Regularily, our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

This event took place in German.

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GUEST OF THE DAY
© Sandra Jana Vollmer

Sandra Vollmer
Board Member Finance and HR at 1&1 Mail & Media Applications SE
2nd Place PROUTExecutives 2021

Sandra Vollmer is responsible for the financial management of the 1&1 Mail und Media subgroup, known by its Web.de and GMX brands. In particular, she is responsible for supporting the company’s transition to a data platform-based digital business model and the associated change processes. She is also responsible for Corporate Controlling, Accounting, Tax and Procurement at the United Internet Group’s shared service company.

For Sandra Vollmer, equal opportunity is a fundamental part of the business. After all, it’s all about motivating qualified employees with exciting tasks and delivering top performance. In this context, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, gender and gender identity, age, disability or sexual orientation are completely irrelevant, but rather reflect the reality of a modern society to which, on the other hand, we provide our products and services.
In reality, unfortunately, we still encounter people who do not fully accept equal opportunities and in some cases represent traditional, outdated world views. Therefore, it is of great importance to Sandra Vollmer to actively demonstrate her own understanding of equal opportunities every day, for example in the staffing of projects, jobs and management positions. In addition, Sandra Vollmer supports internal company initiatives, such as the promotion of women in management positions. Her outing in a professional context took place in December 2020, so that her own transition, i.e. acceptance and “arriving” as a woman, was the main focus.

Regularily, our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

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GUEST OF THE DAY

© Lichtbildatelier Eva Speith, Darmstadt

Philip Heßen
Head of HR Strategy & Transformation bei Merck
Ranked 6th on the TOP 100 OUT EXECUTIVES list 2020

Philip Heßen joined Merck KGaA, a leading science and technology company based in Germany, in 2014. Initially Philip held the position of Head of Global Rewards, followed by his role as Head of HR Germany and is currently responsible for the Global People and HR Strategy, acting as Head of HR Strategy & Transformation.  

Philips professional career started with Siemens, where he was responsible for the initiation of a share-based incentive and establishing an employee-share-culture. In 2011, he transitioned to the high-tech company OSRAM as Global Rewards and Executive HR Manager and, among other things, supported the company’s flotation (IPO) and Divesture from the parent company Siemens.

Regularily, our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

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Guest Of the day

© Claudia Brind-Woody

Claudia Brind-Woody
Managing Director, Walgreens Boots Alliance at IBM
Global Co-Chair for the IBM LGBT+ Executive Taskforce
Part of INvolve’s Role Model Hall of Fame

Claudia Brind-Woody is currently the IBM Managing Director for the Walgreens Boots Alliance Integrated Account where she leads the IBM team in both Europe in North America.  Prior to this role, she was the Vice President and Managing Director for IBM Global Intellectual Property Licensing where she delivered more than $3 Billion of profit to IBM through IP Partnerships.   She also led the two large divestitures of IBM Software in 2019 – one was $1.77 Billion and the other was $545M.  Claudia has been with IBM since 1996, and has held multiple global roles during her tenure including work in Finland and the United Kingdom.

Claudia is an accomplished speaker who has done keynote speeches on LGBT Diversity throughout the world.   She has also contributed to the books: Out & Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office (2013) and The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good for Business (2014).  She is featured in the book Pride and Joy: LGBTQ Artists, Icons and Everyday Heroes (2017).

Claudia serves on the Advisory Boards of WorkPlace Pride in Amsterdam, and The GayStar News.  She has also served on the Board of Directors of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, and Lambda Legal.

In 2011, Claudia received the Out & Equal Trailblazer Award and was listed in GO Magazine’s “100 Women We Love.”  In 2012 she was included in The Guardian’s WorldPride Power List Top 100.  In 2013, she was listed as #6 on The Financial Times LGBT Role Models, in 2014 was #10  on their list, and in 2015 was #5.  In 2015, she was also listed as #2 on the Telegraph Media Group’s Out at Work LGBT Top 50 Executives.  Most recently, she was included in the Diva Power List and named to the Financial Times LGBT Role Models Hall of Fame for 2016.

Before joining IBM in 1996, Claudia worked for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, as an executive for CenturyLink, and as the Assistant Dean of the College & Graduate School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.  She also served as the Assistant Athletics Director at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Tennessee.  She was also an Assistant Basketball Coach under Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee.

Claudia holds a J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Georgia State University, an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.S. from the University of Tennessee.  She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mary Baldwin College where she earned her B. A. summa cum laude.  She is admitted to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia.   

Once a month our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

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GUEST OF THE DAY

© Vaughan Price

Vaughan Price

Partner at PwC
Founder and partner sponsor for Shine, the PwC LGBT+ network and member of the global PwC LGBT+ Partner Board
Ranked 7th on the TOP 100 OUT EXECUTIVES list 2020

After completing his mathematics degree, Vaughan started his career with PwC in London in 1985. After 6 years he moved to Munich as an FCA where he joined the PwC Germany partnership in 1998. He is an Assurance Inbound Leader at PwC Germany as well as Leader of the UK-German Business Network.

He is a founder and partner sponsor of the LGBT+ Network, as well as a member of the PwC Global LGBT+ Board and the regional committee of the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany. As part of a global mentoring programme, Vaughan mentors a young gay future leader based in Africa, supporting him through regular face-to-face and virtual meetings to help him develop at this critical stage in his career.
He speaks at numerous events and participates in panel discussions at companies as well as LGBT+ organisations, thereby promoting the visibility of LGBT+ issues in the workplace and establishing LGBT+ inclusivity as an inherent part of corporate culture.

INTERVIEW WITH DR. JEAN-LUC VEY ON THE START OF NOMINATIONS FOR THE PROUT PERFORMER-LISTS

“LISTS LIKE PROUT PERFORMER SHOW THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO TALK OPENLY ABOUT your SEXUAL orientation AND GENDER IDENTITY AND BE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR CAREER AT THE SAME TIME.”

Hello Jean-Luc. Thank you for your time and for giving us the opportunity to do this interview. PROUT AT WORK is publishing the new PROUT PERFORMER lists for the first time this year. How does it come about?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: First of all, I would like to thank everyone involved in GERMANY’S TOP 100 OUT EXECUTVES for making the list as successful as it has been over the last three years. Those are mainly the role models who made it onto one of the lists, but also every single nominee. I would also like to thank those who nominated their colleagues and people they know. Above all, I would like to especially thank the jury and our cooperation partners.

They have all contributed a great deal to the visibility of the LGBT*IQ community in Germany. The lists have shown that it is possible to be open about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity in everyday working life without experiencing negative career consequences. With their commitment to equal rights and equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people at work, those who made it onto the list serve as role models for the entire LGBT*IQ community and beyond.

PROUT AT WORK terminated the collaboration with our partner at the end of the year. However, the visibility of LGBT*IQ at work is still very close to our hearts. Therefore, we have decided to continue the lists with a new name, to further develop them and to publish them on our own in 2021. Being out in the workplace should be the rule and not the exception. We will continue to work for this in the future with our various projects.

Why are these lists so important?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: As already mentioned, this is mainly about visibility. Studies continue to show that many LGBT*IQ students go back into the closet once they start their professional lives, out of fear that coming out will have a negative impact on their careers. Lists like PROUT PERFORMER show that it is possible to be open about your sexual orientation and gender identity and be successful in your career at the same time. This helps others to have the confidence to come out as well. And this in turn has been proven to have positive effects on mental health and productivity at work.

What is the difference between the new PROUT PERFORMER-lists and the former TOP 100 OUT EXECUTIVE lists?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: In order to make the PROUT PERFORMER-lists even more attractive, we first carried out a survey among old candidates to find out where they felt there was still room for improvement. We took this feedback to heart in the following redesign and incorporated it into the structure of the new lists. Therefore, we now have more distinct categories in the PROUT PERFORMERS-lists and for example have created a separate list for SMEs. In addition, Executive Allies are now also being recognised on a special list. Another new aspect is that we only rank the top places on the list, as we do not want to create competition between the individual candidates.

But why rank the top places anyway?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: This is because there are still some people who have done particularly outstanding work for LGBT*IQ equality at the workplace over the past year – with important initiatives, new projects or other activities. We would like to give them special attention by highlighting them at the top of the list.

What part does the PROUT PERFORMER jury play in this?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: We spoke with the jury ahead of redesigning the lists, too. We are very proud to have won such top-class people for the project again. But we are also aware that due to their important roles in their companies, they often do not have the time to evaluate each candidate individually – this was also expressed in their direct feedback.

Therefore, the first evaluation will be carried out by the PROUT AT WORK-Foundation, which will use the information and criteria submitted to determine who will earn a spot on the list and who, because of their exceptional achievements, will have a chance to reach one of the highest-ranking positions. These people are then asked to introduce themselves to the jury through a short video clip, and the jury then determines the top positions. This way we were able to secure the prominent jury members and still ensure an attractive evaluation process for the nominees.

How can people nominate their role models for the PROUT PERFORMER-lists?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: Nominations are now accepted through our website. It can be found at proutperformer.de. We are looking forward to all nominations and to creating more visibility for LGBT*IQ at the workplace together with our community.

Thank you for this interview, Jean-Luc!

Who is your LGBT*IQ Role Model? Nominations via our new website are open now! Find out more additional info about our new project.