Arts & Entertainment
Ford GLOBE Drives For Equality
By Crystal A. Proxmire
Originally printed 7/12/2012 (Issue 2028 - Between The Lines News)
The Director of Occupational Health and Safety at Ford Motor Company is gay. Yup, thousands of auto workers world-wide depend on the decision-making skills of a man who hopes to one day have the right to marry another man. What does this mean for the mammoth multi-national auto manufacturer?
"Not much," Stone says. "It's really not a big deal."
Stone joined Ford Australia in April 1995. When he moved to the United States he brought his family with him, and though he's since gotten divorced and faced his own true passions, he remains close with his former wife and now-grown children.
"I came out around 2000 or 2001. I was really surprised by how accepting people were," Stone said. "While my co-workers knew me initially as a married man with children, there was really minimal reaction at all."
At first Stone simply went about his work, but over time he grew more active in the LGBT movement. He joined Ford GLOBE four years ago and is now one of the company's most vocal diversity advocates.
"Overall GLOBE's mission is to help maintain a corporate culture which provides a safe, inclusive environment where diversity is valued and everyone is empowered to be authentic about themselves in the workplace, without fear of loss of opportunity, thus allowing them full realization of their potential and equal participation in all aspects of corporate life," said Stone.
GLOBE has over 300 members worldwide and countless others benefit from the work of those who keep diversity, acceptance and equality at the forefront of the culture at Ford.
"We have a great social mixer every month amongst the major local auto companies, banks and other financial institutions - other local employers," Stone said. "The group is actively involved in a number of community volunteer projects. As employees we are also advocates for our vehicles so whenever we are in the community we try to promote our great products."
The biggest community-wide outreach is done through Motor City Pride. This year UAW-Ford, GM Plus, and Chrysler GALA all joined forces to support the grand event, which took place in Hart Plaza June 2 and 3.
Within the company, Ford GLOBE is working alongside 11 other Ford Motor Company Employee Resource Groups and with the Joint Diversity Office to affirm to all employees that they are in a safe and affirming place.
This may seem like no big deal to employees like Stone, but in Michigan workplace protections are the exception, not the rule.
In Michigan, apart from some local ordinances, discrimination against people because of their sexuality is still legal. Because there remains many places where hard-working employees have to hide who they are at work or risk being fired or harassed, the Human Rights Campaign compiles an annual list of the major employers who have met the criteria of being a best employer to work for. Six Michigan-based corporations received a perfect score from HRC; Ford, Chrysler, Dow Chemical, Herman Miller, Kellogg's and Whirlpool. http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/best-places-to-work-2012. As long as equality on the job is considered a perk and not a basic right, groups like GLOBE serve as an example for other companies to follow. To learn more about Ford GLOBE visit their website at http://fordglobe.org/.
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