Coaching Lgbt Professionals In The Workplace Transcript


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In 31 states, you can be fired for being gay. In the states where you cannot be fired for being gay, states came up with new legislation making it illegal to fire someone based on sexual orientation.

In this program, our guests discuss how politics and business intersect on this issue.

Our panel discusses the challenges LGBT professionals are facing in the workplace, and types of issues coaches can help address to ensure sexual orientation isn’t a factor in forging a successful career.


* Selisse Berry, Executive Director, Out and Equal

* Daryl Herrschaft, Director, HRC Workplace Project, Human Rights Campaign Foundation

* Kate Karasmeighan, Chief of Staff, Director of Affiliate Relations, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

* David Stocum, Coach and Owner, Great Lives Coaching


In the June 22nd 2007 issue of CondeNaste magazine Portfolio, author David Koeppel writes “The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community has huge buying power and a large disposable income. Companies realize that portraying a gay friendly workplace and marketplace go hand-in hand.”

However within many organizations LGBT professionals continue to experience anxiety, fear, stress, and even harassment at work.

According to Echelon magazine, issues impacting LGBT professionals range from fear in being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity to stress in discussing personal relationships and including same sex partners at workplace events.

Can LGBT professionals survive “coming out at work?

Does advocating and supporting a gay friendly workplace have an impact on both company and individual performance?

Our panel of experts answer these questions and more.

Published in: Business, Spiritual, Technology
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Coaching Lgbt Professionals In The Workplace Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: Insight Educational Consulting Ubiqus Reporting (IEC)
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:30 Tom Floyd Hello everyone and welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors and sides of the emerging professional coaching field. I’m Tom Floyd. I’m the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting and your host for today’s show. Well this week our topic is Coaching Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Professionals in the Workplace. We’ll provide an overview in terms of what it means to be out in the workplace. We’ll discuss the challenges that LGBT professionals face in the workplace, we’ll talk about the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and what it means for LGBT professionals in the workplace, and most importantly we’ll talk about how coaches are guiding LBGT professionals in the workplace today. With me to explore this topic are four guests and let me give you a quick overview of who we have with us today. Our first guest, began her career as founding Executive Director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates in 1996. Based in San Francisco, California, Out & Equal is the nation's oldest and only national nonprofit organization specifically dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Selisse also serves on the board of the LGBT Center at the Pacific School of Religion, and is also the co-editor of the book, Called Out: Voices and Gifts of LGBT Presbyterians. Welcome to the show Selisse. 1:49 Selisse Berry Thank you. 1:50 Tom Floyd Our second guest, Daryl Herrschaft is a Director with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, where he has overseen the HRC Workplace Project since 1998. He monitors and evaluates corporate policies surrounding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors. Daryl is lead author of the HRC Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index, a nationally recognized tool that rates corporate policies and practices on key criteria that impact LGBT people, and The State of the Workplace for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans. Welcome to the show Daryl. 2 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 2 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 2:24 Daryl Thanks for having me. Herrschaft 2:26 Tom Floyd Our next guest, Kate Karasmeighan is the Chief of Staff and Director of Affiliate Relations for National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, or NGLCC. With more than 45 state and local chamber affiliates in the U.S. and nine internationally, the NGLCC is the largest LGBT business development and economic advocacy organization in the world. Kate has spearheaded the creation of the NGLCC’s Women's Business Initiative or WBI. The WBI serves as an additional networking tool for the lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied women's business community and is a catalyst for increased discussion on issues affecting LBT business women. Welcome to the show Kate. 3:08 Kate Thank you. Karasmeighan 3:09 Tom Floyd And our fourth guest, David Stocum is an International Coach Federation certified coach, and is also the owner of Great Lives Coaching. David is a leading LGBT coach specializing in assisting gay men in creating thriving lives. In addition to offering GayRelate, Get Clients Now and Get Hired Now, David has created coaching programs to support coming out and activists in creating change while achieving personal balance. He has worked with clients including university professors, managers and business owners on whole life issues. Prior to founding Great Lives Coaching, David spent 15 years in management with such firms as Wells Fargo, AMC Theaters and Ames Department Stores. Welcome to the show David. 3:48 David Stocum Glad to be here. 3 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 3 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 3:49 Tom Floyd Glad to have you. Well as we always do I’d like to kickoff our show today with some data that our research team collected to set the stage. And I’d like to begin with some research that highlights what it means to be “out” at work: In the June 22nd, 2007 issue of CondeNaste magazine Portfolio, writer David Koeppel asks, “Despite anti-discrimination policies and politically correct lip service, can your career really survive coming out at work?” The Portfolio article also cites former corporate executives who say that, “many people still perceive senior executives as ‘white married men who play golf on the weekends.’quot; Another finance executive profiled by Portfolio points out that, “The LGBT community has huge buying power and a large disposable income. Financial services products are in many ways more important to same sex couples because of the complications they face regarding estate planning and other issues. Companies realize that portraying a gay friendly workplace and marketplace go hand-in hand.quot; Well Selisse I’d like to start with you with a big picture question. Can you paint a picture for us in terms of what it means to be out in the workplace, and how being out in the workplace has really evolved over the past several years? 5:10 Selisse Berry Yes, we’ve seen significant progress over the last few years and I think because of the work of the organizations that are represented here today we for example in 1999 we had 200 people at our very first Out and Equal Summit in Atlanta, Georgia which brings together LGBT employees and HR professionals and executives primarily from Fortune 500 companies but really from any workplace. Last moth we had 2,400 people in Washington D.C. at our Annual Summit. And so from 20 countries and 48 states. So I think that’s just an example of how far we’ve come with people being able to really feel like that can come out. We have a lot of work to do but it feels like we’ve grown significantly and people feel more and more comfortable because companies in general are embracing diversity at all levels including LGBT issues. 6:19 Tom Floyd In general from your experience you know would you say it has become more accepted to be out in the workplace? 4 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 4 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 6:25 Selisse Berry Absolutely. And I think one of the things that we continue to struggle with is people at the top. I think often that’s the last bastion but people are realizing, with the support of their LGBT employee group, with you know more and more straight allies in companies that people really at levels of the organization feel like they can come out and have access. Actually what we’ve seen also is that in some cases coming out as LGBT has actually helped people’s career. They’ve been in you know marketing or IT or something but their real interest is around diversity issues and then they you know start working in HR or are hired within the diversity department to really help other people you know look at those, again at all diversity including LGBT issues. 7:33 Tom Floyd And can you also tell us a little bit more about the work that Out and Equal does in general, maybe a little bit more about your real mission and things like that as well? 7:42 Selisse Berry Yes, our mission is really to help create workplaces where people can be out and equal so we work with companies around creating policies that would make an equal workplace for LGBT people. Our biggest program every year of course is our Annual Summit that we just had. Next year it will be in Austin, Texas bringing together people for four days of speakers and workshops. A lot of education around LGBT workplace issues. We also offer an LGBT diversity training program, our Building Bridges training where we’ll come to a company and work with either their HR or any group of employees to kind of walk them through LGBT Diversity 101. And then we have networking events for employees. We have ten regional affiliates now around the country where people get together and sort of you know network and share best practices around LGBT issues. We’ve come up with kind of a 15 steps to an out and equal workplace that really helps people understand what are some of the basic things that they need to have in place in order to really value and show people how much they value the LGBT community at work. 5 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 5 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 9:02 Tom Floyd Fantastic. Now Daryl I’d like to turn to you next. You’re the Director of the Workplace Project for the Human Rights Campaign. Can you tell us a little bit more about the Corporate Equality Index that HRC produces each year? 9:17 Daryl Sure. Herrschaft The Corporate Equality Index, and first I just want to say that the work and the progress that Selisse has just talked about is at least partly due to I think the diverse organizations that we have in the GLBT community that work on these issues and GLCC and Out and Equal being two of them. Of course those GLBT employees who go to work each day and change the hearts and minds of their co-workers and managers. What the Corporate Equality Index does, this is a rating system. It’s the only comprehensive national measure of corporate polices based toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. It’s a rating system. We rate companies on a scale from zero to one hundred based on whether or not they meet criteria that we think defines corporate social responsibility toward the GLBT community. We first started looking at the rating system, first started administering it rather in 2002. We had 13 companies that had scored 100% at that time. Over the years we’ve used it as a roadmap to help guide companies toward the kind of policies that their GLBT employees need. This year when we released the report just a week or two before the Out and Equal conference in Washington D.C. we found 195 companies had reached that sort of coveted score of a perfect 100% on the Corporate Equality Index. 10:56 Tom Floyd So really in the past you know four or five years it sounds like it went from an initial group of just 13 to over 195, that’s fantastic. 11:05 Daryl And a hundred and ninety five companies employ collectively a bit more then eight Herrschaft million people so I think it not only has tracked the progress I think it has also pushed the progress along just by the sort of competitive nature of companies. But more then eight million employees now enjoy the benefits and protections that the Corporate Equality Index calls out. 6 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 6 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 11:30 Tom Floyd And can you give us some examples of some of the companies that have scored positively in the Corporate Equality Index? 11:36 Daryl Well they’re really brand names from across all industries. Herrschaft This feature is not really limited to the coast as it used to be or to high tech. You know the usual suspects like Citi Group, Microsoft, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, are ones that you would expect. Nike of course is another one. Then you know this year Waste Management got 100%. Raytheon you know J.C. Penny, a number of companies that you wouldn’t normally expect to see you know going all out. I think that what that is saying is that companies by and large have recognized more so then they did in previous decades that diversity is more then just compliance that it also represents a business opportunity. 12:31 Tom Floyd What are some of the factors that HRC takes into consideration when determining the CEI score for an organization? 12:40 Daryl Well I think why the Corporate Equality Index is so important is because GLBT Herrschaft Americans really don’t have any protections in most places the way that other diverse constituencies in the workplace do so there is no national anti-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. There are very few places in the country where employees can have their relationships recognized like our heterosexual counterparts who can get married anywhere, walk into work the next day and get a full slate of benefits. So the Corporate Equality Index really I think kind of spells out for companies how they can fill in some of these gaps for this you know historically disadvantaged and discriminated against population so it’s just those kinds of things. Employment protection so that all GLBT people won’t lose their jobs just for coming out, providing domestic partner benefits whether it’s health insurance all the way to bereavement leave and family and medical leave, certainly non-discrimination policies covering transgender employees and what are some of the benefits that transgender employees need from their health insurance providers, employee resource groups and diversity training are also scored on the Index. 7 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 7 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 14:07 Tom Floyd Okay. Kate, I’d like to turn to you next. Can you tell us a little bit about the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in terms of what the primary mission is of your organization? 14:18 Kate Absolutely. Karasmeighan Well the NGLCC is actually celebrating; last Thursday was our fifth anniversary so we’re very excited about that. 14:26 Tom Floyd Congratulations. 14:27 Kate Thank you. It’s very exciting. Karasmeighan One of our main programs is the [unintelligible] Diversity Initiative and that serves as a direct link between LGBT owned companies in Corporate America. But you know one of our greatest missions and one of the things that we spend a good amount of time on is really showing Corporate America along with Out and Equal and Human Rights Campaign the real business case for having an open and equal workplace. Productivity is key in any company, any size company, any kind of company and I think that employees can really be most productive when they are able to bring their whole self to the workplace. So you know it’s a part of diversity and working with Corporate America to really show the value and benefit to having an equal workplace. 15:27 Tom Floyd And you know from your perspective as well do LGBT entrepreneurs and business people face the same typical issues that straight entrepreneurs and business people face? 15:41 Kate Absolutely. Karasmeighan I don’t think that being an entrepreneur is made any easier or harder because of you know who a person is attracted to or loves. 15:54 Tom Floyd Okay. 8 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 8 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 15:55 Kate I think that the issues are the same but I also think that there is an additional Karasmeighan pressure if you will too you know there’s the worry of coming out of the closet as a business owner and worrying about losing your contracts you know or if I come out of the closet am I going to lose all of my clients. So you know I think that there are the pressures that any entrepreneur faces with the additional fear of you know coming out of the closet and what that’s going to mean for the bottom line. 16:30 Tom Floyd And a question from a curiosity perspective as well. Are you seeing an increase in the number of LGBT entrepreneurs? 16:38 Kate Absolutely. Karasmeighan I definitely think that we are and the more telling statistic I think or the more telling fact is that you know LGBT entrepreneurs have always been out there. You know until the great work of Out and Equal and HRC and many of our other sister organizations, Corporate America wasn’t necessarily the safest place for someone to be and the safest way to keep yourself from being fired for being gay is to be your own boss. So I think that the more telling fact is that people are now more willing to be out as business owners. You know the gay business owners have been out there for a really long time and you know with the NGLCC and many other organizations we’re seeing those business owners have a reason now to come out of the closet as business owners and that’s been really powerful. 17:33 Tom Floyd Yeah, I can imagine. David I’d like to turn to you next. A general question first. Anything you’d like to add to the conversation so far? 17:42 David Stocum Well first let me correct something in my introduction. Certified by the ICF is probably not the way to describe me. I am a member of the ICF and I lead their GLBT community and working toward my ICF credential. 9 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 9 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 18:01 Tom Floyd Oh okay. 18:01 David Stocum I don’t have it yet. So just to kind of clarify that a little bit. 18:06 Tom Floyd Okay. 18:08 David Stocum One of the things that I’ve come across in working with clients that is key to their success is knowing the environment going in. HRC’s Corporate Equality Index is a huge piece of how they do that. A lot of clients, a lot of GLBT employees and perspective employees are using tools like that for their research and it’s huge that we have that, it’s huge that we have Out and Equal in the workplace as well because we have to, as gay and lesbian employees and folks that support them, we have to do a little extra due diligence you know when we’re looking at our career options then our straight brothers and sisters because of the added risk if we come out. 19:14 Tom Floyd And from just a coaching perspective can you tell us a little bit more about the work that you do as well? 19”22 David Stocum Yeah I work with clients who pretty much like the way their life is but they want to take it to the next level. In terms of the topic that we’re talking about today they typically bring a lot of the same issues that a straight person would bring to coaching. Things like time management, career transition questions, work life balance and things like that. But they also bring things like wanting to strategize about should they or should they not come out at work if they’re already in a position. Strategies for managing the integration of their personal life and their work life when they’re in an environment where, for example, they’re not out at work. So those are typically the kinds of issues that we’re addressing when we’re in coaching and it’s a collaborative kind of partnership relationship where I’m kind of a sounding board and we have conversation around what it is that they want to accomplish and draw on their resources and additional resources that I can bring to the table and suggest that they look at. 10 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 10 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 20:47 Tom Floyd And from a coaching perspective are there a lot of individuals out there who do what you do in terms of really helping guide LGBT professionals and focusing you know on that audience? 20:49 David Stocum There are probably a handful at this point. There are a lot of career coaches for example but if they are straight and don’t understand the gay and lesbian, bisexual, transgender dynamic, there are a lot of gay and lesbian coaches but they’re focusing on other things. As a matter of fact quite frequently I will focus on other things with a client and the career aspect will come up as we’re working on some other project that they wanted to accomplish. Gay and lesbian coaches working in this arena, probably a handful. 21:47 Tom Floyd Okay got it. And one last question before our break. It’s a big picture question. Are Fortune 500 organizations beginning to offer coaching as an outlet for LGBT professionals in the workplace, is that something that you’ve started to see? 22:03 David Stocum Absolutely. They are starting to offer coaching in general and going back to the HRC Corporate Equality Index, because the Fortune 500 are so far out in front of society in general they’re embracing the GLBT community in providing coaching right along with everyone else in the organization. So yes, absolutely that’s happening a lot more frequently. 22:35 Tom Floyd Okay. Fantastic. Well I’m starting to hear the music for our first commercial break so let’s go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone, more from Insight on Coaching when we return. 11 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 11 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 25:16 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching, I’m Tom Floyd. Today the top is Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace and with me are Selisse Berry, Executive Director of Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, Daryl Herrschaft, Director of the Workplace Project for the Human Rights Campaign, Kate Karasmeighan, Chief of Staff and Director of Affiliate Relations for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and David Stocum, Owner and Coach Great Life Coaching. Well we set the stage in the first part of our show in terms of what it means to be out in the workplace. We also talked about the work that many organizations including Out and Equal, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce are doing for the LGBT community. In this segment of our show I’d really like to discuss some of the challenges that LGBT professionals face in the workplace. Some more data to set the stage and really get us going. According to a December 2003 issue of Business Week, in a Workplace article titled Coming Out in Corporate America, Cliff Edwards writes, “Gays are making huge strides everywhere, but in the executive suite.” Some top issues that LGBT professionals face according to Echelon Magazine, include Career development for LGBT professionals Being HIV positive in the workplace Being transgendered in the workplace Domestic partnership benefits Including same-sex partner at workplace events Discussing personal relationships at work Now Selisse I’d like to start with you first to kick us off. In general how would you describe the overall climate for LGBT individuals in a typical Fortune 500 organization? 12 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 12 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 26:52 Selisse Berry Well I would say you know we’re trying to look at the bright side and the bright side is in fact that we you know have made huge strides. I think again looking at the numbers that come to our Summit, looking at the number of people that are scoring 100% on the CEI, all of those are letting us know that we’ve come a long way. I mean the downside again is that we don’t, there’s still no federal law to protect LGBT people and there are certainly companies that just do not want to deal with the issue at all but those are few and far between at this point. The majority of Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partner benefits which is amazing. I think you know when I go and talk to employees that work at companies I mean the bottom line is, Kate said earlier is being able to bring all of who we are to the workplace and being able to focus on our job instead of having to, as we talk to people at the water cooler or talk about our weekend we don't have to change pronouns, we don't have to obsess you know the conversations that we have, that we can be extremely open about who we are and be able again to focus on our job and not on our sexual orientation. Of course the time of year that this comes up is often during the holidays when people have to make the decision about whether or not bring their significant other to the holiday party and the things that straight people just never really think about very much come up for people in our community. I do think we’ve come a long way and lots of people feel very comfortable being out at work. The truth is we still have a long way to go until everyone is comfortable but we’re getting there. 28:53 Tom Floyd Just to build upon that example that you just gave and really I ask this question to all of you. Why can it be difficult for an LGBT professional or an LGBT entrepreneur to bring their same sex partner to a work event? What are some of the fears that that individual might experience or internalize and on the other side of that, what are some of the situations that can arise? 13 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 13 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 29:22 Daryl This is Daryl, I’ll take a stab at that. Herrschaft I think as Selisse was eluding to you know questions about what did you do over the weekend, who are you going on vacation with, those kinds of things, those innocuous question that no one really should and most people don’t even think twice about can cause tension for a GLBT person at work. Not the least of which reason is because it’s legal in 31 states to fire someone just because they’re GLBT but also I think it goes deeper then that. We did some focus group polling early last year and we actually found, we did two groups. One group of heterosexual people and the other group was GLBT about barriers to communicating with each other. The funny thing was that both groups said the exact same thing. That GLBT people didn’t want to feel like they were fostering an agenda on someone else, they didn’t want to feel like they were pushing someone else, they didn’t want to feel like they were pushing an issue that some people might feel uncomfortable by bringing their significant other or by putting a picture up on a desk. I think it was sort of a fear of being perceived as an activist which I think is kind of a new thing in our community. But you know I think it sort of speaks to you know I just want to fit in which is a normal human sort of reaction. The second thing that gay people said was we would really like to have more discussion about it. The folks in the straight focus group said I’m afraid I’m going to ask the wrong thing and I don’t want to accidentally be offensive to someone or you know ask them to consider something that they may not be comfortable with, and that they would also enjoy a lot more conversation. So there’s sort of like this great wall between the two groups that essentially believe and say the same thing but aren’t quite sure how to approach. I think that that’s where the company policies come in to help create an atmosphere where you know leadership in the company is making it clear how it feels about how GLBT employees and their colleagues should be treated. Also having in place programs where people can go for a safe space to feel out. There are a lot of different things out there but I think it’s safe to say the climate hasn’t caught up with where policies are in these companies at this point. 14 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 14 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 32:09 Tom Floyd So just to kind of recap some of the things you were saying. Communication around the issue in general can be difficult on both sides, both on the LGBT side and on the straight side as well but then also when leadership within a company really makes you know public statement, when I say public I mean internal within the organization that “hey this is something that’s okay within our organization and we support this”, that that helps breakdown some of those communication barriers. 32:39 David Stocum I think so. I think people you know can give subtle references that will help a GLBT employee understand that they’re an ally. But I mean when I looked at Bill Perez, who’s the former CEO of Nike, he gave a speech once during some kind of diversity luncheon. In the list of categories he mentioned sexual orientation and he said that more then anything else that he had done in his tenure there was responsible for improving productivity and making a more welcoming climate. Just because people who were in the audience heard him say that, gay and straight, they felt empowered by it. 33:24 Tom Floyd Another example I can think of ithat just popped in my head when I said that. I was at Cisco Systems once and they had had their first coming out event. There were about six vice presidents there in the company speaking on the importance of it. I remember when I saw that too, it resonated with me too. I thought “wow that’s really empowering and you know cool basically for lack of a better term that there were six vice presidents there making a statement about it” - that definitely seemed very powerful. 33:55 David Stocum And did they actually stay the whole time? You know I think— 33:57 Tom Floyd They did believe it or not. 33:58 David Stocum Yeah I mean that’s great. 15 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 15 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 33:59 Tom Floyd And I can tell you getting a Cisco executive to stay longer then 30 minutes in any situation can be challenging sometimes. 34:04 David Stocum Yes that’s impressive. 34:05 Tom Floyd But yes they really did, and they were really engaged. 34:09 Kate This is Kate. Karasmeighan I would just in and mention a phenomenon called the cost of the closet. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s really the cost to LGBT individuals when they don’t feel that they can come out and you know their fear maybe real or perceived but you know everything from the water cooler talk that Selisse mentioned to you know bringing your partner to the party, if you don’t bring someone with you and if you don’t you know drop those little personal hints that we all give at the water cooler on Monday morning, you’re perceived to be you know not as open, not as engaged at work, not as willing to be a team player and that really impacts the forward progression of an LGBT person’s career if they’re in the closet. It has a significant impact on career paths as well as going as far and as base as salary. You know if your boss or manager does not feel comfortable with you and feels that you’re not necessarily completely there, they’re less likely to consider you for a promotion and less inclined to feel personally involved enough to give you a significant raise or the raise that you may be due. 35:32 Tom Floyd Well and that actually gets to a question that I was dying to ask on the show today as well. To all of you and Kate it sounds like you really started to address that for me. That question really was, have there been any results from surveys or reports or documented cases like that where an LGBT professional’s performance had declined as a result of not being out in the workplace? I guess basically the question I wanted to ask all of you was are there correlations that can be drawn between being out and the impact on an individual’s overall performance at work? 16 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 16 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 36:11 Kate Well I think that there is a lot of anecdotal evidence. Karasmeighan I think that all of us could probably point to a person or entire groups of people and say you know these people weren’t as productive as they could be because they had to hide part of who they are. There is an amazing economist M. V. Lee Badget who as done studies on exactly the phenomenon the cost of the closet and she and her partner Gary Gates have done amazing work and amazing research and really documented and put numbers to the amount that an LGBT person in you know a specific fields may be loosing just because they are not comfortable coming out of the closet. And I don’t mean to say that that’s on the LGBT person. I really think that the onus of making a safe place for LGBT people to come out, the onus for making that social pressure is for management. You know management has to be there to model the safe way to come out or model the appropriate behavior to you know staff that comes out and really set the tone for the office, for the entire company and it has to come from the top. 37:34 Selisse Berry This is Selisse and just to piggyback on that it’s definitely a two way street. I think that the policies that we all are working to make sure that companies have in place are kind of the first line of defense and that’s what the senior executives can point to and say this you know we have an LGBT friendly workplace here. Then you know kind of walk the talk so that people feel comfortable coming out. Then it really is I think once you have the policies in place then it really is up to us as LGBT people to you know begin that process. Everybody’s in a different place and I certainly respect people that don’t feel comfortable but I feel like a lot of what’s going on, at this point in time is internalized homophobia and we need to just kind of get beyond that and move forward and start coming out to our colleagues and our supervisors. I think I consistently see that people are surprised with the results in a very positive way because so many colleagues are just waiting for the person to say something. Like Daryl was saying, people are afraid of saying the wrong thing. It’s just so much easier and more comfortable when you finally just say “this is who I am and it’s just not that big a deal” and let’s move on. 39:01 Tom Floyd Right. 17 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 17 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 39:01 David Stocum And Tom this is David. I would like to jump in on that process piece. You know like Selisse and Kate have said once you create the relatively safe comfortable work environment then it comes to the point where it’s our individual responsibility to take that next step. What’s holding us back nine times out of ten is some fear. The way that we eliminate our process through fear quite frequently involves objectively strategizing how we would deal with the situation that we fear when it comes up. It’s very difficult to do that with a significant other or on your own or even with a supervisor because there’s too much invested and that’s where a good coach can come in and be that objective party to help you work through that process of overcoming the fear so that you’re comfortable in that comfortable workplace environment. 40:09 Tom Floyd And David just to build upon the example that we used a little while back about the individual who is struggling whether or not to bring his or her same sex partner to a workplace event, as a coach how would you help guide an individual in that process if you’re meeting with them one on one, with him or her one or one and she shares that fear that she has or that example, how would you guide them? 40:32 David Stocum Well the first piece is to assess the environment. If I’ve been working with this client for awhile, I’ll already have that piece of information. If it’s a new client, we’ll have a conversation about how safe is that environment. Then I’ll ask the question, “what’s your fear around bringing your partner to the party” and go from there. It’s kind of like an onion, every fear has different layers and as we peel the different layers away we’ll get at what the root fear is and then you just look at it. You know what’s the worst case scenario? How would you deal with that scenario? Is the worst case scenario that you get fired? Then you process through that, me asking a series of questions, the client drawing on their resources and bringing in outside resources as we need to. But it all starts with two things, assessing the environment and getting to what the real fear is. 18 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 18 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 41:44 Tom Floyd And one really direct question for all of you, in the next few minutes before our break. A direct honest question. In all of your experiences and opinions, are LGBT professionals in some cases still being harassed in the workplace today? We’ve talked about a lot of really great positive examples are there still situations on the other side where LGBT professionals are being harassed? 42:15 Daryl This is Daryl. Herrschaft I believe both polling, statistical information, and anecdotal information support the fact that they are. There’s a University of New Hampshire study that was out recently. I [unintelligible] comes and Out and Equal have done some work around harassment. I think there have been statistics of anywhere between 16% and 60% of GLBT people have said that they felt some kind of discrimination or harassment at work that sort of cross a whole bunch of different studies that we’ve looked at. We recently saw someone testify on Capitol Hill in favor ENDA about really weeks of torment and nasty notes and bordering on physical confrontation she had to endure after she came out. So there’s no question. I would just add too when you’re sort of trying to assess the climate you’ve got very different climates within one organization. So working at an automaker’s corporate headquarters versus working on the factory floor it could be very different. So in addition to looking at the policies one thing that I think is helpful to people is that if there is an employee resource group to reach out to them or to go to an Out and Equal conference and then you get to actually see someone standing on the other side of the table and they can give you a much fuller perspective about it. But to answer your question, I’ve certainly heard of that type of harassment continuing a lot. 43:59 Tom Floyd Got it. Well I’m starting to hear the music for our next break. Let’s go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone, more from Insight and Coaching when we return. 19 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 19 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 46:33 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. I’m Tom Floyd. Today the top is Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace and with me are Selisse Berry, Daryl Herrschaft, Kate Karasmeighan, and David Stocum. Well in the last segment of our show I’d like to discuss a very recent piece of legislation that’s been all over the news in the past week and that’s the Employment Non-discrimination Act or ENDA as it’s referred to. Here’s some initial data to set the stage. In the last three decades, gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans have waged a courageous campaign for their workplace rights. Well on Wednesday, November 7, 2007: Legislation to ban workplace discrimination against millions of gay, lesbian and bisexual workers won approval from the U.S. House of Representatives (235-184). Many lawmakers called the legislation historic and long overdue. However debate, opinions, and views on this critical piece of legislation have been heated, to say the least. Because the bill does not include protections for transgender workers, organizations like “Pride at Work” feel this omission makes the bill “deeply flawed” In a statement by Pride At Work: The passage this evening by the House of Representatives of a deeply flawed version of the Employment Non- Discrimination Act (ENDA) is deeply disappointing. Both the removal of gender identity protections for the bill and the incorporation of the language of the infamous Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into legislation that was supposed to free the LGBT community from discrimination are unacceptable to Pride at Work, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituency group of the AFL-CIO. However, many others view the passage of the bill quite differently. According to an editorial titled “An Overdue Step in Equal Justice” that was just published this past Friday, November 9th, in The New York Times “Protecting the employment rights of gay people no longer seems as bold as it did when legislation of this nature was first introduced in 1974. Americans have come a long way in accepting gay rights, and some 20 states already have adopted similar laws. Despite this progress, a federal law is still very much needed, since there remain 30 states that have not acted to prevent gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from being denied jobs or promotions simply because of who they are. Selisse I’d like to start to you in you know a big picture question. Just in general, many individuals may struggle to understand what being transgendered means. Can you provide just you know an overall definition for our listeners out there? 20 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 20 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 49:07 Selisse Berry The term transgender is an umbrella term to include a number of individuals primarily people that, lesbian and gay bisexual people are struggling around sexual orientation and transgender people it’s really about their gender identity around who they are and how they present themselves as a gender person so there are male to female transgender, female to male transgender. Probably in the last I would say 10 to 15 years the transgender community has been, well I guess from the very beginning of our movement it was the transgender people kind of the drag queens [unintelligible] stone walled that really helped move the current LGBT movement forward significantly and have always been a part of our community and I think more organizations have recognized that as the last 10 or 15 years. But we are an LGBT community and so I think that was just a segue into the end of discussion, the difficult part about a bill that would move us forward around non- discrimination of our community and kind of instead of covering all of our community just covering part of our community. 50:37 Tom Floyd And from your perspective why is ENDA so important? 50:42 Selisse Berry Well because of the vacuum, because we haven’t had any kind of laws to protect us many companies have put policies in place that a law like ENDA would mover us forward significantly and as people have mentioned on this program we can still be fired in 31 states in this country. It’s appalling, most people in this country don’t even realize that there are no federal laws to protect us so just being able to not have to do some much work and energy, all the work that people have to do to put those policies in place, those would be a moot point because we would have a non-discrimination policy at a federal level which many you know advance countries already have. A lot of countries are kind of amazed as well looking at the United States that we still don’t have that protection. 51:44 Tom Floyd Daryl, anything that you would add in terms of the importance of ENDA? 21 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 21 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 51:50 Daryl I think it puts all people in the country on a level playing field especially large Herrschaft corporations that operate in different states, they don’t have to abide by one set of laws in Indiana and another in New Jersey for example. I think it, as Selisse said, it puts us on equal footing with some of our largest international competitors. It’s good for business and it’s in line with a fundamental American value that people ought to have a fair shot at work. I mean if there is one sort of overriding value in the United States it is that of equal opportunity and so this is directly in line with judging people based on their merits not based on things that don’t have anything to do with their jobs. 52:45 Tom Floyd David, can you talk to us a little bit about how the issues that transgendered individuals face in the workplace differ from those experienced by gays, lesbians, and bisexuals? 52:57 David Stocum Yes. They face issues related to things like restrooms. I f you’re male and your gender identity is female, that presents obvious challenges. Whereas the GLB part of the community can blend in better then the transgendered part of the community. Because the transgendered part of the community is perceived as more different and in some environments more dangerous then the other parts of the community, they are the ones that are most vulnerable to the discrimination. They are easier to spot so to speak. There are gay men that you wouldn’t spot walking down the street but a transgendered individual quite frequently, you’re going to be real, real sure sooner then with a gay, lesbian, or bisexual individual. So they deal with it more frequently then the rest of the community. 54:21 Tom Floyd Kate, anything that you would add? 22 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 22 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 54:24 Kate I would just go back to what Selisse and Daryl were talking about, the importance of Karasmeighan ENDA in general. You know our largest constituency and the group of people that we really work for are gay and lesbian business owners and most of those businesses are small to medium sized businesses that ENDA wouldn’t necessarily directly impact. But the important thing to remember as someone mentioned early is that Corporate America really leads the way in terms of workplace and obviously social policies and the Employment Non-discrimination Act while it wouldn’t impact small to medium sized businesses, would allow small businesses to then have the cover that you know if a company that’s, I’m from south Georgia. I was just there this weekend so it comes to mind a company in south Georgia that may want to offer LGBT policies and advertise as such would not necessarily want to receive the flack from the rest of the community that they would expect. But by being able to say “look Corporate America, Fortune 500’s have this policy in place already and I need to have the opportunity to have that quality employee that I may not necessarily get because they go to Fortune 500’s that’s really important to the small business community.” There is the direct impact that ENDA’s going to have on not just employees of the huge companies that we know about, but also the small businesses that really run the American economic engine. 56:01 Tom Floyd Well huge thank you to the four of you for being on our show today. And always huge thank you for our listeners as well. For more information about our show you can look us up on the Voice of America Business Channel, you can visit our Website at , you can also feel free to drop me an email at . And don’t forget you can also download our show through Apple iTunes as always as well. Thanks everyone, we’ll see you next week! 23 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 23 Coaching LGBT Professionals in the Workplace Transcript