Q+ Equality Foundation Expands Q+ Workplace Designation
Launched in Q4 2022 as a 501(c)(3), the mission of Q+ Equality Foundation is to empower Q+ talent and cultivate workplaces where inclusivity thrives, and every identity is celebrated. Q+ Equality Foundation strives to serve as a nexus between students, colleges, businesses, and Q+ professionals.
Currently, over 1.2 million Q+ individuals join the workforce each year with around 30% facing deliberate or unintentional discrimination. Additionally, in the existing workforce, less than half feel comfortable being out. The Q+ Equality Foundation has worked with SMBs, Fortune 500 companies, and LGBTQ+ individuals to establish the Q+ Workplace designation, aiming to set a higher standard of inclusivity and provide better opportunities for Q+ talent, particularly in sectors lacking Q+ representation.
The Foundation’s efforts are focused on elevating Q+ voices in the workplace and promoting equality. Their network includes nearly 100 Equality Ambassadors: mid-to-senior level Q+ professionals volunteering their expertise to foster inclusivity in other organizations and mentor emerging Q+ talent. Notable partnerships include companies like American Express, Applovin, and LocumTenens.com.
Q+ Equality Foundation has witnessed rapid growth! “From partnering with about 40 workplaces and 70 schools at the end of Q1, we have expanded our reach to over 100 workplaces and 850 schools by the end of Q3,” mentioned Q+ Equality Foundation Executive Director, Thomas Ryan-Lawrence (he/him). “We never anticipated establishing relationships with so many schools so quickly! In order to keep up with the increased demand of new Q+ talent using our resources, we need more organizations that wish to earn the Q+ Workplacedesignation.” Ryan-Lawrence continues to say, “We pride ourselves on being a resource to all organizations that hold the Q+ Workplace designation. Sharing our best practices, removing the guesswork, and helping each organization create welcoming workplaces all while raising the standard of inclusion and allyship is what we do.”
The decision to establish the Foundation stemmed from the realization that SMBs historically struggled to implement effective Q+ inclusion strategies due to limited resources and a lack of expertise. Before the Q+ Workplace designation launched, Q+ talent was failing to reach their full potential while businesses were facing higher than average turnover and missing out on attracting top Q+ talent. “Our original objective was to provide direct support to Q+ talent, primarily students and recent graduates,” says Ryan-Lawrence. “However, as we progressed, we recognized our true potential for impact lies in our ability to assist small and medium-sized businesses in enhancing their inclusivity efforts. The more organizations we partner with and designate as a Q+ Workplace, the more opportunities Q+ talent have to find somewhere to call home where they can be their true selves.”
Achieving the Q+ Workplace designation signifies a strong commitment to progressive values and social responsibility. This recognition enhances an organization’s reputation and solidifies its position as a preferred choice for people who prioritize inclusivity. This is especially valuable for prospective and current Q+ employees, as the designation mitigates apprehension, fosters openness, and fosters a sense of representation.
Looking ahead, the Foundation aims to continue its trajectory of growth, with an emphasis on increasing the number of Q+ Workplace designations. “We’ve seen more and more SMBs beginning to understand the benefits of having an inclusive culture, not just for Q+ talent, but for all people,” says Ryan-Lawrence. “While one of the biggest challenges is ensuring everyone feels included in a multigenerational workforce, we absolutely love helping organizations solve that problem. After all, inclusion is a two-way street; it’s not just about the marginalized group…every person matters,” he concludes.
Cristina Gutierrez, VP of People Operations for American Express, remarked, “I’m proud to work at an organization where I feel comfortable bringing my whole self to work and where I am able to create a safe and authentic environment for others”. American Express was a proud sponsor of Q+ Equality Foundation’s “I Am Q+” campaign, launched on National Coming Out Day, to raise awareness and create a meaningful impact by empowering others to be out in the workplace, any day of the year.
To nominate a business for the Q+ Workplace designation, join the “I Am Q+” movement, make a donation, or simply learn more, visit iam.qplusequality.org.