Partnerships in Innovative Advocacy: Engaging Employers as Allies for Equality

by HRC Staff

Another year of HRC Global’s Partnerships in Innovative Advocacy program is wrapping up.

Post submitted by HRC Director of Global Partnerships Jean Freedberg

Another year of HRC Global’s Partnerships in Innovative Advocacy program is wrapping up. We hosted regional convenings of 25 advocates from 21 countries in Lima, Peru, Tirana, Albania and Hanoi, Vietnam, for three days of intensive workshops, training and sharing ideas about how to work with businesses as allies in their countries. The trainings were anchored in HRC’s new resource guide, “Engaging Employers in Advancing Equality: Lessons Learned and Practical Advice for LGBTQ Advocates around the World.”  

The resource is based on lessons learned from HRC’s thirty-plus years of experience building an LGBTQ movement in the U.S. The idea behind it and its associated workshops is to provide civil society activists from HRC’s growing alumni network, which now includes about 100 advocates from more than 70 countries, with tools and skills to engage employers and business of all sizes and in all sectors as allies. It tells the history of HRC’s success with reaching large national and multinational companies, lessons learned from our experiences and strategies for effective engagement. It also showcases the inspiring stories of fellow advocates around the globe who have already built successful models in their countries.

We were proud to partner with Presente in Lima, Open Mind Spectrum Albania (OMSA) in Tirana and iSee in Hanoi to produce the workshops. Participants shared their ideas and developed their own plans for how to reach out to employers across sectors and in businesses of all sizes, including large multinationals, mid size domestic organizations and local small businesses. In each city we also met with local LGBTQ activists, allies and supporters, to learn about the unique challenges and opportunities they face.


We were proud to partner with Presente, led by Global Innovator Gabriel de la Cruz Soler, to convene advocates from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Jamaica in Lima. Participants discussed strategic methods to engage businesses as allies in their home countries. We also hosted a joint reception with Presente where HRC was able to meet with other LGBTQ activists from Peru.


Global Innovator Arber Kodra from OMSA was our host in Tirana, where we convened advocates from Bosnia, Czech Republic, Lebanon, Morocco and Slovenia for two full days of working together to design unique plans for employee engagement. We hosted a networking event that was attended by supportive members of parliament, the business community and local LGBTQ activists.


The final workshop was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, and co-hosted by former Global Fellow Thu Le. Participants came from across the region, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand  and Taiwan.

We are already planning next year’s program. Our upcoming resource guide will be called “Engaging Faith Leaders as Allies for Equality” and will explore HRC’s history of working with faith communities to create inclusive and welcoming places of worship. It will also examine strategies to change hearts and minds, while pushing back against anti-LGBTQ religious extremism.