• 21 Nov 2014 by John Curtis

    Your Employees Can Help Create LGBT Equality at Work

    By Guest Blogger|Nov 21, 2014|Social Responsibility

    By John Curtis, manager of Lease Marketing for Xerox

    Progress toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality has picked up tremendous momentum.

    John Curtis,

    “Forward-looking leaders work to embrace diverse perspectives, and provide reasonable and equal opportunities for all employees.”– John Curtis, co-president of GALAXe, the caucus group that advocates for LGBT employees at Xerox

    • Legal recognitions at the federal level in the U.S.
    • Marriage recognition in many U.S. states.
    • Acceptance around the world from the boardroom to neighborhoods.

    This is good news for individuals and families who aspire to reach their full potential in their communities and in their careers. Fair-minded companies lead the way to ensure that workplaces and decisions are free from prejudice. Forward-looking leaders work to embrace diverse perspectives, and provide reasonable and equal opportunities for all employees.

    But we still have work to do. In 29 states in the U.S., employers may fire employees simply for being perceived as LBGT (Source: Human Rights Campaign, map of Statewide Employment Laws And Policies).  In 78 countries, LGBT individuals can be put in jail or worse; in five countries, they may receive the death penalty. (Source: The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans And Intersex Association, map of Lesbian and Gay Rights in the World.)

    At Xerox, employee caucus groups help our leaders define and achieve inclusion goals, full participation, and employee engagement. For LGBT diversity, more than 500 employees are members of GALAXe, Pride at Work. (Straight allies and executives make up 25 percent of our membership.)

    GALAXe members collaborate to foster a work environment where all employees treat each other with equality and respect; where individuality contributes to high-performing teams; where organizations work together to achieve common business objectives. Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox’s chief technology officer and corporate champion for GALAXe agrees. “No matter your colleagues’ sexual orientation or gender identity, it is essential to create an inclusive environment where everyone can bring not only their intellect but also their passion to work,” she says

    .Employees who self-identify as LGBT

    Diversity as a Business Value-Add

    We also work to achieve these goals in our communities with other businesses and LGBT organizations. One resource is our partnership with Out and Equal Workplace Advocates and their 20 Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace. This is a set of tools and best practices that can develop equality in the workplace LGBT employees. These tools have five key sections, and I’m sure you’ll find them useful:

    • Equal Policies & Benefits
    • Talent Management & Professional Development
    • Workplace Climate
    • Community Commitment
    • Advocacy & Corporate Responsibility

    Xerox is a Best Place to Work for LGBT Employees

    This work has not gone unnoticed.

    The Human Rights Campaign has granted Xerox a top score 100 percent  on its Corporate Equality Index, and they include us on their list of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” Moreover, Xerox is one of 10 companies to have achieved and sustained this 100 percent rating each and every year since inception. That’s 13 consecutive years.2015 LGBT Best Place to Work

    Supporting LGBT inclusion and workplace equality is more than the right thing to do: It is critical for companies and leaders in the 21st century who want to achieve business goals and improve bottom-line results.

  • 01 Dec 2014 by Sophie Vandebroek

    "No matter your colleagues sexual orientation or gender identity, it is essential to create an
    inclusive environment where everyone can bring not only their intellect but also their passion to
    work.” ~ Dr. Sophie Vandebroek


    Reflections as Corporate Champion for Xerox's LGBT Employees

    By Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox Chief Technology Officer and President of the Xerox Innovation Group
     

    As my second 3-year term as Xerox's corporate champion for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
    Transgender (LGBT) employees comes to an end, let me share some reflections.
    Significant progress has been made: Xerox and the communities where many of us live have become
    more inclusive. There are more openly gay role models. There is Tim Cook, CEO of Apple and first
    openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. There is Elio Di Rupo, the outgoing Prime Minister of
    Belgium, my home country, who is the second openly gay head of government in modern times. There
    are also more out athletes and TV characters.


    A lot remains to be done. Statistics show that half of United States or European LGBT employees fear
    coming out at work. In 78 countries LGBT individuals can be put in jail or worse, in 5 countries they can
    receive the death penalty. Many states in the USA still don’t allow same-sex marriage or have no legal
    protection against discrimination of LGBT employees in the workplace.
    Throughout my almost 25 years at Xerox I have enjoyed the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of
    individuals: people from many cultures and races, from pre-Baby Boomers to Gen Y, individuals with
    disabilities, men and women of various religious beliefs as well as non-believers, and people coming from
    different social backgrounds. Prior to becoming Xerox’s corporate LGBT Champion however, I knew little
    about their community. I had no openly gay friends or family. I had never met a bisexual person or
    someone brave enough to go through a gender transition. Although Xerox truly embraces diversity and
    has done so for over 40 years, our LGBT employees had been invisible to me.
    Over the last 6 years, I have had the privilege of learning first hand from LGBT colleagues about their
    personal and often painful journeys to becoming authentic. There have been many touching moments.
    Two employees going through a gender transition could not afford to pay for surgery. Others admitted to
    lying about their personal lives, as they did not feel comfortable being out at Xerox. I met couples who
    had lived together for decades but were not allowed to marry, something I had taken for granted and
    done twice. I recall being on the verge of tears hearing stories of people who were rejected by friends, coworkers
    and even family due to religious beliefs. None of this is fair and all I could think of was: How can I
    help?


    Together with GALAXe, our Employee Resource caucus group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
    employees, I wanted to make sure all employees could safely choose to become visible and bring their
    whole self to work. We organized “LGBT 101” educational sessions across the globe. We reached out to
    my corporate officer peers to give them an opportunity to understand the specific challenges faced by
    LBGT employees. Every single Vice President we approached immediately opened the door and became
    an amazing executive ally. So when the day came to sign the Amicus briefs in support of withdrawing the
    Defense of Marriage Act in the USA, or to repeal Proposition 8 in California, or to speak up for Equal
    Marriage rights in New York State, we did not sit on the sidelines. As a company, we stood behind our
    core diversity values and joined the efforts in various states to put in place equal rights for all.
    Within Xerox there was also positive change. After an initial pilot in Canada, voluntary self-ID is now
    embedded in the employee surveys globally. All of us can now securely share our gender identity and
    sexual orientation. This allows us to make Xerox an even more inclusive workplace. Almost 4%, or one in
    25, of last years' survey respondents self-identified as LGB or Transgender. They provided specific
    suggestions on what we could do better to allow them to realize their full potential. We have also been
    able to establish the long-overlooked transgender benefits for all Xerox employees. We educated
    managers around the globe on how to respectfully help an individual and coach their team as he or she
    goes through a gender transition.

     

    Most importantly, all Xerox organizations now rate 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate
    Equality Index. This is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to
    LGBT employees. While the Xerox technology business has maintained a 100% score for over a decade,
    this is a significant achievement for our Services business.
    I am writing this blog on the plane returning from the GALAXe caucus group conference in San Francisco.
    It coincided with the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit . Over three thousand (3000!) LGBT
    professionals and allies participated in this global event. Xerox and more than 80 customers and
    competitor companies were Summit sponsors. Our own Mike Feldman, President of Xerox Large
    Enterprise Organization, is on the Out & Equal board of directors. A dozen other Xerox senior leaders
    joined and were able to learn and experience the business power and broad diversity within the LBGT
    community.


    Being the Champion for the Xerox LGBT employees has been a wonderful experience. I gained
    enormous admiration for our out LGBT employees. They show amazing courage to be themselves. I
    admire their passion to speak up for what is right. Countless employees at Xerox have benefited from the
    activism of those who dared to be themselves at work. My dream is that in the very near future, all
    employees will find it natural to be themselves at Xerox and pursue their full potential.
    I feel proud to have played a role in the historical passing of same-sex marriage legislation in New York
    State. I cherish the memory of standing on the steps of City Hall, with Xerox colleagues and the Mayor of
    Rochester, representing the only large Rochester employer with the courage to publicly stand behind our
    beliefs. It was exhilarating when shortly after, same-sex marriage became legal in New York State.
    Dozens of Xerox employees, now my friends, have got married recently. Seeing their touching wedding
    photos triggered tears of joy.


    My association with GALAXe has also enriched my family. LGBT issues have become a frequent topic of
    conversation at the dinner table with Jesús, my husband, and our blended family of six young adults and
    whoever among their friends might be visiting. We have learned to discuss difficult topics and suspend
    judgment. We are more understanding, open minded and respectful for it. I have only gratitude to the
    LGBT community for this awesome gift.


    Tim Cook characterized writing his coming-out essay last month as laying a brick for justice. Now we all
    need to be bold. Please embrace your colleagues, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.
    Create an environment on your team where everyone can bring both, their intellect and their passion to
    work. Doing so is essential to form a strong human fabric. It is essential to be creative and
    entrepreneurial. It is essential to innovate and make sure that Xerox's business is successful for many
    decades to come.


    You can find more info on how to join GALAXe here. GALAXe membership has tripled over the last 6
    years. Please be yourself and be an Ally for everyone who is different.

  • 17 Nov 2014 by John Curtis

    https://digitalbusiness.blogs.xerox.com/2014/11/19/xerox-promotes-lgbt-equality-at-work/#.WNKWv2_ytpg

    Xerox Promotes LGBT Equality at Work

    By Martelle Rodriguez|Nov 19, 2014|Human ResourcesSocial Responsibility|0 Comments

    [Originally posted to the Simplify Work Blog]

    By Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group

    Prior to becoming Xerox’s corporate champion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees, I knew little about their community. I had no openly gay friends or family. I had never met a bisexual person or someone brave enough to go through a gender transition. Although Xerox truly embraces diversity, and has done so for over 40 years, our LGBT employees had been invisible to me.

    That was six years ago. In that time, our LGBT colleagues have given me the privilege of:

    • Learning about their personal, and often painful, journeys to becoming authentic.
    • Meeting employees who were going through gender transitions, and could not afford to pay for surgery.
    • Listening to others admit to lying about their personal lives because they did not feel comfortable “being out” at Xerox.
    • Meeting couples who had lived together for decades but were not allowed to marry — something I had taken for granted and done twice.
    • Being on the verge of tears after hearing stories of people who were rejected by friends, co-workers, and even family, due to religious beliefs.

    None of this is fair and all I could think of was: How can I help?

    Safe, Visible, and Out

    I worked with GALAXe, our caucus group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, to make sure any employee could safely choose to become visible and bring their whole selves to work. We organized “LGBT 101” educational sessions across the Xerox world. We reached out to my fellow corporate officers to give them an opportunity to understand the specific challenges faced by LBGT employees.

    Every single vice president we approached immediately opened the door and became an amazing executive ally. So when the day came to sign the amicus briefs in support of withdrawing the Defense of Marriage Act in the U.S., or to repeal Proposition 8 in California, or to speak up for equal marriage rights in New York state, Xerox did not sit on the sidelines. We stood behind our core values, and joined the efforts in various states to promote equal rights for all.

    After an initial pilot in Canada, voluntary self-identification is now embedded in employee diversity and respect surveys around the world. All of us can now share our gender identity and sexual orientation securely. Almost 4 percent, or one in 25, of last years’ survey respondents self-identified as  lesbian, gay, bi sexual, or transgender. They provided specific suggestions on what we could do better to allow them to realize their full potential. We have also been able to establish the long-overlooked transgender benefits for all Xerox employees. We educated managers around the globe on how to respectfully help an individual, and coach their team, as he or she goes through a gender transition.

    Most importantly, all Xerox organizations rate 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. This is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to LGBT employees.

    I cherish the memory of standing on the steps of City Hall, with colleagues and the mayor of Rochester, N.Y., representing the only large Rochester employer with the courage to publicly stand behind our beliefs. It was exhilarating when, shortly after, same-sex marriage became legal in New York. Dozens of Xerox employees, now my friends, have married. Seeing their touching wedding photos triggers tears of joy.

    Being the champion for the Xerox LGBT employees has been a wonderful experience. I have gained enormous admiration for their amazing courage to be themselves. I admire their passion to speak up for what is right. Countless employees at Xerox have benefited from the activism of those who dared to be themselves at work. My dream is that in the very near future, all employees will find it natural to be themselves at Xerox and pursue their full potential.