Responding to a dearth of LGBT professionals in positions of leadership, this month Stanford University’s business school announced a new program to change the status quo.
Considered a first of its kind, Stanford’s LGBT Executive Leadership Program will offer weeklong training on influence, decision making, management, design thinking and authentic leadership.
In a statement, Sarah Soule, Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business and one of the program’s co-directors, said participants can expect to walk away with three key takeaways: “A stronger and deeper understanding of their individual opportunities for continued leadership development, a new network of LGBT leaders they can call on to serve as a sounding board and peer mentors throughout their careers, and actionable ideas they can take back to their organizations on leadership as well as ways to build and strengthen LGBT networks within their organizations.”
In 2014, Fortune magazine reportedthat before Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay that year, there were no currently serving, openly gay CEOs in Fortune 500 companies.
While corporate America has advanced in its antidiscrimination policies — 61 percent of Fortune 500 companies included sexual orientation in 2002; in 2014, 91 percent did — LGBT individuals continue to face barriers in the workplace and mobility to executive-level positions. Further, according to the Human Rights Campaign, 29 states lack reliable employment protections for gay and lesbian employees. And 32 states don’t protect the employment rights of employees who are transgender.
Stanford’s program, which starts late July, has 50 slots that the Wall Street Journal reports run $12,000 each. Companies can nominate candidates who have at least a decade’s worth of professional experience and five years of management experience, for the course. Individuals also can apply.