By Robert Salcido, Statewide Field Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org, @rob_salcido
In the first six months of 2017, Texas Diversity Council convened their inaugural LGBT-Allies Diversity Summit in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin.
Practitioners of diversity and inclusion or those in the corporate sector may very well know what the Texas Diversity Council (TDC) is all about. For those not in the know, it is an organization that advances diversity and inclusion by transforming workplaces and communities into inclusive environments.
TDC fosters an understanding of diversity and inclusion as a dynamic strategy for business success and community well being. Over the last few years, TDC has made strides to broaden the scope of their vision to include workplace issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. Until this year it has consisted of breakout sessions at their other events, to include the Diversity & Leadership Conference, Healthcare Diversity Summit, Multicultural Leadership Roundtables and their Women in Leadership Symposium to name a few. It is exciting to see these breakout sessions transform into a summit dedicated to conversations surrounding LGBTQ workplace equality.
Participating in these inaugural summits, Equality Texas has had the opportunity to build on our partnership with the council and effectively advance advocacy and education for equal treatment of gay and transgender Texans to corporate leaders from across the state. Some of these businesses are pledge signers of Texas Competes and believe that in order for Texas businesses to compete for top talent, we must have workplaces and communities that are diverse and welcoming for gay and transgender people.
While most Texas businesses are doing the right thing when it comes to equal treatment of their LGBTQ employees, partnerships like this allow Equality Texas to get in front of business leaders to discuss ways they can improve workplace policies, navigate the important task of implementation as well as discuss their external advocacy efforts.
Texas can avoid major competitive risks – and win investment, business, and talent – by sending a clear and consistent signal that the LGBTQ community is fully welcome here. This message matters to large and small businesses, to tourism and travel bookers, and to talented workers. Treating LGBTQ people fairly and welcoming them warmly costs nothing and would change our state’s brand for the better, while creating quantifiable, long-term economic benefits. That’s what we call a smart business decision.