Judy and Dennis Shepard deliver opening remarks at the London C-Suite Summit

More than 100 LGBT+ business leaders gathered in October 2018 in London for Out Leadership’s 7th annual  Europe LGBT+ Senior Leader Summit, sponsored by HSBC and Hogan Lovells.

The third summit session, C-Suite Leadership: A Global Look, and the Next Generation of LBGT+ Talent, was hosted by HSBC.

Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard, who was killed in a hate crime in 1998, encouraged summit attendees to take the day’s content to heart:

Judy Shepard said:

“One of the things that we try to stress in the business world, in particular, is to thank you for your success and also to encourage you to really work with your employee resource groups. Make sure that they’re all on board with their allies at work and that the example you set as leaders, as CEO’s, trickles down to the floor. Sometimes there’s an interruption in the middle, but more often than not it makes it all the way down. As a family, this is really what we want to see—families accepting everybody’s children as equals everywhere.”

Her husband, Dennis Shepard emphasized the importance of consistency in the fight for equality:

“The fact that you are here shows that you want your business to be the best. And I can’t emphasize it enough—Judy and I talk about this—often we find ourselves speaking to the choir, but you have to remember the choir needs to practice. So, while you’re practicing, while you’re talking the talk and walking the walk, it’s important that as part of that you are out in public, both as allies or LGBTQ, to show young people that they have the chance to succeed. That they are encouraged to succeed based on their own abilities, their own desires to work hard, and the choices that they make in life, not because of who they are or how they dress.”

In closing, he thanked summit attendees:

“By being here, you’re showing that you are working as hard as you can to promote equal rights, equal education, and equal chance to get the best employees for your company. We thank you for that and bless you.”