Launched in 2015, OutQUORUM is the first and only initiative advocating for LGBTQ+ inclusion on corporate boards. OutQUORUM convenes senior leaders to drive LGBTQ+ representation and disclosure on boards, and to amplify the need for dramatically increased board-level diversity.
In 2021 and 2022, Out Leadership published “Visibility Counts,” the first-ever study mapping the proxy statements of all Fortune 1000 and 33,000 NASDAQ companies to identify those that include LGBTQ+ in their definition of board diversity. Sponsored by Egon Zehnder and Ropes & Gray, the report provides the data to support OutQUORUM’s efforts to harness the power of business leaders to drive change.
In 2016, OutQUORUM, sponsored by KPMG, launched the BoardFit program, the first-ever program designed to prepare LGBTQ+ candidates to join corporate boards and to add value and be board-ready from day 1. As part of the program, OutQUORUM created the largest database in the world of board-ready LGBTQ+ candidates, with a specific focus on intersectionality, with 35% women and 12% BIPOC representation.
The case for diversity at the Board level centers on the notion that Boards must be representative of a company's key stakeholders – inclusive of all aspects of diversity such as women, people of color and LGBTQ+, and should be drawn from employees, customers, vendors and associates.
Out Leadership is a convener and long-standing member of the Diverse Directors Coalition which includes Black Corporate Directors, Latino Corporate Directors Association and Ascend Pinnacle. We work with these organizations to ensure our efforts are part of a broader push for diversity on Corporate Boards.
My coming out was also about the young people who work in the company. If they suspect a senior leader is gay but not out, what does that say to them about the culture of the company?”
Jim Fitterling opened the door. When he came out, it was one of the very first times you had an LGBTQ+ person named as a CEO of a Fortune 100 company. Those doors that were opened were then held open for people like me.”
When you think about boards and everything they have to do, the job is so hard and so important, you need every type of person you can get around that table. It’s a good time to focus on LGBTQ+ diversity, because it hasn’t historically been included.”
There is no organization more committed to advocating for LGBTQ+ board representation than Out Leadership.“
Shareowners expect boards to recruit the best and the brightest, and to avoid the paralysis of groupthink. But this can only happen if shareowners and companies alike understand - and adopt policies to seek out - the important perspective that LGBT directors can bring to the boardroom.”
In March 2023 we’ll hold our 3rd OutQUORUM Global Summit, which will feature the launch of an updated research study on diversity in Board representation, and an outstanding series of speakers which in the past have included Jim Fitterling, Esther Aguilera, Charlotte Hamilton, Jill Ader and Chris Holden.