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'Out on the Street' Summit to Spotlight LGBT Employee Issues

'Out on the Street' Summit to Spotlight LGBT Employee Issues Credit: Olga Besnard / Shutterstock.com

Top executives from the banking community will gather next week to discuss lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality at the second annual Out on the Street Leadership Summit.

The summit, scheduled for May 2 in New York City, will focus on the role that support for LGBT equality can play in retaining employees and the conduct of business.

The agenda features Sylvia Ann Hewlett of the Center for Talent Innovation, who will be unveiling the early findings of the center’s new global LGBT research, "The Power of Out II." In addition, breakout sessions will explore a number of topics, such as the intersection of gender and sexual orientation, how LGBT support translates outside U.S. borders and emerging LGBT opportunities and challenges.

"The movement towards full LGBT equality in the U.S. is driven by corporate leaders such as the members of Out on the Street, who are taking increasingly public stances of support," said James P. Gorman, chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley.

In addition to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, featured speakers include Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs; Paul Singer, CEO of Elliott Capital Management; Ken Mehlman, head of global public affairs, KKR; Lynn Utter, president & COO, Knoll Furniture; John Veihmeyer, chairman, CEO, KPMG LLC; and special guest moderator George Stephanopoulos from ABC.

The banking community has already taken initial steps toward strengthening LGBT equality in the workplace, including reimbursing LGBT employees’ pay to address the tax inequalities of domestic partner benefits or taking highly visible stances on marriage equality.

The movement appears to be catching on up and down Wall Street. In the last year, the number of member companies has grown from the six founding banks (Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley) to 11 organizations, with the addition of Credit Suisse, HSBC, KKR, KPMG and UBS.

"Instead of remaining in the safe zone of advocating for LGBT workplace equality which upwards of 70 percent of Americans support; these companies have taken courageous stances in more controversial areas, marriage equality, support for which only recently passed the 50 percent mark in polls," said Todd Sears, founder of Out on the Street.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is hosting the event at its New York headquarters.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.