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MIDLAND, Mich. – In recognition of their efforts to champion lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the workplace, five executives and leaders from the Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) were today named to the “OUTstanding in Business” list published by The Financial Times, which honors LGBT and ally leaders who actively contribute to an environment where all employees feel safe, are respected and valued, and are able to bring their whole selves to work. Only EY had as many recognitions on this year’s list.
Top 30 Executive Allies
Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO (3)
“The determination to create an inclusive and respectful workplace is in our DNA at Dow,” said Liveris. “These accolades proudly display Dow’s core values in action. They demonstrate that we are leading by example at all levels of our organization, driving a culture – both within Dow and throughout our communities – that puts every colleague and citizen on equal footing and enables us to unleash the true power of the human element at work.” Ten years ago in Liveris’ first full year as CEO, he led Dow to its first 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) corporate equality index, a distinction he has helped to consistently maintain every year since. Liveris supports Dow’s global advocacy for LGBT equality and the company’s policy push in the U.S. at the state and federal levels. His leadership of inclusion by example has earned Dow numerous external awards while inspiring more than half of the company’s global leaders to participate in Dow’s LGBT Employee Resource Group (ERG).
Top 100 LGBT Leaders
Jim Fitterling, vice chairman, Business Operations (73)
Louis A. Vega, chief of staff and vice president, Olympics and Sports Solutions (15)
Last year, Fitterling came out to Dow’s 53,000 employees in celebration of National Coming-Out Day. Ever since, he has led by example among senior LGBT and ally executives around the world while driving advocacy, supporting policy progress and implementing a strategy towards LGBT equality. He passionately mentors LGBT employees, sharing insights and striving to make a personal difference with each colleague. Vega leads Dow’s Olympic & Sports Solutions business and manages strategic initiatives that require high-level collaboration both within Dow and with other companies, government entities and non-government organizations around the world. Among Dow’s senior-most “out” executives, he serves as management sponsor for Dow’s GLAD network and represents the company on a White House task force on workplace equality. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Victory Institute.
Top 30 Future LGBT Leaders
Cory Valente, Ph.D., associate scientist, Dow Coating Materials (3)
Tlaca Benavides, Latin America marketing manager (18)
Valente is the global leader for Dow’s LGBT ERG, setting the strategic priorities of the group, bolstering equitable policies and practices, and driving culture change throughout the organization while further enhancing Dow’s reputation. He is a founding member of a Delaware Valley LGBT Consortium comprised of local and multinational businesses to leverage best practices for the betterment of the community.
Benavides launched Dow’s LGBT ERG in Latin America and in just over two years has enabled the launch of three additional chapters in the region. He recently led an LGBT forum for 65 leading organizations to share best practices for promoting inclusion. He also led a multilingual employee and customer campaign against homophobia throughout Latin America, and implemented a Dow training course for people managers on LGBT sensitivity. Benavides was recognized earlier this year as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s “Heroes of the 500” for his work to drive equality and inclusion in the workplace and throughout the community.
Leading The Drive For Inclusion And Equality
Dow is a long-time leader in championing a fully inclusive workplace. The company offers best-in-class policies and practices for LGBT colleagues, including equal benefits to same-sex partners for everything from health, dental and life insurance to bereavement leave, relocation and dual career assistance. Dow recognizes survivor benefits for LGBT colleagues under its pension plan and provides transgender benefits.
The company also takes a leading public policy and advocacy position, speaking on Capitol Hill in support of LGBT policies and leading state and federal lobbying activities to bring fairness and equal treatment to all LGBT citizens, including standing in opposition to recent discriminatory legislation in Indiana, Louisiana and Texas. Earlier this month, Dow joined with other major global companies, including Google Inc., AT&T and The Coca-Cola Company, and others in a business coalition to push for rights and protections in the workplace globally, including in countries where LGBT individuals face legal discrimination or harassment.
This year, Dow was named one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT equality” for the 10th consecutive year, again earning a 100 percent rating on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. In 2014, Dow was recognized by Amsterdam-based Workplace Pride Foundation as the second most gay-friendly company globally.