5 questions with Anne Fay
The definition of a corporate activist, Anne Fay, vice president of global compliance and control for CitiFinancial International, has helped her company score 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. She and her partner, Kathy Hewitt, a fellow activist, live in Dallas with their two dogs and three cats.
Why do you think corporate America is an effective arena in which to channel your energy?
Put simply, individuals that are gay, lesbian or bisexual can be fired in 33 total states and 42 if they are transgender. Much to many people’s surprise, corporate America has “gotten it” about treating GLBT employees fairly. Ten years ago, only 28 Fortune 500 companies scored 100 percent in the HRC Corporate Equality Index; last year, the number was at 263.
What does a director on the board for the Human Rights Campaign do?
The board of directors is the governing body for HRC with the ultimate authority for the actions of the organization, which includes fiscal management, budget approval and establishing policies. Having served HRC on the national level for more than five years now, I have a good understanding of the national perspective. For me, of equal importance is ensuring that our local interests are valued, heard and addressed.
What policies do you think make Citigroup stand out as a GLBT-friendly/supportive employer?
We talk the talk, but more importantly we walk the walk. Our HR policies, diversity training and GLBT employee networks all truly engage and embrace a diverse employee population. Citigroup has been a trailblazer in understanding that in order to compete in this global market, they must have the best and brightest, and that means not overlooking anyone. Citigroup is also leading the charge in D.C. as a member of the Business Coalition for Benefits Tax Equity, to not only exclude the value of domestic partner health coverage from an employee’s taxable income, but also relieve workers and their employers from related payroll taxes.
If you could change one thing about the GLBT activist community what would it be?
For us all to understand the importance of “coming out” to our families, friends and co-workers in our day to day lives. In other words, we need to get comfortable being uncomfortable with this process. We need to understand that it is through these types of personal conversations that we open the eyes and ears of people to understand that what we as gay Americans want is to have the same rights and privileges that they have not “special” rights, just equal. And we need to get the GLBT community to vote in greater numbers than we currently do.
What GLBT issues do you think are most important to advance during this next year?
I think we need to get the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed first; next would be a federal Hate Crimes Bill and finally a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In fact I’ll be in D.C. on March 1, lobbying with all my HRC pals and anyone interested in joining us is more than welcomed.
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the GLBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, contact staff writer Beth Freed at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, January 12, 2006.