2023 Workplace Summit brings together more than 5,000 leaders & changemakers from across the globe for in-depth sessions on representation, inclusion, and equity in the workplace, and beyond
Summit’s “We Are” theme acknowledges & celebrates the strength, resilience, and unity of the LGBTQ+ community
Workplace Summit commemorates Out & Equal’s 25th anniversary
ORLANDO, FL, SEPTEMBER 15, 2023: Out & Equal, the premier global nonprofit organization working exclusively on LGBTQ+ workplace equity, hosted its annual Workplace Summit within the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL.
The largest LGBTQ+ workplace equity event in the world, this year’s Summit brought together-in-person and virtually-more than 5,000 executives, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) practitioners, Employee Resource Group (ERG) leaders and members, and influencers for multi-day programming that included knowledge and best practice-sharing, workshops, special events, networking, and celebration.
“Summit is a powerful and uniquely transformative experience, which serves as an opportunity to come together as a collective community, celebrate Queer joy and representation, reclaim the movement, and accelerate our work,” said Erin Uritus, Chief Executive Officer of Out & Equal. “It’s a time to focus on the business of belonging and how well-managed workplace diversity—inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community—drives innovation, growth, and meaningful change. It’s a platform to counter the noise and false narratives. It’s a reminder that we are not going anywhere, and that, while forces may attempt to exclude and erase us, we are here and always will be.”
A Celebration of Strength, Resilience, and Unity
Across the United States and around the globe, there is an active effort to erase LGBTQ+ people. This includes incendiary rhetoric and the introduction of hundreds of bills and efforts to restrict the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people—with a specific and bigoted focus towards transgender and nonbinary people.
As Out & Equal commemorated its 25-year anniversary during Summit, it acknowledged the progress made during this period and the change still needed.
This year’s theme, “We Are,” represented a reclamation and reissue of the LGBTQ+ community’s historic rallying cry of “we’re here, we’re Queer…” and underscored the critical moment in which Summit took place. Through speeches, collaborative learning sessions, and engaging conversations, “We Are” served as a reminder of the strength, resilience, and unity of the LGBTQ+ community.
View the “We Are” anthem video here.
Engaging Discussions with the World’s Leading Companies, Influencers, and Advocates
Four days of programming coordinated by Out & Equal brought together influential thought leaders, global subject matter experts, and a Partner community inclusive of the world’s most notable Fortune 500 companies for more than 90 panels and interactive workshops.
The world’s leading and most influential companies including Apple, Bank of America, Dell, Deloitte, Experian, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Uber, The Walt Disney Company, and Wells Fargo, engaged in meaningful discussions and activations that placed LGBTQ+ representation, inclusion, and equity at the center.
Influencers and advocates who included Laverne Cox (she/her), actress, producer, and activist; Alok (they/them), media personality, performance artist, author, and poet; Carson Tueller (he/him), speaker, coach, writer, and advocate for Queer disabled people; and Lea Delaria (she/her) actress, comic, and musician, among others, provided inspiring and thought-provoking remarks.
Workshops addressed the challenges and needs of the LGBTQ+ community. This included engaging in public policy and advocacy, applying an intersectional lens to DEIB work, and the growing role of ERGs in supporting parents, personal safety, and more.
In addition, Out & Equal hosted more than 10 Community Engagement Groups (CEGs) ranging from bi+ to trans/nonbinary, and LGBTQ+ faith. CEGs are an important cross-company mechanism for people to maintain and grow connections and relationships with professionals of like-identities, share common challenges and strategies, and inspire each other through individual stories.
Leading into Workplace Summit, Out & Equal released multiple thought leadership pieces. They included:
- About that B: Bi+ Inclusion at Work. A new resource from Out & Equal co-authored by bi+ advocate Robyn Ochs, the path to bi+ inclusion is illuminated and mapped, with sections focusing on:
- understanding the diversity of identities and experiences inside of bi+ spaces;
- examining the specific challenges faced by bi+ individuals – and looking at why these challenges happen; and
- providing effective, accessible, and clear guidance for organizations, ERGs, and individuals to be active allies to the bi+ community.
- Resources developed in partnership with Bank of America focused on Gen Z.
- Cracking the Gen Z Code: Attracting and Retaining Gen Z’s LGBTQ+ Talent. Designed to debunk and demystify misunderstandings and stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community, the all-new talent acquisition resource leverages relevant statistics to create a clear roadmap for maximizing talent acquisition efforts.
- You’re Here, You’re Queer, and You Need a Job: Mapping Your First Steps as an LGBTQ+ Gen Zer at Work. Getting a first job and thriving at work is hard for anyone. Doing it as a young, Queer person brings about unique challenges and opportunities for change. The toolkit includes tips and strategies for understanding the professional world for those newly entering it.
- Experiences of The Lavender Ceiling: Progress and Continued Challenges Facing out LGBTQ+ Leaders at Work. New research, developed in partnership with Korn Ferry, provides an explanation of “The Lavender Ceiling” and the organizational recommendations designed to reduce systemic bias, improve programs that support queer leaders, and evolve their responses to increased anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Recognizing Impact & Elevating Role Models
For more than 20 years, the Outie Awards have recognized and celebrated individuals, organizational initiatives, and ERGs as role models for advancing equity and belonging for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace, and beyond.
At the Workplace Summit Closing Gala, Out & Equal announced this year’s Outie Award winners across six categories. They include individuals, ERGs, and corporate initiatives advocating, driving, and setting the standard for LGBTQ+ equity and DEIB practices.
- Workplace Excellence: Micron Technology
- Employee Resource Group (ERG) of the Year: Toyota (Spectrum)
- New Employee Resource Group (ERG) Chapter of the Year: Middlesex Health (MH+ PRIDE)
- LGBTQ+ Corporate Advocate of the Year: Amanda Simpson (she/her), Vice President Research and Technology, Airbus Americas
- Ally Changemakers:
- Karla Arnaiz (she/her), Head of Talent & Career Development and DEI for Americas ex US, and Mexico HR, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Lori Leszczynski (she/her), ERG Innovation & Growth Manager, General Motors
- Global LGBTQ+ Advocate of the Year: Abhinav Shikhar (he/him), Regional Leader, Pride Inclusive Community (ERG), Cisco
Learn more about the winners and finalists here: https://outandequal.org/the-outie-awards/2023-outie-awards-nominees/.
For more information about Out & Equal and its mission, please visit www.outandequal.org.
About Out & Equal
Out & Equal is the premier nonprofit organization working exclusively on LGBTQ+ workplace equity, inclusion, and belonging. Through its worldwide programs, Fortune 500 partnerships, and transformative convening events, such as the annual Workplace Summit, Out & Equal helps organizations create a culture of belonging where all LGBTQ+ people can contribute equitably and thrive.
Learn more about Out & Equal here: Out & Equal | Workplace Advocates (outandequal.org)