Out Leadership grew out of two industry-specific business initiatives — Out on the Street® and Out in Law — and three cross-industry talent accelerators for LGBT+ leaders: OutNEXT, OutWOMEN, and Quorum. We began in 2011 with 6 founding firms and now count more than 70 of the world’s leading companies across 13 industries as members. In every global business sector, Out Leadership has been instrumental in making LGBT+ equality a priority in global C-Suites. Through executive events, talent initiatives and periodic communications, we lead the conversations that inspire Out Leaders and multinational companies to grow business through inclusion.
To create Return on Equality, we provide global businesses with the tools for innovation and transformation. Change begins at the top, so we create Summits, Talent Accelerators and Strategic Insights for CEOs who seek to realize the positive business impacts of inclusion.
When Todd first established Out on the Street in 2011, Out Leaders were just mobilizing as a business voice. Through Return on Equality, a concept he introduced in his first summit, he has helped them become a cultural force.
Todd has worked as an investment banker, financial advisor and diversity leader. He created the first team of financial advisors on Wall Street to focus on the LGBT+ community, bringing $1.5 billion in new assets to Merrill Lynch. Todd has also led pioneering equality initiatives for Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse.
He serves on the non-profit boards of the Williams Institute of UCLA, The Palette Fund, the Global Equality Fund of the United States Department of State and Lambda Legal, and on the National Advisory Council of the Stonewall National Archives & Museum. Todd was founding chair of Jeffrey Fashion Cares, which he ran for 10 years; he is a graduate of Duke University.
Out Leadership wouldn’t exist without a generation of change-making CEOs. We’ve successfully made the business case for LGBT+ equality a guiding principle for many of the world’s most influential business leaders — and they helped us built the world’s most influential LGBT+ network.
Todd Sears is the Founder and Principal of Out Leadership, the global LGBT+ business network trusted by CEOs and multinational companies to drive Return on Equality®. Out Leadership creates executive events and insights that help businesses realize the economic growth and talent dividend derived from inclusion, and convenes three groundbreaking talent accelerators: OutNEXT, the first global leadership development program for the next generation of LGBT+ talent; Quorum, which seeks to advance the conversation around LGBT+ diversity in corporate governance; and OutWOMEN, which convenes and celebrates LGBT+ women in business. Todd began his career as an investment banker before moving to Merrill Lynch to become a Financial Advisor, where he created the first team of financial advisors on Wall Street to focus on the LGBT+ community and brought $1.5 billion of new assets to the firm. Todd then moved into diversity leadership, pioneering equality initiatives first at Merrill Lynch and then at Credit Suisse. Sears serves on the non-profit boards of the Williams Institute of UCLA, The Palette Fund, the Global Equality Fund of the United States Department of State and Lambda Legal, and on the National Advisory Council of the Stonewall National Archives & Museum; he was the founding chair of Jeffrey Fashion Cares, which he ran for 10 years. He is a graduate of Duke University.
Marco Martinot joined Out Leadership in 2017; as Chief Financial Officer he is responsible for the overall financial direction at the company, and works closely with the Founder and Principal on Out Leadership’s corporate growth and strategic plans. Within finance, he leads the financial planning and projections process, as well as controller, treasury, accounting, tax, and internal audit functions. Marco has over 20 years of experience in corporate and investment banking and in his prior roles he was Managing Director at Centerview Partners and Investment Banking Director at Barclays. Marco holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. An avid sports and traveling enthusiast, Marco is also passionate about diversity inclusion and equality.
Fabrice Houdart is Out Leadership’s new Managing Director of Global Equality Initiatives. Fabrice Houdart was previously Human Rights Officer at the United Nations in New York, and for the past four years he worked on Free & Equal, an unprecedented United Nations campaign for LGBTI equality. He co-authored and led the United Nations Global LGBTI standards of conduct for Business, the largest corporate social responsibility initiative on LGBTI issues in the World. To date more than 270 of the largest companies in the World have expressed support for the initiative. From 2001 t0 2016, Fabrice was Senior Country Officer at the World Bank. At the Bank, he authored economic development analyses on Yemen, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Tunisia and provided contributions to the 2012 Gender World Development Report (WDR) and the 2011 Conflict, Security, and Development WDR. He holds a B.A. in economics and management from Dauphine University in Paris and an MBA from American University in DC. Fabrice volunteers on the Board of Outright Action International, Housing Works, the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus, Alturi, the KindRED Pride Foundation, Witness to Mass Incarceration and the Institute of Current World Affairs (ICWA). In 2019, he received the Golden Gate Business Association Award, the IGLTA Pioneer Award and the Alan Turing LGTBIQ Award for his work on LGBTI rights. He was ranked 2nd by Yahoo Finance among LGBTI public sector executives globally in their 2019 Outstanding list. He was interviewed by The Economist, quoted in the New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine and The Guardian on issues pertaining to the human rights of LGBTI people. He lives in New York City with twin sons 6-year old Maxime and Eitan.
Chris Frederick is Out Leadership’s Managing Director, Global Events. Previously he was the Executive Director of NYC Pride, the 501(c)3 non-profit organization behind New York City’s annual LGBTQIA+ Pride Events. Chris hails from suburban Ohio and is a graduate of Ohio University. Prior to NYC Pride, Chris worked in Marketing, Sales, and Events for Out and The Advocate magazines.
Under Chris’ leadership NYC Pride had more than quadrupled its annual operating budget to $12 million, and raised over $15 million dollars for the organization. Chris establish a number of new events within the NYC Pride roster, including Family Movie Night, Youth Pride, Pride Island, Human Rights Conference, and more. NYC Pride grew its roster of events in June from 5 in 2010 to a record 25+ in 2019. More than 5 million people attended NYC Pride’s events in 2019 making it the largest LGBTQ event in history.
Chris lives in Manhattan, and he and his husband Jeff are the proud parents of Haus, a French Bulldog, serving stiff competition with Wylie, Out Leadership’s official #OutPuppy. Chris is thrilled be joining Out Leadership, as 2020 arks the organization’s 10-year anniversary.
Luigi Lewin joined Out Leadership in March 2018 as Director of Sales. In this role, Luigi works closely with our Founder and Principal on further expanding Out Leadership’s roster of global member firms, with a particular focus on new countries and industries. He also partners with our Founder and COO on select business development opportunities. Luigi spent 25 years in the financial services industry prior to joining Out Leadership, at Morgan Stanley, Barclays, and Credit Suisse. He holds an M.B.A. in Marketing from Fordham University and a B.A. in Political Science from Oberlin College, and is a member of the National Board of Governors at the Human Rights Campaign. Dedicated to working to further human rights, gender diversity, and social justice, Luigi also loves traveling, cycling, and Latin American history and culture.
Rufus Gifford is a former U.S. Ambassador, senior aide to President Barack Obama, civic leader, public speaker, and an advocate for Democratic causes. He is currently focused on promoting civic engagement, particularly among youth, supporting Democratic candidates across the country, and issue areas ranging from U.S. public diplomacy to renewable energy. From 2017 to 2018, Rufus was a Democratic candidate for Congress in Massachusetts’ 3rd District. His campaign focused on restoring trust between people and government and standing for something aspirational and positive, instead of solely against the Trump presidency. He also led a campaign fellowship program, training nearly 200 young people in community organizing. From 2013 to 2017, Rufus served as the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark where he led efforts to address the effects of climate change, build international coalitions, and invest in clean energy. Rufus also helped modernize the transatlantic relationship through people-to-people diplomacy, youth engagement, and a never-before-seen public diplomacy strategy, which included the award-winning documentary series “I Am the Ambassador.” He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark for his meritorious service. His pioneering tenure as Ambassador has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, CNN, and Vice News, among many other national and international outlets, and he has spoken extensively across Europe and the United States about his efforts to break down walls and humanize the work of government At home, Rufus was the National Finance Director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, responsible for the record-breaking $1 billion budget. During Obama’s first term, Rufus was the National Finance Director at the Democratic National Committee and supported passage of a number of Obama policy initiatives. Before that, he was an aide on Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign. An openly gay man, Rufus has been a longtime advocate for LGBT rights, and commentators have referred to him as Barack Obama’s informal “ambassador to the gay community.” Rufus started in Democratic politics as a volunteer and then a staff member on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. He subsequently started his own consulting business, advocating for progressive causes and advising Democratic candidates across the country. He began his career as a producer in the entertainment industry. A native of Massachusetts, Rufus holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University. He is married to veterinarian Dr. Stephen DeVincent and they live in Concord, Massachusetts with their Golden Retriever, Argos.
Kate Kendell is Co-Chair of OutWOMEN, Out Leadership’s talent accelerator engaging and celebrating LGBT+ women in business. Until the end of 2018, she led the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Growing up Mormon in Utah, Kate learned about the complexities of religion and politics from an early age. After receiving her J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law in 1988 and a few years practicing corporate law, she pursued her real love—civil rights advocacy—and became the first staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. There she directly litigated many high-profile cases focusing on all aspects of civil liberties, including reproductive rights, prisoners’ rights, free speech, the rights of LGBT people, and the intersection of church and state. In 1994 she joined NCLR as legal director, and was named executive director two years later. Under her leadership, NCLR’s programs, budget, and impact grew exponentially, and the issues facing the LGBT community – from homophobia in sports to immigration policy – have taken center stage in our nation’s discussion of civil rights and justice. Kate is a nationally recognized spokesperson for LGBT rights and has an active voice in major media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Advocate, NPR, CNN, and many others. Despite the national success of NCLR under her tenure, her most rewarding responsibilities still include fostering alliances on the community and organizational levels, and advocating from a grass-roots perspective on issues concerning social justice. Follow Kate on Twitter and LinkedIn, @KateKendell.
Lisa “Lee” A. Schreter is Co-Chair of OutWOMEN, Out Leadership’s talent accelerator engaging and celebrating LGBT+ women in business. She is also the co-chair of the Wage and Hour Practice Group of Littler Mendelson. Lee focuses on representing employers in complex class and collective actions involving overtime and other wage-related claims and specializes in helping employers to develop forward-thinking compliance measures that reduce wage and hour disputes and other employment-related issues. Lee also specializes in representing management clients in negotiations with the U.S. Department Labor in national matters that involve such issues as the exempt status of employees and compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Lee represents and counsels clients in connection with many other labor and employment matters arising under federal and state laws such as The Equal Pay Act, The Service Contract Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state law wage and hour requirements. Prior to becoming an attorney, Lee worked in human resources where she gained extensive experience in wage and hour issues, employee relations, salary and benefit administration and general employment matters.
Kenya Simon joined Out Leadership in 2018. In her role, Kenya is a primary point of contact for our member companies, overseeing Out Leadership’s customer service processes and facilitating engagement opportunities to maximize member’s ROI. Kenya holds a B.A. in Music Industry and Public Relations from Monmouth University, and has a background in the entertainment and fashion industry. After a decade-long career working for music industry giants such as Sony and Warner Music, Kenya received an opportunity to join PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), where she was most recently part of the Marketing & Sales team focusing on client entertainment, alumni relations, and client experience reporting. During her time there, she found a passion for diversity & inclusion work, and notably secured the first ever official sponsorship of NYC Pride and WorldPride from a “Big 4” financial services firm. When she isn’t working to further Out Leadership’s global mission, you can usually find her on the way to a concert or obsessing over the looks at a local drag show.
Michael Tighe joined Out Leadership in 2019. In his role, Michael is responsible for providing personalized administrative support on a one-to-one basis in a variety of tasks related to Founder and Principal’s Todd Sears work-life and communications, as well as the day-to-day support organization and coordination of administration and office procedures. Michael holds a BS focused in Media, Culture, and Communications from New York University, and has various background experience in the publishing and entertainment industry including ad sales and marketing, artist-brand partnerships, publicity, and events. Previously, Michael worked as Senior Coordinator at Pride Media which is the home of iconic LGBTQ+ brands Out Magazine, The Advocate, and Plus. When he isn’t working at Out Leadership you can find him obsessing over Lady Gaga or his two cats, Midnight & Reagan.
Beyond our offices, our team is passionately dedicated to furthering the cause of LGBT+ equality. Out team actively volunteers their time and donates to non-profit causes.
Additionally, Out Leadership makes charitable donations at the major donor or greater level to the following organizations each year: Lambda Legal, The Williams Institute, Pride in Diversity, Jeffrey Fashion Cares.