From around the country, forty-five openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business leaders gathered in San Francisco this week to strategize around issues of workplace equality. The group is comprised of out executives and those on an executive career track and is convened annually by Out & Equal, the nation’s leading LGBT workplace advocacy group.
One of the key questions that participants considered is how best to support the rights of LGBT employees throughout their companies. They also used their business acumen to explore the way in which workplace equality makes sense for corporations’ bottom lines.
“The people who gather for the Executive Forum are those who know very personally the strength that comes from bringing all of who they are to work,” said Selisse Berry, Founding Executive Director of Out & Equal. “They know it has helped them become strong corporate leaders and they are committed to creating a safe and equal workplace for others.”
The group heard from powerful speakers, including Roberta Achtenberg, a Commissioner with the United States Commission on Human Rights, who spoke on the history of LGBT advocacy and her belief in the power of the private sector to transform workplaces for LGBT people.
Also speaking was Boris Dittrich, the Advocacy Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Program at Human Rights Watch, who gave an international perspective on LGBT inclusion. Dittrich is a former member of the Dutch parliament and led the successful legislative efforts for same-sex marriage in that country.
Participants and leaders of the event were enthusiastic about their experiences over the past two days.
“We’re here looking at equality in the workplace both nationally and globally,” noted Scott Beth, one of the Executive Forum’s co-chairs. This is a unique opportunity for out leaders to reflect on best practices, learn from one another, and sharpen our leadership skills. There’s no other event like this.”
“The opportunity to be with other out LGBT executives makes an incredible difference,” commented Julie Hogan, the other co-chair of this year’s event. “Business leaders come here to get energized with new ideas both for our individual careers as well as for our companies. This is community at its best.”
Christie Hardwick, Executive Coach, Spiritual Contribution, and Rayona Sharpnack, founder of the Institute for Women’s Leadership, facilitated the program.
Jonathon Aubry, Publisher, The Advocate Group
James Brown, Denver District Sales Manager-MSK, Eli Lilly & Company
Brett Cook, Director, MassMutual Financial Group
Rodney Frazier, Director, eDell Global Online, Dell Inc.
Alec Hughes, Senior Vice President/Marketing Director, Wells Fargo
Nancy Linzy, Academic Dean, St. Louis Community College
Eric Lybeck, Global Privacy Manager, Cargill
David Perel, Partner, Windward Partners
Joe Sadler, Director of Manufacturing, Northrop Grumman
Andy Smith, Director of Corporate Philanthropy, Texas Instruments
Elisabeth Warren, Group leader, Portfolio Management and Operations, Genentech
Scott Willoughby, Senior Corporate Counsel, The Clorox Company
Stewart Anderson, Business Operations Manager, Hewlett-Packard
Steven Evans, Vice President, JPMorgan Chase
Lynda Higgs, Director, Development Operations, Intuit
Casey Horton, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young
Scott Reiber, Director, Public Sector Business Development, Xerox Corporation
Adam Wolf, Operations Manager, Hewlett-Packard
Selisse Berry, Executive Director, Out & Equal
Scott Beth, Vice President of Finance Operations, Intuit
Renee Brown, Director of Marketing, Wells Fargo
Tara Bunch, Senior Vice President, Hewlett Packard
Laurie Burns, President, Bahama Breeze
Kevin Callahan, Vice President Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company
Mark Demich, Vice President, Organizational Development, Sara Lee Corporation
Donna Griffin, Chief Diversity Officer, Chubb Group of Insurance
Julie Hogan, Region Vice President, Xerox Corporation
George A Kalogridis, President, The Disneyland Resort
Charles Lickel, Retired Executive Vice President, Global Research Software Strategy, IBM
Richard Linebaugh, Managing Director, Global Corporate Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Tom Moore, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
Michael Oard, Agency Field Executive, State Farm Insurance Companies
Patrick O’Donnell, Principal, Deloitte & Touche
Robert Pompey, Senior Vice President, TD Bank
Reza Rahaman, Vice President, Research & Development, The Clorox Company
Kayla Shell, Legal Counsel, Executive Director, Dell Inc.
Patrick Strieck, Senior Vice President, West Region Executive, Bank of America
Neil Tallantire, Senior Vice President, Diageo
Atticus Tysen, Vice President of Product Development, Intuit Inc.
Michael Welch, Chief Financial Officer/Partner, Stephan Pyles Enterprises, LLC
Bobby Wilkinson, Zone Marketing Manager, State Farm Insurance Company