A Message from Selisse:
For 20 years, Out & Equal has been my work, my community, my home.
And now with Out & Equal stronger than ever, I know this is the right time to make a change. I am pleased to let you know that I will be transitioning from founding CEO to an advisory role in August.
I’ve often shared my story of going to seminary to become a Presbyterian minister and the sadness I experienced when I learned that I could not follow my chosen career path, simply because of who I love. As I was starting Out & Equal, I realized I was creating an organization I wished could have been there for me during that difficult time. And, I am incredibly grateful for the gift of getting to be there for so many others.
In divinity school we shared moments of experiencing a calling– I thought my calling was to the church but in fact, it was to you.
We have accomplished so much together. Together, we’ve transformed companies into embassies of equality. Together, we’ve seen more significant shifts in corporate policy on inclusion than anyone could have possibly imagined. Together, we’ve inspired governments in the US and around the world to embrace principles of diversity and to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. Together, we have bravely put wedding pictures on our desk, we’ve ensured that executives don’t have to go back in the closet as they get promoted and young people can start their careers as their whole, authentic selves. Together.
As I reflect on the past 20 years, it is clear to me that I am ready, and Out & Equal is ready, for me to transition from our Founding CEO to a role of advisor. I am so grateful for your support, advocacy, and commitment to this work– it is my confidence in you that has made me so sure this is the right time for this transition.
Founding this organization and serving as CEO for 20 years has been a privilege beyond my wildest ambitions. The gratitude I have in my heart for the many people that I’ve gotten to know and love over these two decades will live with me always. The deep pride I have in the accomplishments we’ve achieved together and the accomplishments I know Out & Equal will continue to achieve will last me my lifetime. And the faith that I have that Out & Equal will win global LGBT workplace equality will burn as brightly for the next 20 years as it has since the first day we began this journey together.
Yours in Equality— today and always,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chrissy Faessen [email protected] /c 703.828.7769
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Founder and CEO Selisse Berry Steps Down as CEO and Moves into Advisory Role After 20 Years of Visionary Leadership
(March 15, 2017, San Francisco, CA) — Today, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Founder and CEO, Selisse Berry, announced she will be stepping down as CEO and moving into an advisory role in August 2017.
Selisse started Out & Equal in 1996, after her own experience with workplace discrimination, at a time when few LGBT people were out at work and discrimination was widespread.
Today, thanks to Selisse’s vision, dedication, and collaboration, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies welcome lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees with inclusive policies.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to create and lead this incredibly important organization. In partnership with hundreds of the world’s largest multi-national corporations we have achieved more for LGBT workplace equality than I ever dreamed possible 20 years ago,” said Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Founder and CEO Selisse Berry.
Berry started out by having one-on-one conversations with business leaders, sparking the relationships and building the business and human case for welcoming LGBT people into the workplace.
“After her personal experience with workplace discrimination, Selisse Berry turned to action: launching one of the most successful campaigns for LGBT equality of the last 20 years,” said Donna Griffin, Board Co-Chair of Out & Equal. “Over the course of two decades she built Out & Equal into the global, thriving, $8 million nonprofit organization that it is today. Her work is an inspiration, and her legacy will continue in the work of Out & Equal.”
Today, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates has grown from a one-woman operation to a global organization with hundreds of corporate partners and an international reach.
“When Selisse began her work in 1996, only four percent of Fortune 500 companies included sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies,” said Out & Equal Board Co-Chair and General Manager at GE Charlene Grabowski. “Today, 92 percent of them have inclusive policies. Selisse’s work transformed the landscape and showed what is possible when determination, collaboration, and vision come together,” Grabowski continued. “She continues to be a good friend and advisor to GE in our work in workplace equality. We appreciate her and the years of hard work.”
Today, the business community includes some of the most vocal supporters of LGBT rights, as seen when states like Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, and most recently, Texas, proposed legislation targeting LGBT people.
“Selisse built a global network with reach in every country multi-national corporations do business in. Her legacy will be that major companies now serve as footprints of equality in some of the most dangerous countries LGBT people live in. Her work has changed the lives of LGBT people all over the world,” said Accenture’s Group Chief Executive of Products Operating Group and Out & Equal Board Member, Sander van’t Noordende.
Chief Control Officer at First Data Cindy Armine-Klein shared, “Not only did Selisse Berry help to build a world in which more LGBT people can be out at work without fear of discrimination, but thanks to her visionary leadership LGBT people are thriving at work, and multi-national businesses and the economy all benefit. No one else could have made such an impact on our community”
The organization has launched an executive search to ensure its ongoing success as it continues to build partnerships with business leaders in the U.S. and globally to ensure LGBT can thrive in their workplaces.
Out & Equal is the worlds’ premier nonprofit dedicated to achieving global LGBT workplace equality.