HRC Blog

Arizona Business Leaders Gather for LGBT Workplace Inclusion Conference

Post submitted by Angela Hughey, founder of ONE Community, an interactive online and events community for LGBT and allied individuals and businesses. 

Phoenix GroupOn Friday, May 30, ONE Community and HRC brought together top Phoenix area business leaders and city officials for the second LGBT Workplace Inclusion Conference.

Conference attendees learned best practices for making their businesses, organizations and municipalities fully inclusive in order to attract and retain top talent, create healthy workspaces and increase their competitiveness.  ONE Community and HRC led the day long training and discussions focused on an Arizona that attracts and retains top talent and the importance of being LGBT inclusive.

A new report published by the HRC Foundation was widely discussed. The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion demonstrated that despite the great gains that have been made socially and legally, over 53 percent of LGBT people still hide who they are at work.

David Neisen, HR Director of PetSmart, said, "Attending the workplace inclusion conference was extremely important to me as I work to create a welcoming environment at our company, so employees can bring their whole self to work. The event provided needed information to make intelligent, and well thought out decisions that impact our associates. I am proud to have attended, and proud of our partnership with ONE Community.”

During the conference, attendees learned about ONE Community’s UNITY Pledge and our “Open for Business to Everyone” educational campaign.  The UNITY Pledge is a concerted effort by Arizona businesses, organizations and individuals to advance workplace equality and equal treatment in housing and public accommodations for LGBT individuals and their allies.

Additionally, conference attendees learned how to improve their scores on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI is the national benchmark in corporate LGBT equality and considers non-discrimination policies, benefits, diversity training and other internal resources for LGBT workers, as well as external support for LGBT consumers and job seekers. 

The event also showcased the HRC’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities and rates them on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT people who live and work there.  The City of Phoenix scored a 100% on the MEI in 2013, surrounding areas participated to learn how to improve their scores to ensure that they are competitive in attracting new businesses and top talent.

“The conference provided a safe and interactive environment for all participants to learn and share current practices that support inclusion in our companies and municipalities.” said Lee Scanzano, Vice President of Customer Care for Cox Communications. 

In addition, there was a panel discussion featuring area business and policy makers.  Among the featured speakers were representatives from the City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, PetSmart and Cox Communications.

The LGBT Workplace Inclusion Conference attracted more than 75 business and community leaders that represented over 40 different companies and organizations. Because of the success of the event, ONE Community and HRC will be holding another conference in September of this year.  For more information, visit http://www.ONEcommunity.com

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