On June 29th, IEOut Club, IE Business School’s LGBTQ+ & Allies network, hosted the 11th Annual LGBT@Work Conference at ABC Serrano located in Madrid’s Salamanca district. This year’s theme was “The Best Way Out” and the event brought together over 240 leading LGBTQ+ professionals from around the world to present their industry and company best practices, share personal journeys, and discuss what it means to be LGBTQ+ in the workplace today. This year’s conference was particularly special as it coincided with Madrid’s hosting of World Pride 2017, a historic event that brought more than three million people and associations from around the world to the city in celebration of diversity and equal rights.
The conference began at 5pm with a Business Networking Forum designed for graduating students transitioning into leadership positions in the working world. The forum began with a corporate best practices panel conducted by Fundación SERES, an organization devoted to the promotion of Social Corporate Responsibility among major corporations. The panel was moderated by Lucila García & Álvaro Merello of Fundación SERES and included HR representatives from companies who participated in the Fundación SERES “Good Practices in Diversity & LGBTQ” report.
• Miguel Castro – Sr. Director, Lead for Culture & Identity – SAP Global Diversity & Inclusion Office
• Carla Otero – Head of Inclusion & Diversity (Spain) & Co-Chair Women & Supporters of Western Europe – Willis Towers Watson
• Ángel Rodrigo – Resourcing, Diversity & Inclusion Team Leader – Vodafone España
• Malek Nejjai – Global Chief Diversity Officer – Amadeus IT Group
• José Javier Muñoz Castresana – Security & Civil Protection Director – Metro Madrid
Link to the report: CLICK HERE .
The panel was followed by a diversity & inclusion workshop, led by Roy Gluckman, a subject matter expert from South Africa; an entrepreneurial workshop, presented by Darren Spedale, founder of StartOut, an organization for LGBT entrepreneurs in the United States; a personal testimony from Magda Markowska, a young professional and previously closeted lesbian who used her coming out process to create Nielsen’s first European LGBT Network; and concluded with a presentation from Pierre and Adrien Gaubert, founders of myGwork, an online recruitment and networking platform for LGBT professionals and graduates.
Santiago Iñiguez, Executive President of IE University, delivered the conference’s official welcome to an energetic room of attendees, representative of over 37 nationalities from around the globe. The 2017 LGBT@Work Speakers Series began with a personal testimony from Shelly McNamara, Vice President of Human Resources at Procter & Gamble. She encouraged conference attendees to open their hearts and minds as she shared her journey as a member of the LGBT community to audience members from the perspective of a mother, sister, daughter, aunt, and life partner. She concluded her testimony with a poetry reading, a moving piece written in memory of her greatest ally, her mother-in-law, which moved some audience members to tears. Shelly encouraged those in attendance to live authentically and to work together at becoming better students, future employees, leaders, and human beings.
Next up was Imran Khan, Creative Agency Lead of Google, who took to the stage to deliver an energetic and inspiring presentation about work life as a member of the Gaygler community, Google’s internal LGBTQ network. Imran’s presentation included emotional videos relating to the influence technology has had over the past decade in advancing rights for LGBTQ persons, including the approval of same-sex marriage in France and the use of Google’s homepage as a platform for standing up against LGBTQ discrimination during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
The first half of the LGBT@Work Speakers Series concluded with a presentation by Vincent Doyle, IE University Professor & author of Making Out in the Mainstream: GLAAD and the Politics of Respectability. Vincent discussed in detail his experience with GLAAD, a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media, and explained his inspiration behind the authoring of his book. He concluded his presentation with a directive to the audience: to continuously reassess the way the LGBTQ+ community is represented to ensure that efforts in developing the business leaders of tomorrow are truly representative of the entire LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Malek Nejjai, Global Chief Diversity Officer of Amadeus IT Group & Santiago Iñiguez joined together on stage to present Margarita Alonso with the LGBT Leadership Award, IEOut Club’s highest recognition for individual achievement. The honor was bestowed upon Margarita for her significant and positive impact in advancing LGBT issues within IE University, while serving in her former position as the Director General of the IE Foundation.
The second half of the LGBT@Work Speakers Series began with an introduction by Michelle Raymond, IE Business School PhD Candidate and President of IEOut Club. In addition to providing a brief history about the advent of the LGBT@Work Conference, Michelle spoke about IEOut club’s year-round activities which include the club’s: partnership with Fundación Eddy-G, Madrid’s first youth LGBTQ+ shelter home; monthly social events; documentary screenings highlighting LGBTQ+ issues around the world; and information booths at campus wide events dedicated to promoting LGBTQ+ awareness among students and faculty. She concluded by inviting to the stage and thanking the 2017 IEOut Club Coordinator Team: Zayne Imam, Leonardo Lima, William Monts de Oca, Cristobal Bozdogan, Rick Baray, and Arturo Avila. 
Sadiq Gilliani, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Lufthansa captivated the audience with his heroic account of his personal and professional coming out journey. His success story spoke of the support system provided to him by his family and mentors within his organization, and also his determination and initiative to continuously take risks.
Zayne Imam, head of the LGBT@Work Speaker Committee, introduced the conference’s next presenter, Pauline Park, Chair of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy and a 2012 Huffington Post “Most Influential Asian LGBT Icon.” Pauline spoke about transgender issues and her experience co-founding and running New York’s first transgender advocacy organization. She highlighted the fact that the fight for transgender equality transcends New York state’s borders and shared startling statistics about the lack of transgender protections nationwide. Pauline recounted an eye-opening experience and appealed to audience members that discrimination can assume all shapes and sizes, and protections must be set in place to represent everyone regardless of a person’s age, gender, or sexual orientation.
The final presentation of the evening was delivered by Brian Rolfes, Global head of recruiting at McKinsey & Company, and Co-Founder of GLAM, Mckinsey’s internal LGBTQ+ network. Brian’s energetic and interactive presentation highlighted research in support of LGBTQ+ persons and women in leadership positions within organizations. He offered frameworks in support of his findings and walked audience members through his personal and professional coming out journey, which began at the advent of his career at Mckinsey, almost 20 years ago. Brian concluded his thought-provoking speech with a gift presentation, representative of his home country, to the lead organizer of LGBT@Work.
Immediately following the LGBT@Work Speakers Series, attendees were invited to join the Business Networking Forum & Speakers Series Participants at the official Networking After Party. Conference attendees enjoyed a tapas-style dinner, drinks, and dancing while interactively networking with event speakers, sponsors, and partnering organizations. Students representative of 27 universities worldwide and business professionals from around the globe attended the 11th Annual LGBT@Work Conference, creating a diverse and electric atmosphere at the longest-running LGBT work conference in Europe.
LGBT@Work 2017 was proudly sponsored by: Amadeus, IE Foundation, McKinsey & Company, Google, Agua enCaja Mejor, Clique, U.S. National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) & IBM.