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John Roberts and the Workplace Equality Index

John Roberts’ Workplace Equality Index

When you think of an activist, what comes to mind? Marching in the streets? Are there other ways to promote LGBT rights, advocating for workplace equality and social change? The Workplace Equality Index, created by John Roberts, just may answer that question.

John Roberts is the creator of the Workplace Equality Index, an equal-weighted index of companies that support LGBT equality in the workplace. He also serves as partner and portfolio manager with Segall, Bryant, and Hamill, where he has managed portfolios screened for LGBT-inclusive policies since 1998. John writes and speaks extensively on the benefits of workplace equality and activist investing, and he was named Entrepreneurial Man of the Year by the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce.

John joins us to explain how managing funds for the Kevin Mossier Foundation led to the creation of the Workplace Equality Index. He describes the process of identifying companies that support LGBT-inclusive policies as well as the progress we’ve made toward workplace equality. John addresses the crucial role of business in driving social change, discussing the impact of data in making the shareholder case for LGBT rights. Listen in for insight around identifying the companies that truly ‘walk the walk’ and investing in a portfolio that aligns with our values!


Topics Covered

How John came to design the Workplace Equality Index

  • Portfolio Manager at Segall Bryant & Hamill
  • Hired by Kevin Mossier Foundation
  • Asked to invest in inclusive companies only

How John determined the Workplace Equality Index metrics

  • EEO policy prohibiting discrimination against LGBT
  • Provide domestic partner benefits
  • Support Pride groups

John’s motive for developing the Workplace Equality Index

  • Put clients first, create a portfolio that aligns with values
  • Only 26 in S&P 500 met requirements the first year

How John identifies companies that support workplace equality

  • Gather data from employees, CDO and HROs
  • Value diversity in the workforce, respect LGBT employees

John’s take on the progress toward LGBT workplace equality

  • The number of companies increased tenfold (240 today)
  • ‘Progress is never linear’
  • Millennial workforce embraces equality

Why some organizations continue to discriminate

  • Ignorance
  • Quantitative data necessary

How to decipher which companies ‘walk the walk’

  • Talk to employees
  • CEO takes a stand

The role of business in driving social change

  • SEC stance follows the administration’s lead
  • Companies play the long game, lead the charge

How to support businesses that promote equality

  • Conversation with a financial advisor
  • Customize portfolio that aligns with values

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