Keeping Broward Economically Competitive: How Policies of Inclusion Impact the Bottom Line and Strengthen the Local Economy

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Posted on August 30, 2013 - 3:18pm by Sue.

[NEWS RELEASE]

Equality Means Business Luncheon

Thursday, September 12 @ 11:30 am at Hyatt Regency Pier 66

 

How can Broward be more economically competitive and improve its reputation as an inclusive place in which to live and work? What will it take to recruit and retain young, smart entrepreneurs ready to hatch the next Google to the area?  These are among the topics of anEquality Means Businessroundtable discussion on Thursday, September 12 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

 

Presented by Equality Florida Institute in partnership with the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Florida Blue, Wells Fargo and theFlorida Diversity Council, the panel will feature a groundbreaking dialogue about how practices that foster inclusion and diversity in the workplace can transform and strengthen Broward’s economy.

 

Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida and State Representative Joe Saunders will be joined by speakers from Florida Blue, the Human Rights Campaign andWells Fargo to discuss the impact of recent changes in the law and what it will take for Florida to be economically competitive in a global economy where diversity matters.

 

The event comes as major employers are adopting policies that recognize and protect the families of gay and unmarried employees.

 

This week Florida-based AutoNation announced that they would afford full rights to legally married gay couples even in states that did not recognize the marriages. Walmart, the nation’s largest private-sector employer, the largest company in the U.S. by revenues, the firm that is No. 1 on the Fortune 500 just extended benefits to domestic partners of employees—gay or straight  

 

According to the 2013 Corporate Equality Index, for the first time in history, a majority of Fortune 500 companies offer both sexual orientation and gender identity protections.  Beyond the basic protections for employees, record numbers of the nation’s largest companies have expanded their benefits packages to include domestic partner benefits.

 

The numbers are irrefutable.  As research shows that diversity and inclusion are connected to economic growth.

 

“Openness to diversity is a driving factor in decisions about where people choose to live and where corporations choose to relocate or expand their operations,” said Nadine Smith.  “Business leaders todayare not only taking a closer look at their internal policies, they also are looking at the quality of life in the communities in which their increasingly diverse workforce must live.”

 

With an international reputation as a gay-friendly tourist destination, Fort Lauderdale has often been in the forefront of advocating for inclusiveness. “We must work harder to ensure that the business community realizes the importance of incorporating policies of inclusion, so that we can continue to attract the best and the brightest,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler.

 

Nearly 90% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies, and nearly two-thirds offer equivalent medical benefits to same-sex partners as they do for married couples. “Broward County has a lot to offer large companies who are considering relocating here, and we must continue to be in step with a corporate culture that values diversity if we are to thrive,” added Seiler.

 

Founded in 2010, Equality Means Business was formed to spotlight major employers in Florida that have adopted comprehensive non-discrimination policies and have demonstrated their commitment to valuing, and proactively including, all employees. The organization’s goal is to improve Florida’s national and international reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live, work and visit.  Equality Means Business supports and provides resources to Florida employers who understand that diversity brings the skills, perspective and other assets that are essential to attracting and retaining a competitive workforce.

 

The Equality Means Business Roundtable takes place on Thursday, September 12 from 11:30 am till 1 pm at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel, 2301 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale. The program includes lunch and is offered at no charge to South Florida business executives.  Space is limited, and RSVP is required.  Register atwww.eqfl.org/emb/broward, email [email protected], or call (813) 870-3735

 

Links

 

Equality Means Business www.equalitymeansbusiness.org

 

HRC 2013 Corporate Equality Indexhttp://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/CorporateEqualityIndex_2013.pdf

 

HRC Municipal Equality Index  http://www.hrc.org/municipal-equality-index#.Uh5TGoLD_CY

 

Equality Florida  www.eqfl.org

 

About Equality Means Business

 

Equality Means Businesswas formed to spotlight major employers in Florida that have adopted comprehensive non-discrimination polices and have demonstrated their commitment to valuing and pro-actively including all employees.

 

Our goal is to improve Florida’s national and international reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live, work and visit.

 

By highlighting employers who have respect for diversity as a core value, we will encourage and provide resources to Florida employers who understand that diversity brings the skills, perspective and other assets that are essential to establishing a competitive workforce.

 

Membership in our Advisory Board is made up of companies and individuals who are highly respected for their commitment to creating a safe and productive workplace for all individuals including providing protection regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

We believe honoring those companies that set the standard with comprehensive policies is the best way to encourage others to promote inclusivity and to strengthen Florida’s reputation in recruiting and retaining a talented workforce.

 

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