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Partner in respect: Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs has a sustained commitment to diversity that is reflected in its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion efforts. The firm’s formal LGBT efforts kicked off in 2000 with the creation of the Gay and Lesbian Network (GALN), later rebranded the LGBT Network. In 2002, the network expanded its global footprint by launching in Europe and a few years later in both Asia and India. In 2007, Goldman Sachs began offering employees the opportunity to self-identify sexual orientation in the US and UK, which allowed the organization to better understand and monitor its diversity; began providing Transgender-inclusive benefits to employees; and launched an LGBT-focused diversity and inclusion training course, Out in the Open.
The Goldman Sachs LGBT Network has been a proponent of GLSEN’s mission through various events and programs. During Pride Month in 2011, the firm held an event in partnership with GLSEN titled Creating an Environment of Respect: Combating Bullying and Harassment in Schools. At this event, Eliza Bayard, executive director of GLSEN, discussed today’s school climate and how it affects students in the ever-expanding world of social networking. Eliza was joined by Joey Kemmerling, a student at Council Rock High School in Newtown, Pennsylvania, who serves as a GLSEN Ambassador for media relations and actively speaks out against school-based bullying and harassment in interviews with national media, like Anderson Cooper 360 and People Magazine, as well as at corporate gatherings and GLSEN events.
The firm and its LGBT Network also partner with GLSEN and a variety of other LGBT-focused partner organizations to engage in community service projects and other forms of outreach through the Community TeamWorks initiative. In continuing the mission to promote anti-bullying in schools, the Operations Division LGBT Network partnered with the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) in 2011. The project showcased the artwork of Jersey City students who were involved in the JCBOE’s “Be Bold, Ban Bullying” campaign, which focused on eliminating bullying from schools. Thirty art pieces were displayed for the firm’s 7th annual Student Art Project, 15 of which are still displayed at the firm’s office in Jersey City, NJ.
Goldman Sachs has also received a variety of accolades for its LGBT initiatives. In 2008, GLSEN honored the firm with the Respect Award for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, specifically recognizing the recruitment and career development of its LGBT professionals. Last year the firm was recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC),which presented its Innovation Award for the firm’s Ally Strategy, launched in 2008. This initiative fosters an inclusive environment for LGBT professionals by engaging and educating senior-level straight allies who serve as visible LGBT-champions across all divisions. Since the program’s launch, allies have joined the network and have demonstrated great support by actively participating and attending network events around the globe.
Goldman Sachs’ LGBT-related activities and accomplishments ultimately reflect the firm’s commitment to giving back, promoting inclusivity in its communities, and sustaining a diverse work environment that is inclusive and an enjoyable place to work for all of its employees. Julie Harris, co-head of the Americas LGBT Network remarked, “If you can’t be your whole self at work and you’re spending time hiding part of who you are, you can’t be fully productive. Our partnership with organizations such as GLSEN has tremendously helped our Network further educate our firm on LGBT issues and create a workplace where employees can bring their whole selves.”