workOPEN Campaign: Be OUT at Work

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As a community that addresses the concerns of LGBT professionals and our allies, dot429 recognizes the importance of being out in the workplace.  Coming out is one of the most pivotal experiences for LGBT people, and coming out in the workplace integrates us into the fabric of the broader community, highlighting the accomplishments, successes, and sheer hard work of LGBT employees and how we are both alike and different from our straight colleagues.  From the military and politics to entertainment and media, LGBT professionals play an integral role in culture and business.  It is vital that we do not leave the action solely to our public figures to make a difference in LGBT equality, but that we all do our part to make working open and who we are more accepted.

This week dot429 launches workOPEN, a new web campaign created in conjunction with Saks Fifth Avenue.  workOpen is designed to celebrate members of the LGBT social network who are open and proud about their sexuality in the workplace.  Ultimately, this project’s goal is to reach LGBT professionals with a simple message: progress in business and our professional lives is even more achievable when we are open about our sexual orientation.

The workOPEN campaign features videos by LGBT professionals sharing their inspirational stories on being open about their sexuality in the workplace.  dot429 hopes that the workOPEN campaign, like the “It Gets Better” project, will ignite a viral effect with LGBT professionals and our allies around the world, inspiring them to shoot their own videos and share their own stories.

To kick off the video campaign, retired Naval officer Zoe Dunning (the first person to challenge the US military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and win) and other influential out professionals and allies share their stories of being open in the workplace.

“Sometimes it’s not easy to bring your whole self to work.  This is especially true if you are LGBT,” said dot429 CEO Richard Klein.  “We believe that by showcasing LGBT success stories across many different industries and geographies, we can inspire hope and ambition in this and the next generation of LGBTA professionals.”

Many LGBT professionals face uneasiness about drawing attention to their sexuality in the workplace.  They worry that it might make others uncomfortable or hold them back professionally.  One of workOPEN’s key tenets is that not being open holds you, your company, and the broader community back.

“Allowing yourself to be who you are makes you better at what you do.  It builds stronger relationships with your coworkers and clients and makes your business stronger,” said dot429 Chief Creative Officer Sabrina Riddle.  “It makes us all understand each other better.”

We live in an amazing time, when people across the board, from the President of the United States to major celebrities, are stepping up to the plate to defend our LGBT youth.  The tide is certainly changing, and each of us can still do our part to make being open in the workplace more accepted.

dot429 invites you to share your story this month on video.  Filming will be held on the 5th floor at The Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Store in San Francisco on February 26, 2011 from 3pm to 6pm.  You can view workOPEN video submissions here.  If you cannot make it on the February 26th, we encourage you to share your story with us. Email your video to workOPEN@dot429.com.

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