Walt Disney World Resort Hosts Inaugural Equality Institute

Filed in: Beyond the Theme Parks, Making a Difference, Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., July 23 2015 – Business leaders representing more than 300 organizations attended the inaugural Equality Institute held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort today. The institute focused on fostering inclusive workplace environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. The all-day seminar was developed by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates—the world’s premier nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving workplace equality for LGBT individuals—in partnership with the Disney Institute.

The event featured global experts, LGBT subject matter experts and human resources professionals who shared their experiences, best practices and tips to build a culture of inclusiveness that attracts and retains a talented and diverse workforce.

According to Selisse Berry, founder and CEO of Out & Equal, there are many benefits to organizations that create welcoming environments for the LGBT community

“Companies stand to benefit by helping employees get over their fear of coming out,” said Berry. “If people are putting their time and their energy into hiding who they are, changing pronouns when they talk about their weekend, then they’re not putting that vital energy into their jobs and into being successful in their careers.”

The event featured collaborative activities and a number of notable speakers, including Dan Harris, weekend anchor of ABC television’s “Good Morning America,” and Walt Disney World President George A. Kalogridis.

“Disney is indeed a stronger company because of our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Kalogridis. “When your business requires people who are exceptional in any regard, it only makes good sense to keep the doors and windows open to every community: every background and experience.”

Walt Disney World Resort has a long track record of supporting diverse groups and events such as the Disney Dreamers Academy, with Steve Harvey and Essence magazine, which helps youth learn how they can harness the power of their dreams. Disney is also a leader in supporting veterans with its Heroes Work Here initiative. This successful outreach program provides jobs and career opportunities for returning U.S. veterans, helping them transition back to civilian life.

“We embed diverse and multicultural thinking into our business to foster collaboration, innovation and continuous learning – enabling us to deliver the best experience for our Cast, our Guests and our community,” said Kalogridis.