Out Leadership Companies Leading the Charge Around LGBT Inclusion in 2016

Out Leadership today expressed its excitement at seeing the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Partners, several of whom are Out Leadership members, committed to discussing LGBT inclusion as a business driver at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Bridging the Diversity Divide,” a roundtable that included Thomson Reuters, EY, and HSBC, all Out Leadership member firms, marked the first time such issues have appeared on the Annual Meeting agenda. Out Leadership believes that as multinationals realize the Return on Equality™, the business impact derived from including LGBT people at the most senior level of executive leadership, they will continue identifying allies to champion workplace equality globally.

“It is encouraging to see Out Leadership member companies and executives leveraging their status to drive the global conversation around the moral, legal and business case for LGBT inclusion at influential forums such as Davos,” said Todd Sears, Founder and Principal of Out Leadership. “Since we started our organization five years ago, we’ve seen tremendous progress around LGBT inclusion as multinational corporations understand that inclusive policies benefit the bottom-line. We are optimistic that we’ll continue to see LGBT-friendly employers, including our member companies, make strides in overriding cultural and legal frameworks that limit LGBT talent.”

The “Bridging the Diversity Divide” roundtable explored the question of how companies can support the LGBT agenda to promote a more diverse workforce and inclusive corporate cultures. Specific elements discussed included role models’ career progression and how to effectively balance cultural and policy approaches.

Beth Brooke-Marciniak, global vice chair of policy at EY, a member of the Women’s Advisory Board for the World Economic Forum, and a member of Out Leadership’s Global Advisory Board, said, “It was motivating to see LGBT rights taking a bigger stage on and off the official WEF agenda. We have had many multinationals working as strategic partners this past year to make progress globally and locally on LGBT inclusion. There is much more to be done and I look forward to seeing other multinationals leading from the top and being visible allies to continue to make progress in 2016.”

Last week in Davos, Out Leadership partnered with Microsoft to host an additional LGBT-focused event, at which “Out in the World,” a new study of LGBT and non-LGBT professionals in 10 countries, was launched. The study was sponsored by Out Leadership and 10 major global corporations, including EY and five additional Out Leadership member companies, and was coordinated by the Center for Talent Innovation. Reflecting interviews with 1,964 LGBT professionals and 10,242 non-LGBT professionals, the study provides guidance to allies and progressive multinationals to help them transfer their commitment to diversity and equality for their employees to their local markets and serve as a leader to other global companies lacking this commitment.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer said, “Building global LGBT equality in workplaces makes good sense for our company and our people. We’re committed to treating every member of our team with equal respect and dignity, and we are pleased to see that commitment increasingly become the global business consensus.”

Sponsors of the breakfast included World Economic Forum Strategic Partners Accenture, Alcoa, Dow, Edelman, EY, GE, Mastercard, McKinsey & Company, and Willis Towers Watson.

Out Leadership Davos 2016 Press Release