OUTStanding, an organization that seeks to highlight successful LGBT businesspeople, has released its 2015 list of the most powerful executives. The list reflects growing acceptance of LGBT people in more liberal industries and even in somewhat conservative ones such as finance—the CEO of Lloyd’s of London, an insurance firm, tops the list. The corporate world is beginning to reflect the need for diverse points of view, and the list is a great way to celebrate the hard work of LGBT individuals in business.
A welcome face on this year’s list is Ken Mehlman, the Head of Global Public Affairs at financial firm KKR, who recently spearheaded a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court to rally against religious freedom laws that seek to prevent equal rights for LGBT people. Mehlman is open about his sexuality in and out of work, and he serves on the Out Leadership board. Additionally, he worked to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Mehlman is a vocal advocate for same-sex rights for people everywhere.
At the top of the list is Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s of London, is making waves in the business and LGBT communities. Insurance giant Lloyd’s receives 25 billion pounds of revenue a year, but more importantly, she is the first female CEO in the business’s 327-year history. Since Beale took the helm in January of 2014, she has overseen the company’s expanse into Dubai and Beijing, and she has also helped launch Pride@Lloyds, an LGBT resource group for Lloyd’s employees.
Fourth on the list is Martine Rothblatt, the openly trans CEO of United Therapeutics, a company with $3 billion in market capitalization. Apart from her impressive business endeavors and skills, Martine is also the author of Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender, and she attended an LGBT Pride Reception at the White House in June 2015.
Lists like OUTStanding’s are a necessary part of the progression of business culture. New ideas and new voices are emerging in a world that has historically resisted them. HSBC Bank’s CEO Antonio Simoes, who holds the #3 spot on the list, says, “Initiatives like this are a powerful statement that…we are making genuine progress.”