On Wednesday, May 2, CEOs and senior staffers at financial giants like Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and HSBC will meet in New York to discuss realizing true LGBT equality. George Stephanopoulos moderates the second annual Out on the Street Leadership Summit at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s headquarters, where speakers include Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein; Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan; former GOP operative Ken Mehlman, and Lynn Utter, president of Knoll Furniture.
We know we’re supposed to hate Wall Street but these folks have sooo much money—and the movement could really use the cash!
The daylong event will focus on what role LGBT equality “can play in the retention of talent in the industry”—whether that’s providing spousal benefits, supporting LGBT employee groups or reimbursing LGBT employees to address tax inequalities.
“People are the most valuable resource our company has, and our support for initiatives like this one matters deeply to them,” said Blankfein, who is also HRC’s corporate spokesman for marriage equality. Over 150 senior-level employees attended the invitation-only event in 2011, with more expected this year.
Former banker Todd Sears founded OOTS to encourage gay and straight financial leaders make Wall Street more attractive to LGBT talent, and to help the career trajectories of out bankers with networking and business opportunities. Currently nearly half of employees at Wall Street firms are closeted. But Sears says his effort is paying off. “Instead of remaining in the safe zone of advocating for LGBT workplace equality which upwards of 70% of Americans support,” said Sears, “these companies have taken courageous stances in more controversial areas, marriage equality, support for which only recently passed the 50% mark in polls.”