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Todd Sears and Return on Equality

Return on Equality helps a business’s Return on Investment

There’s no doubt you’re familiar with the concept of a Return on Investment (ROI) — but what about the idea of a Return on Equality? Todd Sears of Out Leadership shares his insight on how business can improve its bottom line LGBTQ inclusion.

Todd Sears’ Return on Equality

Out Leadership is on a mission to engage the world’s top corporations in implementing inclusive policies and advocating for LGBTQ leadership and equality. So, how can the LGBT community and our allies support those businesses that use their power for good, adopting diversity as a core business value?

Todd Sears is a recovering investment banker turned LGBTQ equality entrepreneur. He established Out Leadership in 2011 with the intention of mobilizing LGBTQ leadership as a business voice and supporting organizations in tapping into the dividends of inclusion or Return on Equality. Todd created the first team of financial advisors on Wall Street to focus on the gay community and led pioneering equality initiatives for Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse. He serves on the nonprofit boards of the Williams Institute, The Palette Fund, the Global Equality Fund and Lambda Legal.

Today, Todd offers insight around the three pillars of Out Leadership—business, talent and equality. He discusses the slow progress when it comes to LGBTQ leadership at the CEO level of Fortune 500 companies and the shifting perception of being gay at work as an advantage. Todd walks us through Out Leadership’s global initiatives, sharing the details of OutNEXT, OutWOMEN and Quorum as well as their OL-iQ inclusion diagnostic tool. Listen in for Todd’s take on limiting beliefs among the LGBTQ community and learn how we can ensure that businesses demonstrating a true commitment to inclusion are rewarded on their bottom line with a Return on Equality.

Hear more about Todd Sears and Return on Equality:

Topics covered on Return on Equality

The idea of Return on Equality

  • Equality as core value impacts bottom line
  • Driving principle of Out Leadership

The increasing visibility of visible LGBTQ role models

  • Few Fortune 500 CEOs (age, little turnover)
  • Significant LGBT leadership one level down

Out Leadership’s OutNEXT program

  • Best-in-class training for young leaders
  • Understand gay-vantage (e.g.: empathy)

The limiting beliefs in the LGBTQ community

  • Discrimination can lead to internalized homophobia
  • Some overachieve to ‘make up for’ being gay
  • Role models need to share stories

Out Leadership’s global initiatives

  • Began with Out on the Street & Out in Law
  • Added OutNEXT, OutWOMEN & Quorum

The challenge around cultural change

  • Lack of federal leadership
  • Takes time to for structural shift

How to reward businesses working for equality

  • HRC Buyers Guide for Equality
  • Support with Corporate Principles for LGBT Engagement

The strengths and weaknesses of the HRC Corporate Equality Index

  • Single biggest contributor to shift in corporate policy
  • Only one metric measures policy NOT culture

Out Leadership’s OL-iQ

  • Private diagnostic tool to measure LGBT inclusion
  • Specific, tactical action items for improvement

The power of the ally marketplace

  • 8 to 10 times size of LGBT market
  • Spending decisions based on inclusive policies

Todd’s advice for young LGBTQ leaders

  • Benefits to being out at work
  • More people want to support you than don’t

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