What do you get when the Titans of Wall Street join forces with leaders in the LGT community? If you’re Todd Sears, founder and principal of Out Leadership, the answer is progress. That was the mission at its 4th annual “Out on the Street” (OoTS) summit in New York this month, which featured top finance and banking execs—each of whom were joined by their gay sons. The powerful dialogue stressed that diversity is not only the right thing to do—it is also good for business.
While Wall Street has made some progress in the areas of diversity and inclusion, much work remains. According to a study by the Human Rights Campaign,53% of LGBT employees nationwide are still “in the closet” on the job. In a show of solidarity, the all-male panel sited personal experiences and pledged their unyielding support for the cause. OoTS initiatives are currently supported by member organizations at the forefront of the financial services industry, including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Bloomberg, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, GE Capital, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, KKR, KPMG, Moody’s, Morgan Stanley, Nomura, Prudential, RBC, RBS, Wells Fargo and Vestar Capital.
Most promising is the awareness generated as a result of the event and its ability to help set a forward-looking agenda for increasing LGBT employment in the financial services industry. There is undeniable value in having advocates who yield decision making authority in global organizations to address LGBT equality as a business issue.
Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of OoTS partner Goldman Sachs commented, “LGBT equality is not only a civil rights issue it is also a business issue. To be successful, we must attract, retain and promote from the broadest pool of talent available. We are proud to partner with Out on the Street and its member companies to promote LGBT equality.” Drawing on firsthand experiences with their children and their children’s gay peers, businessmen like Mac
Professional Diversity Network is proud to share a common vision with OoTS drive change and strategy around issues that are vital to LGBT equality and critical to capturing marketplace opportunity. Including LGBT employees is a vital component of a compressive diversity strategy. By advancing efforts to recruit, retain and promote LGBT employees, organizations like those represented at OoTS can bolster productivity and ultimately build a sustainable organization that delivers long-term value.
Through our online LGBT community, OutPro.net along with networking events and recruiting services, we will continue to help businesses and government organizations remedy the challenge of increasing diversity in the workplace.