We’re in this together.

Unprecedented. While this is an overused word in recent times, it is certainly apt for what we are experiencing with COVID-19 right now.

Other words we’ve all become familiar with in the past couple of weeks; ‘social distancing’ and ‘flattening the curve’.

No matter where you live in the world your life has been impacted seismically by this event. We truly are living in uncertain times.

This week, we’ve all been getting ‘We’re here for you’ messaging from lots of companies. In my opinion, these have, for the most part, felt generic. So, here’s what ‘We’re here for you’ means from Out Leadership.

Here at Out Leadership, we are all working remotely, doing our part to ensure the health and safety of our team members and their families while maintaining our march towards global LGBT+ equality.

As we will be delivering our event programming in virtual formats for the foreseeable future, we decided this was an ideal opportunity to get creative.

In the coming weeks, we are launching several new event formats that will be exclusive for member firms. These will explore topics that our members have told us they need help with. Read on for more details.

Every other week, I will convene senior leaders from our member firms to talk about leadership, talent development, working remotely, as well as whatever other topics pique my interest. Think Joe Rogan meets Howard Stern.

Our first conversation next Thursday, March 26th will explore the interaction between COVID-19 and HIV. Are people living with HIV more at risk? I will be joined by prominent Immunovirologist and HIV researcher, Dr. Douglas Nixon, from the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine and Douglas Brooks, former director of the Office of National Aids policy and the Executive Director of Community Engagement at Gilead.

Look out for your invite to register for this event tomorrow.

LGBT+ Advocacy
Tomorrow (Thursday, March 19), our Head of Global Advocacy, Fabrice Houdart, will be leading a special briefing for business teleconference regarding the imminent Supreme Court decisions on LGBT+ Employment Rights along with leaders from Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Lambda Legal, Out & Equal, and Freedom for All Americans.

Later this month (starting Tuesday, March 31st), Fabrice will start hosting bi-weekly live conversations with someone interesting to discuss LGBT+ equality. Examples of folks he will be speaking with are Sean Strub, Founder of SERO, to discuss HIV Criminalization and Evie Litwok, Founder, Witness to Mass Incarceration to explore LGBT and Mass Incarceration.

Talent Development
We are working hard to develop an online leadership development curriculum for OutNEXT, OutWOMEN, and QUORUM. Stay tuned for more details. Our plan is to be able to launch Version 1 in the coming weeks.

In light of this once-in-a-generation event we’re experiencing, we have decided to partner with the Center for Talent Innovation to co-author a white paper on “Diversity & Inclusion in Times of Crisis” with recommendations from the 2008 economic crisis experience including through interviews with senior D&I leaders.

We’re living in a scary time, where you may be feeling anxious, stressed and perhaps isolated. As leaders, we should remember that our teams are feeling the same way.
Also, remember that your LGBT+ teammates may be feeling more isolated during this time. We’re putting together a practical guide for our member firms for how to specifically navigate the very real challenges that isolation may cause while working remotely.

Looking Ahead
This too shall pass. We are all in this together. We will see you at one of our events when we’ve defeated this enemy.

In the meantime, our work will continue. We are here to help so do not hesitate to reach out.