OUT & EQUAL: Equal workplace around the world

More than 2,500 people have registered for Out & Equal Workplace Summit

Among the topics being addressed at today’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit taking place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel is extending LGBT rights to employees around the world.

Representatives of the Organization for Refugees, Asylum and Migration will speak about LGBT immigration problems. Another workshop addresses the state of the LGBT workplace in the Phillipines.

Robyn Ochs, a workshop speaker, said the issue of employment equality around the world involves U.S. employees who are transferred to countries where homosexuality is illegal. But it also involves people from countries with marriage equality who are unable to get visas for a spouse to come to the United States.

A panel this morning addressed the importance of LGBT diversity to drive innovation.

At the morning plenary, actress Meredith Baxter spoke. She will be at Nuvo on Cedar Springs Road this evening signing copies of her book.

Rick Welts, the first openly gay man in professional sports management, spoke as well.

“He hit it out of the ballpark,” said Out & Equal Director of Communications Justin Tanis.

Awards were given this morning for best affiliate. Houston won that award, Tanis said, because they have involved more than 80 companies and are extremely active. Bank of America was awarded best LGBT employer. Among the reasons are its transgender health benefits and its tax equalization plan for LGBT benefits announced this month.

The exhibit halls are open today and tomorrow and are free, but to enter, stop by the registration desk for a pass, Tanis said.

More than 2,500 people have registered for the conference.

Dani Siragusa is coordinating volunteers for the event, among other duties. She said that a number of individuals have volunteered throughout the week and the corporate teams have put in a special effort. Dozens of American Airlines employees are staffing registration. She said that 60 volunteers from Ernst & Young are the workshop room hosts who greet, distribute, collect and tally evaluations that she said are invaluable in planning future conferences.

“They’ve been doing that for years,” she said.

And JP Morgan Chase volunteers are acting as plenary greeters helping those events with thousands of people in the hotel’s largest ballroom go off without a hitch.

The conference continues through Friday. This evening is community day when attendees hit Cedar Springs Road.

—  David Taffet