Thursday, April 17, 2008

Industries lead the way for LGBT diversity and inclusion

On Tuesday night, Pride In My Workplace held the second of a series of three workshops highlighting how employees in New York are advancing workplace equality for the LGBT community. Held at the Credit Suisse building in Manhattan, the workshop had more than 60 LGBT and ally business leaders in attendance who came from all industries, including fashion, banking, pharmaceutical, technology, media, and real estate. Attendees heard from Antonio Centeno, Operations Analyst from Credit Suisse, and Carmine Boccuzzi, Attorney from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Moderating (and providing comedic relief) was Craig Senecal, Director of Associate Learning and Development from Macy’s East.

From left to right: Carmine Boccuzzi, Antonio Centeno, Wazina Zondon (Pride In My Workplace Coordinator, Pride Agenda), and Craig Senecal.

The panel discussed how to get companies to “buy in” to LGBT employee networks, resource groups and affinity groups. Panelists provided great banking, legal and fashion perspectives on how to be persuasive in each of their fields. All agreed that it helps to make a case for the bottom line – the dollars and talent that an inclusive atmosphere can bring to a company.

Also, in today’s ultra-competitive economy, panelists agreed that it’s important for companies to be the best in their industries – an impossible feat if they’re behind their competitors, clients or customers when it comes to LGBT employee non-discrimination policies and other “best practices.” Being the best makes for an easier time recruiting top-notch employees from universities and competitors, and it assures clients and customers that a company is the right choice for their business. Finally, panelists talked about their networks’ challenges for the future, including focusing on the “T” (transgender) in LGBT equality and expanding their presence in the workplace.

The Pride Agenda received great feedback from the event, but don’t worry if you missed out – there’s still plenty of time to sign up for the third workshop on May 19. The event will be held at Macy’s East (151 W. 34th St.) from 6:30-8:30, and the topic will be “Best Practices In Action: Building Broader LGBT Networks.” Marla Hassner, Vice President from Lehman Brothers, will moderate, and panelists will include business leaders from Macy’s East, Coldwell Banker Previews International/Manhattan Chamber of Commerce LGBT-2-B, and HRC Business Council. To RSVP, e-mail Wazina Zondon at or call (212) 627-0305 for more information.

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