U.S. Supreme Court cases. In addition, under Jo-Anne’s leadership, Citi launched a global paid parental leave policy that applies beyond traditional families. She also helped expand adoption and surrogacy benefits. Jo-Anne was responsible for Citi becoming the first bank to disclose their pay gaps for women and other U.S. minorities and she continues to work on policies to address pay inequity at the firm.
In the nominator’s words: “Jo-Anne has been a fierce advocate and ally for the LGBTQ+ community. She continually listens and takes action in response to the feedback of LGBTQ+ colleagues by implementing internal HR initiatives and finding ways to support broader policies for LGBTQ+ rights across the U.S.”