Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Kathleen Sebelius discuss the importance of state-level wins

More than 200 LGBT+ business leaders gathered in May 2019 in New York for Out Leadership’s 9th annual U.S. Summit, sponsored by EY, Ogilvy, and Ropes & Gray.

Ogilvy hosted the first session, LGBT+ in the Corner Office: CEO’s Taking Action.

Rufus Gifford, Senior Advisor at Out Leadership interviewed Laura Kelly, Governor of Kansas and Kathleen Sebelius, 21st United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Governor Kelly on why LGBT+ inclusion is a priority for her state:

“I saw the devastating impact of HB2 in North Carolina, both on their people and on the economy. I think they lost several billion dollars in investments just by passing that legislation. Governor Brownback’s tax cuts over his 8 year tenure really plummeted our state into its own recession, and I knew it’d be my job to pull that out and figure out some way to get Kansas to grow again, and that a big part of that would be to make it clear to folks that Kansas is open and welcoming again.”

Kathleen Sebelius reflected on an experience early in her political career that illustrated the importance of LGBT+ protections:

“When I first got elected to a statewide office in 1995, I held the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. I was interviewing a young lawyer early on, and 10 minutes into the conversation she says ‘I’m gay.’ I said ‘I’m not interested in dating you, I’m not sure why we’re talking about this” and she said ‘I just got a pink slip from the Attorney General’s office.’ Our new Attorney General told her it was best that she find other employment as an openly gay attorney. I was struck by the fact that she felt it important enough to address so early, and truly that this was something she felt she needed to do to avoid getting fired twice in a two week period.”