What does it take to build an

inclusive workplace where LGBT and

ally professionals can grow and succeed?

Inclusive policies and benefits are a start: creating a sought-after culture where all professionals feel like valued members of their workplace requires more effort. Out & Equal is providing an empowering opportunity to engage Midwest large and mid-size companies and business leaders to create more supportive inclusive workplaces.

The Out & Equal Midwest Learning Series is an innovative and collaborative initiative of our Midwest Regional Affiliates in Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana to bring together hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) professionals, business leaders, and allies to share best practices and strategies to enhance workplace inclusion, visibility, and diversity through a dynamic, progressive five part onsite and online accessible learning series.

 The Out & Equal Midwest Learning Series will take place every Wednesday from July 27 through August 24, 2016 at one of five affiliates’ cities: 

  • August 24     Indianapolis, IN   LGBT Civil Rights – The Business Proposition  ◊  Click Here to Attend Indianapolis Event In-Person 
      • James L. Bennett, Midwest Regional Director, Lambda Legal
        Jim Bennett is the Midwest Regional Director for Lambda Legal, the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated to securing the full civil rights of the LGBT community and those with HIV. He is responsible for expanding Lambda Legal’s organizational reach in ten states with a focus on public policy, development, communication and outreach. Bennett has more than 25 years of experience in advocacy, strategic planning and development. Prior to Lambda Legal, Bennett was the Marketing and Development Director for the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law where he led and managed the organization’s brand identity project and built a comprehensive giving program. From 1989 to 1999, he led development, marketing and programmatic (disaster, health) departments and initiatives at the American Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter and the American Red Cross national headquarters.
      • Angela Smith Jones, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, City of Indianapolis
        Angela Smith Jones was appointed Deputy Mayor of Economic Development by Mayor Joe Hogsett for his term beginning January 2016. She works with corporations on commercial development projects to continue to enhance the city’s strong national standing as a talent attractor. Prior to that Angela was General Counsel and Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs with the Indy Chamber. As a lobbyist for the Indy Chamber, Angela advocated state and local legislative bodies on issues impacting the business community including; education, workforce, mass transit, environment and immigration. Ms. Smith Jones, a native of Indianapolis, is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois and she completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, where she studied Broadcast/Journalism.
      • Amy Waggoner, Sr. Manager, State & Local Government Affairs, SalesforceAmy Waggoner manages Midwest State & Local Government Affairs for Salesforce, the fastest growing top 10 software company in the world and one of the world’s most innovative companies as ranked by Forbes for five years in a row.  She advocates on behalf of Salesforce to elected officials across the country on various matters such as cloud computing policy, economic development opportunities and equality for all. Previously, Amy served Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard for five years as Deputy Chief of Staff where she was the liaison between the Mayor’s Office and multiple internal agencies and external organizations, focusing on public safety, transit and election matters.  Amy managed the Mayor’s Office $5 million budget and oversaw all staffing, hiring and office operations.  Additionally, she managed the ethics and lobbying activity for the City of Indianapolis.
      • Michael O’Connor, Sr. Advisor-State Government Affairs, Eli Lilly & Co.
        Michael O’Connor is the Senior Advisor of State Government Affairs for Eli Lilly and Company. He has primary responsibility for developing and implementing Lilly Corporate strategy as it involves Indiana government at every level and is responsible for managing Lilly’s interaction with all governmental entities in the state. O’Connor is also the Indiana task force chair of PhRMA, overseeing the pharmaceutical industry’s extensive investment in the State of Indiana. Prior to joining Lilly, O’Connor was a principal with Bose Public Affairs Group, Indiana’s largest full-service Lobbying and Public Affairs agency. O’Connor has served in various capacities at all levels of the government, most recently serving as former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson’s Chief Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff. In that position, O’Connor acted the Chief Operation Officers of the City and managed all economic and public safety areas that reported to the Mayor’s office. Prior to serving as Chief Deputy Mayor, O’Connor served as Associate Administrator at the U.S. EPA in Washington DC, and served as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management under Governors Bayh and O’Bannon. O’Connor is a 1986 graduate of Indiana University with a BA in Political Science.
      •  Chris Paulsen, Campaign Manager, Freedom Indiana
        Chris Paulsen is Campaign Manager for Freedom Indiana, and a long time Hoosier.   Chris brings a business and coalition building background to the campaign.   She has a been an active member of the LGBT movement as a board member and President of Indiana Equality Action, a board member of Freedom Indiana during the marriage amendment fight, and as a member of the capital campaign committee for Indiana Youth Group.   Chris has an undergraduate degree from Hanover College and a MBA from IU-Southeast. She has lived on the south side of Indianapolis with her wife for 18 years.

Each session is 90 minutes, with both onsite and online access.

Attendance in the series is open and free of charge. Sessions are scheduled to start at 6pm CDT/ 7pm EDT.

We welcome you to attend your local regional affiliate session OR  join any session by interactive webcast across the region

For example, to participate in select or all series events, you can register to attend in-person the local event in Missouri, AND register for interactive online webcasts events live streamed from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and/or Michigan.

CLICK HERE to Participate Online

3 Great Reasons to Support the

Out & Equal Midwest Learning Series as a Sponsor:



Out & Equal is the premiere non-profit organization dedicated to achieving LGBT workplace equality


Visible corporate support and participation reinforced an organization’s commitment and reputation as an employer of  choice for the LGBT community


Partnerships help keep leading-edge practices and issues, and competitive in LGBT talent recruitment and retention 

 Midwest Learning Series Sponsorship Opportunities & Benefits

Presenting Sponsor $10,000

  • Premium branding with corporate logo placement on all invitations, program materials, digital media, and print media within 5 states market area of Midwest Learning Series.
  • Promotional and branding material distributed to on site attendees (provided by sponsor) i.e. tote bag, key chains. Sunglasses, writing pads, etc.
  • Opportunity for 30-90 second commercial or promotional to be shown in all series locations to in house and web audiences.
  • Opportunity to present a case study or sit on a panel in support of the relevant topic in two of the five series’ sessions with the case study highlighted in Out & Equal blog which is linked to 25,000 Facebook viewers, 5,500 Twitter followers, and an e-news universal list of 20,000.
  • Opportunity for onsite table or equivalent option.


Regional Sponsor $1,000

  • Branding with corporate logo placement on all invitations, program materials, and digital media within select state market area of Midwest Learning Series.
  • Voice over announcement of prepared digital scroll of regional sponsors for in-house and webcast audiences. ($250 per added event)
  • Opportunity for onsite table or equivalent option.


Local Sponsor $500

  • Branding with company logo on all invitations and program materials within select state market area of Midwest Learning Series.
  • Opportunity for onsite table or equivalent option.




Sponsorship Benefits 

Sponsorships support the ongoing educational outreach of Out & Equal’s national regional affiliate network to advance LGBT workplace equality and inclusion. Please feel free to contact Andrea Shorter, Director of Community Relations at ashorter@outandequal.org or 1.415. 694.6525 for assistance regarding the Midwest Learning Series events, sponsorship opportunities, or Out & Equal’s programs.