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35+ Greater Cleveland Companies Join Forces for Workplace Equity and LGBT Inclusion

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October 19, 2017
On October 19, Plexus LGBT & Allied Chamber of Commerce brought together Cleveland’s business community for its “Building LGBTQ Employee Resource Groups: Best Practices to Overcome Obstacles, Develop Solutions, and Track Metrics” summit in celebration of National Coming Out Day and LGBT History Month. The event drew 70 people who discovered how Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can best increase inclusion of LGBTQ individuals in the workplace.
Michelle Tomallo, Board President of Plexus LGBT & Allied Chamber of Commerce and President of Fit Technologies said the number of organizations represented at the event demonstrates the commitment that Northeast Ohio has to advancing workplace diversity and inclusion. ERGs exist to foster a culture of inclusion at work, and Plexus convenes these corporations to strengthen their capacity and collaborate on best practices, tools, and resources. “It is still legal in the state of Ohio to fire people for being LGBT. Even in Cleveland where workplace protections exist, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure being LGBTQ is not a barrier to a successful career. Given that most of our time is spent in the workplace, the work of ERGs is important and changes lives.”
Held at Eaton’s campus, the event included a panel featuring Chris Crespo, Inclusiveness Director at EY; James Adkins, Project Quality Manager at GE; and Chad Williams, Sr. Manager of Tax Technology at Eaton Corporation. There were also small-group discussions where participants brainstormed and problem solved together.
“In addition to celebrating LGBTQ visibility in our community and companies, this conference was a great opportunity to learn from those who have successfully started and maintained ERGs in a variety of environments, with a range of challenges, and in different industries,” said Joe Matuszewski, Plexus board member and EY partner. 

Plexus LGBT & Allied Chamber of Commerce improves the workplace environment for LGBTQ individuals through education, research and development to enrich the entire community. Plexus is one of the 52 affiliates of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and is the business voice of the LGBT community in Northeast Ohio.
Plexus strengthens the capacity of over 20 LGBTQA employee resource groups (ERGs) across the region. ERGs are employee-led affinity groups organized to foster diverse, inclusive workplaces aligned with a company or organization’s values, goals and practices. ERGs mobilize for advocacy or strategic purposes in areas like professional development, market development, employee engagement and supplier diversity. 
Erik Meinhadt, Administrator