We often discover our greatest strength, creativity and resourcefulness when facing challenges – both individually and as a community. This was one of the key takeaways for the 400 attendees from 140 companies and organizations who gathered at the WTC São Paulo Event Center last Friday for the third annual Out & Equal Brazil Forum.
The event brought together longtime leaders in LGBTI workplace inclusion in Brazil along with newcomers on the inclusion journey – including hundreds attending an Out & Equal event for the first time. The magic that takes place when 400 dedicated leaders come together to connect, share and inspire filled the air as participants moved from plenary sessions to workshop to a raucous Excellence Awards Reception.
“It was an absolutely amazing event! The best one we’ve ever had about LGBTI+ inclusion in our country!” said João Torres of Mais Diversidade.
Out & Equal CEO Erin Uritus electrified the audience with her opening keynote address in which she challenged attendees to pledge to believe in their own belonging: “You are bigger than what is out there – what is inside you is a light that will draw others and outshine darkness. You are worthy, you are whole, and you are seen. You belong.”
Participants got the chance to be bold, brave and authentic as they came out about something they were hiding in a powerful mass participation exercise led by Out & Equal Senior Director of Global Initiatives Steve Roth and Bruno Crepaldi from Presenting Sponsor Itaú Unibanco. Changemaker speaker Yasmin Vitória moved the audience to tears with her inspiring testimony as a young, black, transgender woman in Brazil defying the odds to live an authentic life and to pursue her dreams.
The 2018 Out & Equal Brazil Forum featured 21 panels and workshops on an exciting and diverse range of topics selected from dozens of qualified applicants. The highlight was the lunchtime plenary panel entitled “40 Years of the LGBTI Movement in Brazil: Challenges and Perspectives” featuring five innovative leaders in the Brazilian LGBTI movement, including one of its founders and a living LGBTI treasure, João Silvério Trevisan.
The event concluded in true Brazilian style – with a party! Attendees danced, cheered and celebrated as the winners were announced in the second annual Out & Equal Brazil Excellence Awards. Congratulations to individual winners Adriana Ferreira of IBM, Nélio Georgini da Silva of Prefecture of the City of Rio de Janeiro and Filipe Roloff of SAP, and corporate winners Braskem and Mattos Filho Advogados.
One thing we know to be true – whether in Brazil, the United States or any other corner of the world – we are strongest when we come together and support, cheer and inspire each other in all that we do.
“Today was one of the best days of my life!” said Jurandir Fernandes of Shire Farmacêutica, at the conclusion of the 2018 Out & Equal Brazil Forum.
That’s the power of togetherness and the power of belonging – universal forces that transcend language and borders.