The 2012 Out & Equal Workplace Summit opened with Hurricane Sandy and ended announcing the OUTIES award winners. Approximately 1,400 out of the expected 2,100 individuals and corporate sponsors attended the summit at the Baltimore Convention Center. The Summit schedule was revised and evolved to minimal programming for Monday, Oct. 29, partial programming for Tuesday with a full and revised program resuming on Wednesday and Thursday.
Those who braved the storm and navigated the travel obstacles stated their commitment to making the workplace a more welcoming place drove them to attend with some coming in early to ensure their arrival. “Hurricane or not, we were going to be here,” said Carri Bridges, Chrysler Global Diversity Events Manager, who traveled from Auburn Hills, Mich.
Teddy Witherington, Out & Equal’s chief marketing officer, said that this marked the first time in the 22 years he has been involved with the event that he had to work through a hurricane or a tropical storm. He said that they expected about a third of the registered attendees would not make it to the summit, “which says a great deal about the commitment of our attendees and our community. It has the most importance for us, it is life and death for us. I do not mean that in a dramatic way. We spend most of our waking life at work, so it is life and like many of my brothers and sisters, I do not want to work where I will be miserable. The death is that of the closet, which is a slow terrible death.” (Reported by Denise Duarte)