OutNEWS – Out to Succeed

In this week's OutNEWS: Out to Succeed: groundbreaking new research on why employers can't discount the next generation of LGBTQ+ talent

In 2018, Todd Sears invited me to the 8th annual Out Leadership: U.S. 2018 LBGT+ Senior Summit, sponsored by Ropes & Gray. Part of the meeting included the launch of “Out to Succeed: Realizing the full potential of your LGBT+ talent,” the first comprehensive, international study of high-performing, high-potential LGBT+ emerging business leaders.

PwC partnered with Out Leadership on the research. As I listened to the report on outcomes, I started dreaming about 1.0 giving birth to an even larger social impact study — longitudinal in scope, starting with undergraduates and mapping their trajectory from the classroom to the boardrooms of America. How are they identified? Who encourages them and mentors them? How are they recruited to the leading corporations of the world? Under what directives if any? What do they share about their identities with recruiters, on their resumes? Are they retained at levels equal to non-LGBTQ2+ individuals with like achievement levels? Are they advanced on par with non-LGBTQ2+ employees? If not, where and how do they get stuck? How many make it past mid-management to the C-Suite and to the boardroom?

When the session ended, I shared my dream with Todd and suggested that O4U and OL should partner on 2.0 and include undergraduates. Todd said, “Why not?”  We continued to discuss with his team. The extraordinary Jane Barry-Moran was recruited by OL during the first month of COVID. We paused a bit and began the project in earnest on March 4, 2022, and the rest is history. We did not know that we would launch the first phase of Out to Succeed 2.0 in the midst of such deep political and social divide in our nation but the timing is perfect. With the first phase of the project funded, we are still seeking sponsorship for the next phase, which encompasses a global and 4-generational longitudinal study.


Pictured above: Cindi Love,  Executive Director, Out for Undergrad with Out Leadership Founder & CEO Todd Sears at the OutNEXT Global Summit 2022 proudly sponsored by Citi. 


Out to Succeed 2.0 is a social impact study that makes the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy. This occurs and will iterate in many ways – through creating and sharing new knowledge and innovation; developing new and improving existing corporate HR and professional development services and policy; and enhancing quality of life, health, and well-being. It will catalyze changes at the level of awareness, understanding, personal skill development, and accountability for everyone it touches. I hope that users of the study will share evidence of impact — actual changes in policy and practice, conceptual, capacity building, attitudinal or cultural impacts, and an increased willingness to engage, participate, and collaborate in new partnerships and teams. And, I hope it stimulates follow-up interactions between different stakeholders and lasting relationships across disciplines and organizations. I hope it helps us confront and achieve the dream of equality and equity for everyone.



Cindi Love
Executive Director

Here’s what you need to know…



Anti-LGBTQ+ laws deter educated talent, impacting economic growth.

Pictured above: Attendees at the OutNEXT Global Summit 2022 proudly sponsored by Citi


Highly educated workers are central to the economic engine of the United States and business leaders who want to prevail in a fiercely competitive talent market must advocate for an environment friendly to LGBTQ+ rights.

Why? Because the highly-educated workers that fuel big-time profits support LGBTQ+ rights. A whopping 72% of college graduates and 79% of advanced degree holders have favorable opinions on LGBTQ+ equality. Gay men in particular have extremely high educational attainment, earning bachelor’s degrees at over 16 points over the national average and have 50% more advanced degrees than the rest of the population.

The consequences for anti-LGBTQ+ states are mounting. Campus Pride, which annually compiles a list of LGBTQ+-friendly schools, excluded Texas and Florida colleges altogether from its 2023-2024 list, noting that discriminatory laws are “needlessly endangering the safety and well-being of students.” With nearly two-thirds of college graduates opting to begin their careers in the state where they studied, states hostile to LGBTQ+ rights are sacrificing an influx of highly educated talent. In regions with more LGBTQ+-friendly states, like the West and Northeast, three-fourths of students remain in state. This contrasts with regions with higher rates of anti-LGBTQ+ policies like the South, where just 54% of graduates remain to work.

How can you secure a profitable, productive future for your company? Stand up to discriminatory legislation and embrace equality. It’s what empowers an excellent workforce.


Out Leadership and O4U’s research underscores the importance of the rising LGBTQ+ workforce.



Out Leadership and Out For Undergrad are set to unveil an exclusive preview of the monumental findings from Out to Succeed 2.0 – the most significant report on global LGBTQ+ talent to date. 

Following an original study published in 2018, Out to Succeed 2.0 will provide concrete data to demonstrate how a deliberate and tailored approach to LGBTQ+ equality creates immeasurable brand equity, elevates productivity, and helps your company attract and retain superior talent. The global study surveyed high-performing individuals from the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia from a diverse array of businesses in Out Leadership’s wide-ranging membership portfolio.

In the global war for talent, LGBTQ+ inclusion is a tactical edge for savvy business leaders. Learn how improving the climate for LGBTQ+ employees, customers, and community members can supercharge your company’s performance. Out Leadership and O4U are proud to present the research you need to advocate the business case for equality.

The preview event will be hosted by Reed Smith.

Out Leadership and O4U are still seeking additional sponsorship for the full version of Out to Succeed 2.0. Join us in empowering the next generation of LGBTQ+ talent!

Sponsor Out to Succeed 2.0


O4U is uplifting accomplished LGBTQ+ college students and matching them with top employers.


Each year, O4U invites a diverse class of high-achieving LGBTQ+ students to their conferences, where they are inspired to pursue ambitious careers at the world’s most sought-after companies.

The conferences are a win-win for college students and employers alike: students gain invaluable experiences, skills, and networks to jumpstart their careers, and businesses capture dedicated, high-achieving prospective employers early in their job search.

O4U’s mission is to help high-achieving LGBTQ2+ undergraduates reach their full potential. 

Learn More About O4U


Inclusive leaders foster more productive workplaces.

Pictured above: Attendees at OutNEXT Australia 2022 hosted by Corrs Chambers Westgarth. 


Employers can make immediate improvements to improve their company’s appeal to high-achieving LGBTQ+ workers. Some examples include:

  • Update policies to explicitly state that discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity are prohibited under Title VII and update board diversity policies to explicitly include LGBTQ+ leaders.
  • Use inclusive language in policies and activities involving employee relationships and family, and encourage employees to include their pronouns in email signatures.
  • Provide comprehensive training on LGBTQ+ issues, including cultural competency training, and promptly address anti-LGBTQ+ conduct at work.
  • Develop a gender transition policy and reiterate legal protections that require employees to have access to restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.


To attract the next-gen workforce, employers must prioritize LGBTQ+ inclusive ESG strategies.

Pictured above: Attendees at OutNEXT Europe 2023 hosted by Blackstone.


According to a new study from Out Leadership member firm KPMG, the majority of young workers in the UK valued ESG commitments from their employers, with a whopping 20% of respondents saying they had turned down a job offer because the company’s ESG commitments were not in line with their values. 1 in 3 workers under the age of 24 had rejected a job offer due to a mismatch with the company’s values.

The anti-ESG crusade by some politicians has already proved devastating. Business titans like Disney CEO Bob Iger have decried needless government intervention culture war issues as “anti-business” and anti-ESG evangelists like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are floundering in the court of public opinion.


Pictured above: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, House Financial Services Committee.


With some congressional leaders doubling down on frivolous attacks on ESG, Out Leadership submitted a letter to the House Financial Services Committee in support of expanding ESG reporting and metrics.

Here are the facts:

  • Investors are increasingly demanding sustainability. As of 2020, sustainable investment assets globally reached $35.3 trillion, representing a 15% increase from 2018.
  • ESG mitigates business risks. A study by Arabesque and the University of Oxford analyzed 200 academic papers and found that 88% of them reported a positive correlation between ESG factors and resilience to systemic shocks
  • Modern businesses and employees of the future demand ESG and LGBTQ+-inclusive diversity. According to a survey by Deloitte of 5,474 LGBTQ+ people across 13 countries published in June 2023, a third of respondents are actively looking to change employers to find an organization that is more LGBTQ+ inclusive.

ESG initiatives are a critical asset to any company’s corporate social responsibility strategy and are essential components to recruitment, investment, and growth plans for the business landscape of the future.

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