Growing up, the only LGBTQ+ representation I saw in my hometown was the gay interior designer that lived down the street, a stereotype. In my community and in the media, I saw very little representation of LGBTQ+ people and if it existed, I only saw representations of gay men. I think this is a big reason I didn’t come out sooner. Seeing representations of LGBTQ+ people of every gender, race, presentation, and background is essential to see a future for yourself. That is why I am so proud to co-chair Out Leadership’s OutWOMEN+ initiative.
12 years ago, Todd started OutWOMEN because there was a clear need: women were not as present in LGBTQ+ corporate spaces and their voices were not being prioritized! Creating space for LGBTQ+ folks who identify as women was core to Out Leadership’s purpose of elevating the impact of LGBTQ+ leaders and using the power of business to advocate for our rights.
Kenya Simon and I, as chairs of OutWOMEN+, felt strongly about adding the “+” because including the nonbinary and trans community is fundamental to who we are as an organization.
In 2022, we convened more than 200 LGBTQ+ women all over the world both in person and virtually to create community, discuss the intersection of our identities, and drive business across industry, generation, and seniority. We had speakers ranging from government officials to CEOs and we built a community for LGBTQ+ women from every generation. Four global events that provided countless connections, insights, and impact!
Entering my third year working at Out Leadership, I have been moved by the voices of some of our OutWOMEN+ speakers like Senator Tammy Baldwin, Coca-Cola Executive Pam Stewart, and WNBA star Sue Bird, not only because of their careers and styles of leadership but because of the ways they risk their careers and leadership to be out advocates and champions for women, trans folks, and LGBTQ+ people who do not have a platform.
In 2023, OutWOMEN+ is growing in exceptionally exciting ways! Did you know no major research has ever been done on the experience of LGBTQ+ women at work? We plan to fix that! We will also have more OutWOMEN+ gatherings in more cities and countries next year than ever before!
Passionate about building a community for LGBTQ+ women? Your company can still be one of a few select sponsors of OutWOMEN in 2023. Email us at email@example.com to get involved.
Managing Director, Programs & Research