Philly Area Companies Receive Top Scores in HRC’s Equality Index
More and more corporate companies have been stepping up their LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion resources, making for healthier, happier work environments for employees, clients and consumers. As part of its 2020 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) scored dozens of Pennsylvania companies with strong LGBTQ-inclusive policies and employee resource groups. Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs, are in-house groups that provide programming, networking events, training sessions and overall support systems for minority employees, including LGBTQ people.
The law firm Blank Rome was founded by a group of attorneys who had trouble finding work due to their religious affiliation, explained Partner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Sophia Lee.
“From our perspective, diversity and inclusion has been a foundation of our core values since our founding,” she said. “We wanted to create a place where people of diverse backgrounds can bring their whole selves to work. I like to say diversity and inclusion is in our DNA.”
Blank Rome’s LGBTQ employee resource group, BR Pride, facilitates educational, networking and recruiting events throughout the year. During last year’s pride month, the group organized a panel with representatives from LGBTQ organizations including Whitman-Walker Health and The Trevor Project. BR Pride also serves to let LGBTQ-identified Blank Rome employees know of each other’s existence, said Brady Craig, intellectual property and technology associate and co-chair of BR Pride.
“To be able to have your personal life not to be completely separate from your office life — that’s something very important to me, to be able to be open about who I am and talk about my partner,” he said.
Blank Rome is also proudly a Mansfield-certified firm, in reference to Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule. The rule dictates that a firm should strive to have women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities comprise at least 50 percent of their candidate pool while considering leadership positions and outside counsel. Blank Rome was one of the pilot firms for the first version of the Mansfield Rule, Lee said.
"Philly Area Companies Receive Top Scores in HRC’s Equality Index," by Michele Zipkin was published in Philadelphia Gay News on January 30, 2020.