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What an OUTstanding achievement…

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14th October 2014

Looking back, I can’t even begin to tell you what a crazy whirlwind of a year it’s been for OUTstanding. This time last year we had 6 corporate members, now we have an amazing 21, including 9 members of the FTSE 100, and an ever-growing set of inspirational individual members.

Last week (October 9th), we were so proud to release the 2014 OUTstanding lists of LGBT & ally business leaders with our media partner, the Financial Times. We had an overwhelming number of nominations and it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to a Top 100 LGBT and a Top 20 Allies. It genuinely saddens me that we couldn’t feature everyone who was nominated.

Of course, as is the nature of these lists, we did have to find someone who was top, and someone who was bottom. 2014 has been an incredible year for LGBT equality in the UK and part of this was seeing our first ever openly gay CEO of a FTSE 100 company. His ground-breaking appointment is a massive step for LGBT equality in business, and it makes Christopher Bailey, CEO & CCO Burberry, a well-deserving recipient of our LGBT business leader of the year award.

This year, not only did we have a top 100 LGBT, but we also created the first ever Top 20 allies in business list. As we’ve grown as an organisation, we’ve realised more and more the importance of visible ally role models. After 40 years advocating LGBT rights, and most recently speaking out against the Ugandan ‘anti-gay’ bill, whilst spearheading the outrageously successful Virgin Group, Richard Branson places himself firmly as our top ally, and the recipient of our inaugural lifetime LGBT ally award. The lovely people at Virgin were kind enough to send us a fantastic video of Richard accepting his award, which can be viewed here.

The response to the lists has been phenomenal. We had more media attention than we could have ever imagined, more than doubling our press from last year, and even getting so much traffic that our website crashed! It’s only fitting that we also held our biggest event yet. Kindly hosted by Deustche Bank, we were joined by over 300 people who helped us in raising a glass (or several) to all of those who are truly making the workplace a more welcoming place for LGBT people. We even had Lionel Barber, Editor of the FT, who was kind enough to share his thoughts on the list. His inspiring speech from the evening can also be viewed by clicking here.

As I wrap up my incredibly long blog post (but I did have lots of exciting news to share!), I just want to remind everyone that our work here is not done. Last year I was told countless stories of people seeing the list and stepping up and being more true to themselves, and I hope to see more of the same this year. Please share your stories with us and help us to celebrate all of the OUTstanding heroes of the business world.

For more information on OUTstanding and to view the photos from our fabulous event visit our website – www.out-standing.org.

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