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 65 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.
Wes Werbeck joined Out Leadership in September 2013. As Chief Operating Officer, he works closely with the Founder and Principal on Out Leadership’s corporate growth and strategic plans. Wes leads the team and our client services functions, and also oversees our information technology and business process systems.
In his previous role as Director of Advisory & Client Services, Wes led significant revenue and membership growth, as membership expanded from 19 corporate members to the 65+ members we count today. He has managed key consulting engagements and assisted in the launch of OL-iQ. In 2018, Wes was recognized as one of Business Equality Network’s (BEQ) inaugural Top 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40; he also sits on the NYC Young Leaders Council for Lambda Legal. He has over 10 years of experience in professional services; in his prior role as a Tax Senior Accountant at EY, he helped lead the firm’s LGBT ERG in Boston, MA. Wes holds a BS in Business Administration from Northeastern University. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and cooking with his partner, Jasen.
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.
Dave Hughes has run our communications efforts since 2014. In this role he works closely with our Founder and Principal to guide messaging strategy, manages our website and social media content, coordinates communications around our global events, and leads insights projects including OutNEWS, #OutLEADER, and the CEO Business Briefs. In previous roles, he learned about the financial services industry at D.E. Shaw and communications strategy at Penn Schoen Berland; he holds a B.A. in English Literature from New York University. Passionate about social justice and human rights, Dave also loves live music, reading, and meditating.
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.
French Smith-O’Connor joined Out Leadership in 2015. As Director of Global Initiatives, French is responsible for our programming, content curation and speaker engagement, working closely with our partner organizations. She produces our annual summits in New York, London, Hong Kong and Sydney. A New Yorker at heart, French has over 10 years of experience in international affairs, and has worked or lived in as many countries. With prior experience at the United Nations, in human rights, gender equity and social justice, she leverages an extensive network in service of Out Leadership’s mission. French holds an MA in International Affairs from the New School and a BA in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University. When she’s not on the road, you’ll probably find her gardening, DIY-ing something or deep in the latest feminist literature.
Paul Wendel joined Out Leadership in 2017 as Manager, Talent Accelerators. In this role he is responsible for the planning, coordination, and execution of OL’s programs and talent initiatives – OutNEXT, the world’s only global leadership development program for the next generation of LGBT+ leaders; OutWOMEN, connecting and supporting LGBT+ women in business; and Quorum, focused on increasing LGBT+ representation at the corporate board level. Paul holds a B.A. in International Studies and Theology from Boston College and an Ed.M. in Higher Education Administration from Harvard University. A lifelong soccer player, Paul plays with the New York Ramblers, the first LGBT+ soccer club in the world.
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.
Teela is the Events Coordinator for Out Leadership. In this role, she works closely with the Director of Global Initiatives on the execution of the Global Summits, and also provides logistical support for the Talent Accelerator and internal events. Previously, she worked in Investment Banking Operations. Teela graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2013 with a B. A. in Communication Studies and loves reading and traveling and is an active volunteer with Cheer New York.
Christine joined Out Leadership as an intern in the summer of 2018 and has moved into a full-time role as Associate. She works closely with our Director of Communications to produce insights content and support events communications, and with our Manager, Talent Accelerators to plan and coordinate Out Leadership’s Talent Accelerator projects, including OutNEXT, OutWOMEN, and Quorum. A recent graduate with previous roles in direct-services non-profit work and research; she holds a B.A. in Psychology and Minor in Economics from Duke University. She is passionate about diversity and mental health advocacy, and enjoys cooking, rock-climbing, and puzzles.
Margaret Lu joined Out Leadership in December 2018. She works with our Director of Sales to further expand Out Leadership’s global member firms, as well as multiple members of the team to assist with various strategic project deliverables. She began her career in insurance strategy with C-Suite executives, then shifted to high-net-worth underwriting. Margaret is passionate about LGBT+ equality and involved in organizations such as Out Women in Business, Out for Undergrad, Lesbians Who Tech, Open Finance, Out in Tech, The Women’s Sports Foundation, Athlete Ally, who she is a Pro Ambassador for, and more. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Business Management from Columbia University, where she was a member of the Varsity Fencing Team. She is a US National Team Member, Fencing World Champion, 6-time National Champion, NCAA Champion, and 4-time Ivy League Champion, representing the New York Athletic Club. In addition to fencing and attending queer events in NYC, Margaret is interested in the intersection of global food security and philanthropic business models.
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.