Speaker conference 2018


Simone Thiäner, Head of HR at Telekom Deutschland GmbH
Simone Thiäner has been Director of Human Resources at Telekom Deutschland GmbH and Spokesperson for Management Telekom Training since 1 January 2018.
The fully qualified lawyer has worked for Deutsche Telekom since 2010. At Headquarters, she was responsible for Human Resources Board Members and Business Leaders as well as the company’s Top Executive Development, among other things. In late 2015, she became SVP HR Business Partner for Group Headquarters & Group Services.
After obtaining her law degree, Simone Thiäner held a range of HR management positions at Bertelsmann and Amazon. Until her move to Deutsche Telekom, she was Director Human Resources & Internal Communications at Bertelsmann AG.
Simone Thiäner is a board member of the Employer’s Association for Telecommunication and IT and a member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Telekom Services Europe GmbH.


Boris Dittrich, Human Rights Watch

Boris Dittrich was born in 1955 in the Netherlands. He lives in Berlin, Germany. He became a lawyer in Amsterdam (1981-1989) and included discrimination cases in his portfolio. After 8 years he was appointed as judge in the district court of Alkmaar (1989-1994). In 1993 he was the first openly gay candidate who promised during his election campaign to address LGBT issues. In 1994 he was elected as member of the national parliament in the Netherlands. Dittrich took the initiative for the same-sex marriage law and the adoption by same-sex partners law. In 2001 the Netherlands became the first country in the world with marriage equality legislation.
After Dittrich left politics he was hired in 2007 by Human Rights Watch (HRW) to become their global advocacy director for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT). As advocacy director Dittrich talks with international institutions like the UN, the EU, heads of government, members of parliament, but also with activists on the ground, journalists and other stakeholders to achieve equal rights and non-discrimination for LGBT people. For his LGBT work over the last 30 years Dittrich received the Dutch National Jos Brink Award 2013 in the Hague, the Netherlands.

Markus Müller, IBM

Markus Mueller was born in Stuttgart to a Swabian-American pastors’ family. When he was 11, his family moved to Detroit. This was his first of eight intercontinental moves that brought Markus to Freiburg, Ann Arbor, Heilbronn, San Francisco, London, Bangkok and finally Cologne. Markus has worked in the IT industry since 1993 and joined his current employer, IBM, in 2002 as part of an acquisition.
Markus had been an active IBM Out Role Model for a number of years before he became the first IBM Out Executive in Germany this past March. Outside of work, Markus has also been active in the LGBT+ movement in the church, where he served for several years on the national board of Lutherans Concerned (today Reconciling Works, the LGBT+ advocacy group in the Lutheran Church in the US) and HuK (Homosexuelle und Kirche).
Markus met Tam on a stop-over in Thailand in 1999. Today they live in a rainbow family (more on that in Bonn) in Cologne.


Hernani Escobar Rodriguez, United Nations

Hernani Escobar Rodriguez has been working at the United Nations Climate Change secretariat in Bonn since 2010 and has been since 2013 the UN GLOBE Bonn Coordinator. Prior to joining the UN, he was a career diplomat in the Venezuelan foreign service where he focused on multilateral political and environmental topics.
As UN Globe Coordinator, he has strived to increase the outreach to other LGBTIQ+ groups in Bonn including via this year’s first time participation in the Bonn CSD and contributed to campaigns such as Making Equality Work. He actively campaigns for inclusive policies for LGBTIQ+ people in the UN System and to encourage the UN System leadership to be strong advocates for LGBTIQ+ vulnerable populations around the world.
Hernani has a degree in International Relations with a focus on International Law and undertook master studies in multilateral diplomacy and on European integration. He is married and has lived and/or worked in 10 different countries mainly in the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe. He is a firm believer and promoter of multilateralism and the power of collaboration.
Ian Grace, Deutsche Bank

Ian was born in Zimbabwe and educated in South Africa, completing university in Cape Town. On moving to London in 1999 he settled on financial services, joining a small Greek bank in 2000.
After a year of being involved in payments Ian moved to Deutsche Bank (2001), where he – after a couple of brief stopovers – remains today.
On joining Deutsche Bank’s LGBT support network in 2012, dbPride, he began setting up the UK chapter of the dbPride Allies programme, an initiative that gave staff the opportunity to show their visible support for the LGBT community at Deutsche Bank.
Ian became co-chair of the dbPride UK team in 2017, together with Anja Bedford.
Ian and Anja have overseen a very successful year helping lead Deutsche Bank’s first ever participation in Pride in London, onboarding a LGBT-focused charity into the bank, as well as running a full range of events focussing on topics as broad as building LGBT families through to speaking in schools about LGBT inclusion.
Ian is gay and has been going out with Stephane, a French national, for fourteen years.
Andrei Gulnev, IBM Russia

Andrei Gulnev (M.B.A., Warwick Business School, 2017) is Collaboration Solutions Sales Expert at IBM, Moscow, Russia. Founder and current co-Leader of the Russian IBM's LGBT community group (Moscow). He has more than 10 years of work experience in software sales, implementation, and project management, in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan and Belarus. Furthermore, he is founder of the virtual networking and professional development organization "Global Russian Business Pride". In addition, he is elected board member of the cottage cooperative 'DPK Nikitskoe' (settlement of 400 households in Moscow's suburban area).
Albert Kehrer, PROUT AT WORK-Foundation

Albert Kehrer is a diversity expert, change consultant and coach who has long term experience in diversity management of international companies. He supports companies, teams and people concerning diversity related topics by holding workshops, seminars and trainings. Albert Kehrer, together with Jean-Luc Vey, is co-founder and CEO of the PROUT AT WORK-Foundation. He has been working on LGBT*IQ diversity and employee networks on an honorary capacity for almost 20 years. Albert is convinced that being part of a network can be useful, not only for personal growth but also for ones career.
Joshua Kwendo, SAP Kenia

Joshua Kwendo is SAP Solution Advisor for SAP Cloud Platform products. The inclusive environment in the SAP office in Nairobi allows Kwendo to be his authentic self, also in his customer-facing role. Kwendo has a passion for technology and for understanding how inclusion, particularly of LGBT+ individuals in the Kenyan workplace, is a win for SAP and its customers. He achieves this by leading the Pride@SAP chapter in East AfricaIn this role, Kwendo also works with external partners like Workplace Pride to connect with other organizations and HR leaders to move business beyond bias. Kwendo’s educational background includes a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, together with certification in several SAP solutions.
Bianca Nijhof

Before she will be starting her position as Managing Director of the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) in 2019, Bianca worked at Arcadis where she was the global lead for the Arcadis Natural Capital business solution and the founding member of Arcadis NV ‘Global Sustainability Leadership Team’. Bianca’s contribution encompassed a wide range of activities including coordination of Arcadis’ WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development), WEF (World Economic Forum) and GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) memberships and supporting business and governmental clients in all aspects of natural and social capital and Sustainable Development Goals realization. In her role in the Global Sustainability Leadership Team she was an active contributor to the Arcadis global and Dutch Diversity & Inclusion networks.
Apart from being a member of the Foundation Board at Workplace Pride she sits in the Advisory Panel to the Natural Capital Coalition, the Technical Committee of the Social & Human Capital Protocol, the Steering Committee of the INDUS forum (Indo-Dutch CSR & Sustainability Forum) and the Sustainability Commission NKBV (Dutch Mountaineering Association).
David Pollard, Workplace Pride Foundation

David Pollard is co-founder and Executive Director of the Workplace Pride Foundation. The Foundation represents the LGBT networks of 58 prominent companies and organizations and strives for greater LGBT workplace inclusion internationally.

He has worked for nearly 30 years in the international corporate world, 15 of which have been dealing with LGBT issues on an international level. David is founder and former Global Chairman of ING’s LGBT employee network “Gala” and in his 15 year career at ING, fulfilled a number of responsibilities including the creation and management of ING’s European Affairs Department.

David holds degrees in International Relations (BA, Political Science and Business, University of Oklahoma, USA) and in European Affairs (Masters: Diplome d’Etudes Europeén, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium). He lives in Amsterdam with his husband Michael.
Dr. Jean-Luc Vey, PROUT AT WORK-Foundation

Dr. Jean-Luc Vey is co-founder and CEO at the PROUT AT WORK-Foundation.
He was born in France, graduated both Electric Engineering and Physics in Paris and has been living in Germany since 1995. In 1999 he entered the IT section of Deutsche Bank and has been working as Innovation Manager since 2010.
He co-founded dbPride Germany, the LGBT*IQ network of Deutsche Bank AG, in which he committed himself as a member of the Steering Committee. He has been honored multiple times as a nationally and internationally acknowledged diversity expert; among others by being named in the „LGBT Future Leader List“ in the Financial Times.
Jakob von Hoerner, Siemens AG

After finishing his degree in business studies, Jakob von Hoerner worked for a consulting firm before moving to Siemens AG in 2010 where he held various management positions in Shared Services, with a focus on HR. In his current position, which he took over in 2015, he is in charge of international employee postings at Siemens AG. The constant change of corporate culture in different countries and ongoing efforts to raise awareness for diversity are his greatest motivators in his everyday work.