1 June 2020
Friday, June 19th was the big day! After re-designing our entire 2020 program due to the global pandemic, overcoming extreme technological challenges, and shifting mid-stream to embrace the growing conversation surrounding the Black Life Matters movement, our 2020 Online Symposium finally hit the airwaves.
With over 400 registrations from 40 different countries, the Online Symposium provided an innovative forum to explore its theme of “Great Expectations: Envisioning a new decade of LGBTI workplace inclusion”.
The Symposium kicked off with a heartfelt interview with Claudia Brind-Woody from IBM who shared her own experience as an open lesbian in Academia and the business world. While she faced many challenges in her career, Claudia pointed out that she also seized and created many opportunities simply by being herself. She left us with the meaningful quote from the poet and writer Maya Angelou who said: “ My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.”
The future of LGBTI workplace inclusion, and indeed social and economic interactions on many levels was covered in four interactive breakout sessions dealing with:
- The economic impact of LGBTI inclusive cities (Open for Business)
- A deep dive into Workplace Pride’s toolkit for the UN’s LGBTI Standards of Business Conduct (Graham Sparks, Dow & Shell)
- The situation of the LGBTI community in Europe (ILGA Europe)
- Attracting young talent in the future (Young@WorkplacePride)
Perhaps the highlight of the Symposium though was the signing of the Declaration of Amsterdam by Unilever. In a recorded message, Allan Jope, CEO of Unilever, outlined how important it was for his company to support LGBTI inclusion in all of their activities around the world. While it will be an ongoing challenge, his signing of the declaration was a very powerful step in the right direction. Workplace Pride salutes this effort in support of the LGBT community around the world, and encourages other organisations to do the same.
Allan’s recording was followed by an interview with two of his colleagues, Anne Schreuders and Frank Galestien, who explored in more detail how they envisioned LGBT inclusion at Unilever in the coming year, and how the company will progress towards its goal of being the most diverse and inclusive company in the world! To view PRESS RELEASE .
VIDEOS OF THE BREAKOUT SESSIONS BELOW:
To see the ILGA Europe Breakout click here
To see the Open For Business Breakout click here
To see the UN Standards Toolkit Breakout click here
To see the Young@Workplace Pride Breakout click here