OUT & EQUAL Workplace Summit Celebrates Diversity on 15TH Anniversary


The fifteenth anniversary Out & Equal Workplace Summit took took place in Minneapolis the week of October 28th through the 31, 2013. Out & Equal Workplace Summit, first held in 1999, has grown to become the largest annual LGBT workplace conference in the world. Over 2,000 attendees from over 25 countries shared strategies and best practices to create workplace equality, inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. Panel presentations on Russia, ENDA Corporate Social Responsibility as well as Bisexuality were featured during the summit.

The organization’s Bisexual Advisory Committee, chaired by Heidi Bruins Green, coordinated the panel discussion entitled “The A to Z on Bisexuality: Bi Experts Speak Out.” The workshop showcased luminaries of the bisexual community and bisexual scholarship. Facilitated by Robyn Ochs, editor of the Bi Women Newsletter and included an update about the state of the bisexual movement and the influences on it from the workplace and popular culture. Panelists included: Heidi Bruins Green, Ellyn Ruthstrom, Denise Penn, Faith Cheltenham, Lauren Beach, and Gary North.

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit drew business leaders from around the world and high-profile speakers including: Kathy Najimy – Actress, Performer, Activist; Tabatha Coffey – Television personality; Janet Mock – Writer, Activist, Founder of #GirlsLikeUs Project; Robert Hanson – CEO of American Eagle Outfitters; Steve Grand – Songwriter, Recording Artist, YouTube hit: All American Boy; Thelma Houston – R&B Artist; Caleb Flood-Goldstick – Songwriter, Recording Artist; Robbie Kaplan – Attorney for DOMA Plaintiff, Edie Windsor; Elaine Kaplan – Director, United States Office of Personnel Management and recently confirmed Judge of the US Court of Federal Claims; Selisse Berry – Founder and CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.

The Summit comes after a landmark year for progress on LGBT issues and with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) heading for a vote in the US House of Representatives.The event is sponsored by approximately 100 corporations, including presenting sponsors; IBM, Thomson Reuters, and The Walt Disney Company. The Summit coalesces the voice of the business community that stands behind the case for diversity and inclusion. The Featured Panels also included a special Global Series, sponsored by IBM, covering issues of LGBT issues in growth markets, Social Media, Refugees, Global Trends, and Issues in India, China and Russia. The panel, “From Russia – With or Without Love” featured Michael Guest, Former Ambassador to Romania.

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, based in San Francisco, is the leading global Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) devoted to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) workplace equality and inclusion whose vision is a world where employees are evaluated on their performance, not their sexual orientation or gender identity, expression or characteristics.


About Author

Denise Penn

Denise Penn is a Southern California-based journalist who has covered issues for the LGBT and HIV-affected community for nearly two decades. While an investigative reporter for the Blade Newsmagazine, her coverage of hate crimes became part of Congressional records. She served as News Editor for the Lesbian News and has contributed to In Los Angeles Magazine, EDGE, and many others. She is also a clinical social worker and brings that perspective to her articles. She produced and hosted an award-winning community television program in Long Beach, California for 12 years.

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