Here’s to a discrimination-free workplace and, while we’re at it, a discrimination-free world… Unfortunately good intentions are rarely enough to establish a fair playing field in life. So here’s to forward-thinking organizations like Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the largest nonprofit in the world dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
According to the San-Francisco-based nonprofit’s impressive mission statement, “We believe that people should be judged by the work they do, not by their sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day, we work to protect and empower employees to be productive and successful — so they can support themselves, their families, and contribute to achieving a world free of discrimination for everyone.”
Launched in 2007, the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit features relevant keynote speakers and in-depth workshops designed to foster inclusive workplaces and help forge business networks between the more than 2,500 attendees. Presented by IBM and Hewlett Packard, the 2012 conference will be held this year at the Baltimore Convention Center, October 29 through November 1.
Check out some of the scheduled speakers:
Benjamin Todd Jealous – President of the NAACP; a Rhodes Scholar, he is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford University, the past president of the Rosenberg Foundation and served as the founding director of Amnesty International’s US Human Rights Program. As President of the NAACP, he has opened national programs on education, health, and environmental justice.
Tammy Smith – Out & Equal is excited to announce that Tammy Smith, the highest ranking openly LGBT officer currently serving in the military, will deliver remarks during the Gala Dinner on November 1.
Judy Shepard – since her son’s murder in a notorious anti-gay hate crime in Laramie, Wyoming, Judy had been a tireless advocate for equality and respect for human dignity and one of the most recognizable straight allies to the LGBT community.
This year’s conference also serves to introduce the nonprofit’s anthology Out & Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office. “The book chronicles personal narratives from 36 LGBT and allied executive trailblazers who have conquered adversity and gone on to illustrious careers where they’ve ushered in policies in support of the LGBT community in the workplace,” according to PR materials.
Edited by Selisse Berry, Out & Equal at Work… features writing by leaders from Fortune 500 companies like George Kalogridis, president of the Disneyland Resort; Deborah Dagit, VP and Chief Diversity Officer, Merck; and Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, VP and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Campbell Soup. Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, shares his story of being an ally to the LGBT community. The book is set to release early next year — contributors will attend the pre-release party at the conference.
Clorox CEO Don Knauss says the book “ensures employees can bring their whole selves to work every day. Not only is this the right thing to do, but I believe it has profound benefits on employee engagement, retention, productivity and, ultimately, business results.”
Xerox Corporate Vice President Sophie Vandebroek observes that “these are the stories that executives around the world should hear, coming from the brave voices of smart, successful executives who are making important contributions in business, in government and in the ways they conduct their lives with dignity and integrity.”
Online registration for the summit is now closed. Register onsite beginning October 29.