Out & Equal Workplace Advocates founder and CEO Selisse Berry steps downOnline Only, Top Highlights, Around the Nation Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Berry started Out & Equal in 1996, after her own experience with workplace discrimination, at a time when few LGBT people were out at work and discrimination was widespread.
Today, thanks to Berry’s vision, dedication, and collaboration, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies welcome lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees with inclusive policies.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to create and lead this incredibly important organization. In partnership with hundreds of the world’s largest multi-national corporations we have achieved more for LGBT workplace equality than I ever dreamed possible 20 years ago,” said Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Founder and CEO Selisse Berry.
Berry started out by having one-on-one conversations with business leaders, sparking the relationships and building the business and human case for welcoming LGBT people into the workplace.
“After her personal experience with workplace discrimination, Selisse Berry turned to action: launching one of the most successful campaigns for LGBT equality of the last 20 years,” said Donna Griffin, Board Co-Chair of Out & Equal. “Over the course of two decades she built Out & Equal into the global, thriving, $8 million nonprofit organization that it is today. Her work is an inspiration, and her legacy will continue in the work of Out & Equal.”
Today, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates has grown from a one-woman operation to a global organization with hundreds of corporate partners and an international reach.
“When Selisse began her work in 1996, only four percent of Fortune 500 companies included sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies,” said Out & Equal Board Co-Chair and General Manager at GE Charlene Grabowski. “Today, 92 percent of them have inclusive policies. Selisse’s work transformed the landscape and showed what is possible when determination, collaboration, and vision come together,” Grabowski continued. “She continues to be a good friend and advisor to GE in our work in workplace equality. We appreciate her and the years of hard work.”
Today, the business community includes some of the most vocal supporters of LGBT rights, as seen when states like Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, and most recently, Texas, proposed legislation targeting LGBT people.
“Selisse built a global network with reach in every country multi-national corporations do business in. Her legacy will be that major companies now serve as footprints of equality in some of the most dangerous countries LGBT people live in. Her work has changed the lives of LGBT people all over the world,” said Accenture’s Group Chief Executive of Products Operating Group and Out & Equal Board Member, Sander van’t Noordende.
Chief Control Officer at First Data Cindy Armine-Klein shared, “Not only did Selisse Berry help to build a world in which more LGBT people can be out at work without fear of discrimination, but thanks to her visionary leadership LGBT people are thriving at work, and multi-national businesses and the economy all benefit. No one else could have made such an impact on our community.”
The organization has launched an executive search to ensure its ongoing success as it continues to build partnerships with business leaders in the U.S. and globally to ensure LGBT people can thrive in their workplaces.
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