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 a particular Employee Resource Group (ERG) that has a proven track record of success. A top contender will be an ERG that is continuously elevating best practices, implementing intersectional and collaborative programming with other ERGs, and advocating for LGBTQ equality in its workplace.
The 2021 ERG of the Year Outie Award honorees are below. The Outie winners were announced at the annual Workplace Summit happening October 6-8, 2021.
OPEN (Oracle Pride Employee Network for LGBTQ and Allies)
OPEN, Oracle’s LGBTQ+ ERG, started in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010. Since then, it has become the largest ERG at the company with 36 chapters and membership across 45 countries. OPEN leadership requires that each global region have two co-leads to ensure the specific needs of local chapters are addressed. OPEN is responsible for Oracle’s inclusive transgender healthcare benefits and policies for the transgender and nonbinary community. OPEN’s efforts to instill a sense of belonging include working with senior leaders to record videos that make explicit how much the LGBTQ+ community belongs in each of their teams. Notably, the ERG’s commitment to intersectionality led to OPEN’s leadership advocating for the creation of Oracle’s Executive Diversity Council which spearheads inclusion initiatives across the company. OPEN’s programming also includes events conducted other ERGs, such as those representing Latino, women, and military employees.
In their own words: “The only place I feel safe, is when I come to work.’ – anonymous Oracle Employee.”
Out Front, Capital One
Out Front, Capital One’s LGBTQ+ BRG, has a mission to foster open channels of communication with leaders and allies and to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues across Capital One and in the communities that the bank serves. Out Front includes 17 chapters with over 35,000 members that extend across the U.S., UK, Canada, the Philippines, and India. The BRG is respected across all levels of the company and is regularly invited to weigh in on company LGBTQ+ policy – such as the development of gender-neutral restroom guidance – and collaborate with other groups on diversity initiatives across Capital One. Notable, Out Front collaborated with Capital One leadership this year to make a direct investment to the LGBTQ+ community of more than $500,000 in funding to non-profit organizations focused on racial justice and transgender and nonbinary inclusion.
In their own words: “Out Front is creating an inclusive environment, raising awareness and visibility of LGBTQ+ issues, and bringing together a community to create change. The people I’ve met through Out Front have been some of the best resources for both my own professional and personal development.”
GLOBE+, Booz Allen Hamilton
From GLOBE+’s earliest days in 1999, the group has served as a catalyst for action on LGBTQ issues within the company on issues such as domestic partner recognition, transgender-inclusive benefits, and protecting LGBTQ service members’ right to serve. Today, the group focuses on the retention of employees through learning and development, on the recruitment of talent through strategic pipeline initiatives and outreach, on reputation-building through community engagement and inclusive storytelling in marketing, and on resilience through support advocacy and intersectional program. A leading example of GLOBE+’s initiatives is “TransAct,” a special cohort of transgender and nonbinary members who work to advance the firm’s policies around gender expansive inclusion, including transitioning on the job and mentorship programs. This program is especially impactful because the firm’s largest client, the Pentagon and Department of Defense, is the largest employer of transgender Americans.
In their own words: “For the first time in my career, I’m in a firm where I feel celebrated – not just tolerated. CELEBRATED!” – Crystal Simmons, leader in Booz Allen’s cyber practice, queer African-American woman
GM PLUS, General Motors
For 21 years, General Motors’ LGBTQ+ ERG, GM PLUS, has been an innovator in LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion. Their presence is global. Since the ERG’s inception, non-U.S. chapters have been established in Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, and South America. While many ERGs struggle to sustain senior executive level support, GM PLUS created a 10-person Executive Advisory Group of LGBTQ+ and ally executives. The group also created a specific intersectionality board chair position on the ERG leadership team to advance intersectional initiatives between ERGs. Their commitment to intersectionality is also evident in their join programming with other ERGs, including monthly cross-ERG meetings.
In their own words: “Our dedication to increasing collaboration between ERGs across the company has led to a stronger community of allies for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the communities that the other ERGs represent, increased learnings to understand intersectionality, and increased ERG membership across multiple ERGs. And most importantly, celebration and awareness of multiple communities now extends beyond their ‘observed months.”