WASHINGTON, D.C.—March 28, 2019—The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest U.S. organization dedicated to championing civil rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, has designated Perkins+Will a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” The honor is based on our firm’s score of 100—the highest score possible—on the HRC’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI).
“We greatly appreciate this recognition from the Human Rights Campaign because it’s a meaningful validation of the supportive, inclusive culture we’ve maintained for so long at our firm,” says Phil Harrison, our Chief Executive Officer. “It’s our fundamental belief that diversity creates innovation, and that an inclusive workplace allows people to thrive and reach their true potential.”
A Rigorous Rating System
The CEI, now in its 17th year, is considered a national benchmarking tool on U.S. company policies and practices pertinent to LGBTQ+ employees. Its information comes primarily from responses to an in-depth survey sent to participating companies, combined with supporting documentation and public records. Criteria for this year’s index were more stringent than ever before, and included metrics such as non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBTQ+ community.
For us, the rigor of the rating system makes our top score even more meaningful.
“We’re committed to providing LGBTQ-supportive policies and inclusive benefits for our workplace because, quite frankly, it’s the right thing to do,” says Meg Brown, our Chief Talent Officer. “It creates a welcoming environment where everyone can be their personal best, no matter who they are.”
What Our LGBTQ+ Colleagues Have to Say
All around the firm, staff who identify as LGBTQ+ are reacting to the CEI rating with enthusiasm and positivity. Here’s what some of them have to say:
• “Diversity and Inclusion are so much a part of our firm’s DNA that, when I first joined, I felt as integrated into the social and professional fabric here as any of my colleagues. In fact, I never felt the need to seek out an LGBTQ+ affinity group for assurance that I was accepted here, because everyone immediately welcomed and accepted me for who I am. (Of course, when I was asked to participate in our wonderful LGBTQ+ affinity group, I enthusiastically said YES!) I am so proud to know that our firm provides resources to ensure inclusion and diversity for everyone, and I believe this recognition from the Human Rights Campaign is mightily deserved.” —Brent Capron, Interior Design Director, New York
• “As a member of the queer community, I have always felt welcome, safe, and respected at Perkins+Will. Diversity and inclusion aren’t just buzz words here; they’re reflective of our core values and the key to so much of our success. The LGBTQ+ employees are appreciated, supported, and embraced each day. I am so proud to say that I work for a firm that is leading the way in championing LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace. This honor and recognition is well deserved!” —Tiffany Cole, HRIS Manager, Chicago
• “This is reaffirmation that my employer is a proven progressive institution that places a premium on the civil liberties of the LGBTQ+ community. As a design firm, we obviously showcase and benchmark our project work; it’s great to see we have policies worthy of benchmarking, as well!” —Chad Hampton, Resource Manager, Washington, D.C.
• “My colleagues at Perkins+Will don’t just accept me, they take an active interest in my life. On Monday morning they’re as enthusiastic about what my partner and I did over the weekend as they are in sharing stories about their own family. There has never been a moment I wasn’t equal.” —Casey Jones, Principal, Chicago
• “As a recently out gay man, I’m proud to be a leader in an organization boldly committed to equality for the LGBTQ+ community—an organization that reflects who I am!” —Chris Morrison, Managing Director, Washington, D.C.
• “Working in an office that not only embraces and supports you, but also encourages you to be your 100% self, has given me so much more confidence in the work that I do. Perkins+Will has opened my eyes to what it truly feels to be accepted at the workplace. Our LGBTQ+ community is represented at all levels at the firm, and it is our responsibility to make sure we continue the legacy and continue to open doors for those who have not yet found that workplace in their career.” —Miguel Rivera, Senior Marketing Coordinator, Los Angeles
• “To be part of an architectural firm that celebrates diversity and inclusion is not something to be taken for granted. For those of us in Perkins+Will’s LGBTQ+ community, it means being able to work in an environment where we don’t need to hide an important part of ourselves, allowing us to better collaborators with our colleagues.” —Bill Schmalz, Technical Director, Los Angeles
• “I am truly proud to work for a firm that wholeheartedly embraces the LGBTQ+ community. As a leader in the firm, I have been given opportunities to grow in my career and opportunities to be me, a gay woman. By being proactive and progressive, the firm offered partner health insurance benefits before most companies, and once gay marriage was legal, they embraced me as I married my wife. Perkins+Will provides a safe work environment which is truly refreshing and empowering.”—Kelly Whitney, Principal, Dallas
• “Earning a score of 100 from the HRC is a reminder to me, and all of those who care for and love the humanity that surrounds us, that our firm is committed to upholding a social purpose to our clients, our employees, our friends, and our families. As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s profoundly meaningful that Perkins+Will stands with all of our employees, regardless of how they identify or who they choose to love.” —Justin Wortmann, Project Architect, Chicago
An Attitude of Gratitude
While it’s important to celebrate our CEI ranking, it’s perhaps more important to recognize—and extend our gratitude to—our LGBTQ+ colleagues, whose many contributions to our practice and culture have been invaluable. Through their active participation on our Diversity Council, their leadership of our local LGBTQ+ affinity groups, and their close involvement in our cultural events and activities, we’ve been able to foster an inclusive environment in which colleagues and clients feel welcome, safe, and comfortable.
“We’re a global firm, so our talent pool has to reflect the diversity of the world we live in and design for,” says Gabrielle Bullock, our Director of Global Diversity. “We’re grateful for the unique perspectives that our diverse staff bring to the table every day. There’s no question they make us a better, stronger firm.”
For more information about the CEI, visit www.hrc.org.