Approximately one hundred senior leaders gathered at the offices of U.S. Trust for the VIP Dinner held as the fourth session of the Out Leadership: U.S. 2018 LBGT+ Senior Summit, sponsored by Ropes & Gray.
Jose Tavarez, New York Tri-State Market Executive, U.S. Trust, kicked off the evening: “I can tell you from the day that I was hired back in 1997, I personally made a deliberate commitment and promise to drive diversity and inclusion at this firm. I’ve tried to make myself personally accountable for driving this agenda, making it front and center in the conversation with my peers and with my bosses, From my perspective, it’s very good business and I’m proud to be a part of an organization that actually thinks about diversity and inclusion the way we do, and that always looks through that lens.”
Todd Sears, Founder & Principal, Out Leadership, reflected on the learnings of the Summit week, touching on the launch of the “Out to Succeed” report and Out Leadership’s new Guidelines for Corporate Engagement on LGBT+ Equality.
Tiernan Brady, Executive Director, Australian Marriage Equality, spoke with Adaora Udoji, investor and journalist: “When I came to Australia, one of the most common things I heard was, ‘Oh, it’ll happen anyway’. And it’s the most dangerous misconception. I can’t think of anything less inevitable than progress. Progress has only happened because it’s been fought for. We go forward, we go back, we go forward, we go back. It has to be fought for. It has to be argued, and then you spend the rest of your life protecting it. And that’s the only way progress endures.”
Brian Duffy, Chief Executive Officer, Greenberg Traurig, and other Summit guests
Peter Erichsen, Partner, Ropes & Gray, wrapped up the week: “About five years ago, a young Associate left our firm after, for a terrific job as in-house counsel at another company. I knew him from our LGBTI forum but I knew nothing of his background. But I asked him out to lunch just to talk about his experience at Ropes & Gray, and one of the questions I asked him was, “Did you ever feel uncomfortable because you were gay? Did you ever feel that anyone said anything untoward or treated you differently because you were gay?” I didn’t know much about him but it turned out he was from Iowa. And he told me that when he came to the firm several years before, he was not out to his family. And that Ropes & Gray had been so welcoming to him and so affirming of his status as a gay man that he found the courage to come out to his family. Now obviously I say that with great pride about Ropes & Gray but it is also a story that any of you, I’m sure, can tell about colleagues of yours who have been empowered by the decisions that your businesses and firms have made. And that in a sense, is why we do this. It’s to affirm the individuals who work with us and affirm their value to us and to themselves.”