Five silver ‘Outie’ statuettes were given to Outie Award winners this week, while attendees from around the world gathered at the 14th annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Baltimore, Md.
LGBT employees and allies, along with human resources and diversity professionals, many representing Fortune 500 companies, attended the Out & Equal Workplace Summit—the leading LGBT professional development conference, equipping attendees with the tools, resources and connections to create equitable and inclusive workplaces. Individuals and companies are nominated for their demonstrated leadership and diversity programs, which help build cultures of inclusion and equity for LGBT workers.
The winners were chosen from a competitive slate of nominees and voted on by an independent panel of experts from companies and nonprofits that set the standard for LGBT workplace equality. The award winners represent the people and companies who are changing the face of our culture by working to end LGBT discrimination in the workplace.
The Trailblazer Award, given to Lance Freedman of Lockheed Martin, recognizes an LGBT person who has made a significant contribution to advancing workplace equality by helping improve their own workplace or contributing to equality nationally.
Freedman rallied Lockheed Martin’s LGBT employee resource group, LGBTs and Allies, to transform a traditional “don’t ask, don’t tell” workplace culture for 120,000 people into a fully LGBT-inclusive workplace years before the federal government dismantled the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Lance gathered and groomed an army of advocates across the corporation, coordinated their help to fund and deliver an impressive LGBT Leadership Forum and the defense industry’s first ever “It Gets Better” video, which Freedman himself led. Freedman played central roles assisting Lockheed Martin to establish LGBT non-profit sponsorships, recruitment at LGBT career fairs, support to LGBT Veterans, five LGBT Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and policy changes ranging from non-discrimination to gender transition.
The Champion Award, honoring Harry van Dorenmalen of IBM, recognizes a non-LGBT person who has played a pivotal role in advancing equal treatment of LGBT employees on the job. This individual will have demonstrated a significant commitment to LGBT workplace rights.
Dorenmalen, Chair of IBM Europe, created a structure within IBM to drive progress on LGBT issues and started numerous initiatives leading to significant improvements within IBM and in the broader business and LGBT communities outside IBM. He ensured that IBM executive management teams in all European countries have included LGBT equality and inclusion on their agendas. He regularly speaks about IBM’s priorities supporting diversity and LGBT inclusion at external LGBT events and gives interviews to the media on LGBT topics. Dorenmalen encourages others to show leadership and to make change happen—a terrific advocate, an inspirational leader and a true straight ally.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Employee Resource Group of the Year Award, given to OutServe-SLDN (U.S. Department of Defense), recognizes a particular ERG, sometimes referred to as a business group or network, with an exemplary track record of leadership in advocating for LGBT equal rights over the past year.
OutServe-SLDN—the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel—was instrumental in overturning the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. OutServe-SLDN represents more than six thousand LGBT service members, making it the largest LGBT employee resource group in the United States.
The Workplace Excellence Award, given to Google, recognizes an employer that has an ongoing commitment to workplace equality, demonstrated by unquestioned leadership, dedication and innovation on behalf of LGBT employees everywhere.
Google is a leader in establishing innovative policies that protect and affirm LGBT people in the workplace. From providing transgender sensitivity training to employees, to establishing some of the very best benefits for transgender people in the world, Google has rightly earned its 100% Corporate Equality Index rating. Recently, Google worked in conjunction with the It Gets Better Project to create a national advertising campaign, profiling how the It Gets Better project has helped thousands share their own stories on YouTube, forever impacting the lives of at-risk LGBT youth. Externally, the company has been a leader in empowering non-profit organizations to drive change in the broader community and has publically supported expanding LGBT rights at the federal level, including filing amicus briefs to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Regional Affiliate of the Year, honoring the NY Fingerlake Regional Affiliate in 2012, is awarded to a regional affiliate that has demonstrated commitment to the Out & Equal mission through exceptional programming and sound organizational practices.
The New York Fingerlakes Regional Affiliate has built impressive coalitions by engaging local companies who are champions of workplace diversity. These coalitions and partners provided the framework for the development of Out & Equal’s very first regional Workplace Summit in 2011. The Affiliate has also developed a series of “Work it Out” events for college students help prepare them for job interviews, while providing a showcase for local businesses to brand their companies as welcoming and affirming. The Affiliate is a true leader in localizing the mission of Out & Equal in the New York Fingerlakes region.