Out & Equal Workplace Summit Honors Inclusive Businesses

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Heidi Green (Center) Chair of the Out & Equal Bisexual Advisory Committee

Though the week of the Summit began with a threat of disruption from Hurricane Sandy, Out & Equal Workplace Summit attendees persevered to advance the momentum of LGBT workplace equality. Attendees from around the world braved the weather during the week of October 30th – November 2nd and gathered at the 14th annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. The Summit included four bisexual-specific workshops which were well-attended by LGBT employees and allies, along with human resources and diversity professionals, many representing Fortune 500 companies. Several businesses were honored at the conference.

Political humorist and entertainer Kate Clinton hosted the Gala Dinner, presented by Hewlett-Packard and Target. Sister Sledge—featuring Kathy Sledge, Suede, and Potomac Fever, an a cappella ensemble of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington provided the evening’s entertainment. At the dinner Out & Equal presented its prestigious Outie Awards to individuals and corporations who have made a significant contribution to workplace equality and continue to do so.

The Out & Equal Summit is the leading LGBT professional development conference, equipping attendees with the tools, resources and connections to create equitable and inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Individuals and companies are nominated for their demonstrated leadership and diversity programs, which help build workplace cultures of inclusion and equity for LGBT people. Five silver ‘Outie’ statuettes were bestowed upon Outie Award winners during the conference. 
 
The 2012 Out & Equal Outie Award winners are:
 
The Trailblazer Award recognizes an LGBT person who has made a significant contribution to advancing workplace equality by helping improve their own workplace or contributing to equality nationally. The Trailblazer Award was given to Lance Freedman, Lockheed Martin.
 
Lance Freedman rallied Lockheed Martin’s LGBT employee resource group, LGBTs and Allies, to transform a traditional “don’t ask, don’t tell” workplace culture for 120,000 people into a fully LGBT-inclusive workplace years before the federal government dismantled the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Lance gathered and groomed an army of advocates across the corporation, coordinated their help to fund and deliver an impressive LGBT Leadership Forum and the defense industry’s first ever “It Gets Better” video, which Lance himself led. Lance played central roles assisting Lockheed Martin to establish LGBT non-profit sponsorships, recruitment at LGBT career fairs, support to LGBT Veterans, five LGBT ERGs, and policy changes ranging from non-discrimination to gender transition.
 
The Champion Award recognizes a non-LGBT person who has played a pivotal role in advancing equal treatment of LGBT employees on the job. This individual will have demonstrated a significant commitment to LGBT workplace rights. The Champion Award was given to Harry van Dorenmalen, IBM.
 
Harry van Dorenmalen, Chair of IBM Europe, created a structure within IBM to drive progress on LGBT issues and started numerous initiatives leading to significant improvements both within IBM and in the broader business and LGBT communities outside IBM.
He enabled, supported, and ensured that IBM executive management teams in all European countries have included LGBT equality and inclusion on their agendas.
Harry regularly speaks about IBM’s priorities supporting diversity and LGBT inclusion at external LGBT events and gives interviews to the media on LGBT topics.
Harry encourages and empowers others to show leadership and to make change happen. He is a terrific advocate, an inspirational leader, and a true straight ally.
 
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Employee Resource Group of the Year Award recognizes a particular ERG, sometimes referred to as a business group or network, with an exemplary track record of leadership in advocating for LGBT equal rights over the past year. The LGBT ERG of the Year Award was given to OutServe (U.S. Department of Defense).
 
OutServe-SLDN—the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel—was instrumental in overturning the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which forced LGBT service members to make the difficult decision of being fired for disclosing their identity, or remaining in the closet. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. OutServe-SLDN represents more than six thousand LGBT service members, making it the largest LGBT employee resource group in the United States.
 
The Workplace Excellence Award recognizes an employer that has an ongoing commitment to workplace equality, demonstrated by unquestioned leadership, dedication and innovation on behalf of LGBT employees everywhere. The Workplace Excellence Award was given to Google.
 
Google is a leader in establishing innovative policies that protect and affirm LGBT people in the workplace. From providing transgender sensitivity training to employees, to establishing some of the very best benefits for transgender people in the world, Google has rightly earned its 100% Corporate Equality Index rating. Recently, Google worked in conjunction with the It Gets Better Project to create a national advertising campaign, profiling how the It Gets Better project has helped thousands share their own stories on YouTube, forever impacting the lives of at-risk LGBT youth. Externally, the company has been a leader in empowering non-profit organizations to drive change in the broader community and has publically supported expanding LGBT rights at the federal level, including filing amicus briefs to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
 
Regional Affiliate of the Year
The Regional Affiliate of the Year honor is awarded to a regional affiliate that has demonstrated commitment to the Out & Equal mission through exceptional programming and sound organizational practices. The Regional Affiliate of the Year award was given to the NY Fingerlakes Regional Affiliate.The New York Fingerlakes Regional Affiliate has built impressive coalitions by engaging local companies who are champions of workplace diversity. These coalitions and partners provided the framework for the development of Out & Equal’s very first regional Workplace Summit in 2011. The Affiliate has also developed a series of “Work it Out” events for college students help prepare them for job interviews, while providing a showcase for local businesses to brand their companies as welcoming and affirming. The Affiliate is a true leader in localizing the mission of Out & Equal in the New York Fingerlakes region.
 
 
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is committed to ending employment discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. 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.

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