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IE’s 16th LGBT+@Work Conference Hits New Heights

IE’s 16th LGBT+@Work Conference Hits New Heights

Europe’s longest-running LGBT business school conference adds new OUTED with C-level leaders’ stories

When the curtain lifts on IE’s 16th LGBT+@Work conference on July 1, it marks the beginning of a new era for the longest running LGBT business school conference in Europe. Not only is it the first fully hybrid conference, designed from its inception to include presential and online communities seamlessly, it is also the first ever held in the new IE Tower.

And that’s just the beginning for an event that started as a small IE Business School gathering 16 years ago that will this year – for the first time—be listed as an official event in Madrid Pride.

The IE Out and Allies Club organizers have crafted an ambitious schedule that boasts more than 20 speakers from a wide range of countries in the two-day symposium that is the third-largest business school LGBTQIAP+ event in the world. This years’ theme is “The Courage to be Who You Are” and looks to address the gap that exists within business communities where the LGBT+ community profiles prefer to hide their identities to avoid bias.

“Authenticity is power ”said conference organizer Master in Corporate and Marketing Communication student Sofia Restifo Di Eugenio.

“So, for me ‘having the courage to be who you are’ is finding and embracing your power everywhere, even when you are in places where you feel that you are not everybody’s cup of tea.  It is expressing yourself unapologetically. And the beauty of it, is that it has a domino effect, once a person has this courage, others can feel inspired and can unleash their true colors too.”

Looking to inspire others, a new team of organizers has added topics and platforms to address a broader range of LGBTQIAP+ topics in the work world.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the conference back in full form after the pandemic and to bringing more attention to the important aspects regarding trans-related topics that often end up in the shadow of other LGBTQIAP+ topics often discussed,” said organizer and Master in Management alum Anja Øvregaard, who is now completing the Master in International Relations.

Øvregaard said organizers want to create a space where leaders share their stories and the challenges they have faced by having the courage to be who they are.

With that in mind, in addition to the official program of keynotes and panels, they have created OUTED, where C-level professionals and leaders share coming-out stories from their careers. Organizers say they hope to motivate LGBTQIAP+ individuals of all ages by hearing the different challenges people have overcome to reach where they are.

The team of students has created a speaker line-up focused on the effort to being your authentic self in the workplace.

Speakers lined up for the event include: Diana Feliz Olivia (Associate Director, Public Affairs at Gilead), Master in Management alum Ronald Lok (Head of Strategic Programs, Office of the Greater China President at SAP), Kate Fisher (Enterprise Account Manager, Oracle), Óscar Muñoz  (CEO and Co-Founder, REDI), and Alessandro Caluori Rodriguez (Key Account Manager & Team Lead at Amazon)—to name a few.

There will also be a panel: LGBTQIAP+ affinity groups and policies with platinum lead sponsor McKinsey & Co. and gold sponsor Amazon, designed to understand the impact of having these groups inside a company, as well as the consequences when they are not available.

A special career fair will offer job opportunities with sponsors McKinsey & Company, Amazon, SAP, Gilead, BCG and IBM—and this year’s newest sponsor Google.  And a networking drinks event in the evening will allow attendees to mingle in a fun and relaxed environment.

Organizer Yohan Di Pinto Trinidade, who is studying a Master in Corporate Marketing and Communication, said he hopes the conference gives attendees the impetus to embrace who they are and flourish professionally and personally.

“When we decide to embrace ourselves. Pride, strength, and integrity come together, more than mere words, they are the core of our very being”

Di Pinto Trindade