Our Approach to Reaching the LGBT Customer is as Diverse as the Community Itself – Ken Barrett

Above and beyond advertisements, General Motors takes a diverse approach to LGBT outreach

General Motors has a strong commitment to promoting and recognizing the diversity of our employees and customers. That includes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.  As it is the most diverse group within the diversity markets, we pride ourselves on not taking a one-size fits all approach to our outreach.

Our commitment to LGBT diversity starts at the core of our company’s policies and extends out to the community. GM has a strong anti-discrimination policy that protects LGBT employees and we are also the only automotive company to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Basic employment protection was the first step. The next milestone dates back more than a decade when we looked to ensure that our LGBT employees were being treated equally. That meant improvements to our benefit policies to meet the needs of all employees. We began offering same-sex domestic partner benefits in January of 2000 and as laws have changed, we have changed with them.  In 2013 we extended same-sex spousal benefits to married LGBT couples – no matter where they lived in the U.S.

After building this foundation internally, our brands (Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac) began to look outside the organization for opportunities to connect with the LGBT consumer. In 2004 we were the first automaker to hold a drive event specifically targeting LGBT media.  Our brands advertised in LGBT media outlets, we have sponsored various LGBT events and we were the first auto company to create a video for the It Gets Better Project, an organization that raises awareness about bullying of LGBT teens.

Our approach to the market is constantly evolving and it includes groundbreaking LGBT-inclusive TV spots, unique event sponsorships, grassroots efforts with LGBT influencers and working with organizations like oSTEM and Reaching OUT MBA to attract the best and brightest talent – no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We will continue to be inclusive of the LGBT community – both internally and externally – and will aim to be consistently diversified in our approach to the most diverse of diversity markets.

Ken Barrett, CAPT U.S. Navy (retired), has served as General Motors’ Chief Diversity Officer since April of 2012. He spent 28 years in the U.S. Navy, including five years as the Navy’s diversity director, and a year as the Department of Defense Acting Director of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity.

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