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Out & Equal workshop challenges companies to engage allies
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond
2016-08-17

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Jenner & Block has hosted many LGBTQ-related downtown events.

On Aug. 10, the law firm hosted the national LGBT workplace equality and inclusion advocacy organization Out & Equal to present solutions for Chicago-based companies with "How to Effectively Identify, Engage and Leverage Your Allies."

Presented as the third of Out & Equal's Workplace Advocates Midwest Learning Series, the event provided a unique education to both a packed live audience and those taking part in a web-based simulcast that featured strategies on growing the ranks of LGBTQ diversity within a company through effective engagement of straight and cisgender colleagues and the community as a whole.

The panel and its moderator represented some of the most successful and inclusive companies in the city.

Panelists included PepsiCo Senior Finance Manager Gatorade Brand Cory Calvin, AON Director Global Marketing & Communications Phil Clement, Accenture Senior Analyst Strategy Allison Katz and CNA Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Sarah Pang.

Mesirow Financial Chief Inclusion and Human Resources Officer Toni Cornelius moderated the event.

Each panelist offered ideas for ally engagement presently in use at their companies that were often so innovative, their peers were inspired to suggest them at their own places of work. Everything from creating proud ally badges, to taking part in community events such as LGBTQ job fairs to recruiting support from world famous soccer teams such as Manchester United became part of a wealth of information enthusiastically received by the audience.

"To me, being an ally is something that is not just limited to the LGBT [community]," Katz said. "For other groups across gender, race, social economic groups, the concept of an ally is so important."

Based in London, Clement noted both active LGBT and ally communities.

"The group of allies is really a maturing movement," he said. "The notion of if you're straight there is a role for you and that you are welcome to make mistakes is really something that needs to happen."

For more information about Out & Equal, visit OutAndEqual.org .


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