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Guest Commentary: Panel Presentation – Out for Work: Being LGBTQ in Corporate America

On March 11, a panel with representatives from Wells Fargo, Duke Energy, Starbucks, and Bank of America was held in Charlotte.  The panel members were able to share how being members of the LGBTQ community has impacted their lives in the professional field.

These professionals were affiliated with LGBTQ/Pride Employee Resource Groups (ERG) in their workplaces, which are groups of employees who join together to provide support and help contribute to the development of underrepresented groups such as persons with disabilities, LGBTQ, women, different cultures, and minority racial groups.  These groups consist of people who identify within these communities as well as allies to make the workplace a safe environment for all.

The culture and implementation of ERGs was diverse between the companies represented at the event.  Duke Energy just began an ERG for the LGBTQ community last year and Starbucks is in the development process for ERGs in their regional offices, while Bank of America and Wells Fargo have both had LGBTQ ERGs for many years.

I have never heard of ERGs before this panel and it was a great opportunity for me to become educated about them!  I will be graduating in May 2016 and I hope that my future employer will have resources such as ERGs and will be inclusive towards the LGBTQ community!


Eric Ostrowski is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Human Resources Management and is serving as a volunteer for Campus Pride through their Alternative Breaks program. Eric can be found on Twitter at @ericmo723.

Campus Pride is the leading national educational organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups building future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The organization provides resources and services to thousands of collegestudents and nearly 1400 campuses annually. Learn more online at


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