Dr. Rolf Schmachtenberg / BMAS
© J. Konrad Schmidt / BMAS
MYSTORY with …

Rolf
64 Years, Berlin

“It has always been important to me
to live with children, to be linked to
the future through children…”

Published: March 2023

Long Ways.

The first time I had sex with a man, it was still forbidden – it happened in what was then West Germany. Shortly after that, rumours about a newly discovered virus began to spread. Deadly. Soon it was clear that homosexual men were particularly affected. The German magazine Der Spiegel wrote about the “Schwulen-Pest,” a translation of the term Gay Plague. We had to be cautious.

Today I live in a different world. I am married to a man. And we have children, too.

This would not have been possible without fundamental changes in our laws during the last 30 years. What seems to be nothing special today was wishful dreaming or even unthinkable back then.

It has liberated me. I came out when I moved to Berlin, quite late, at the age of 35. My life would have been different if I had been clear about who I was and how I loved earlier. I had been living with a vague idea of bisexuality far too long. Today I think this was also because at that time I could not imagine how to combine my desire to have children and my love for men.

I am very grateful to all those in my life who have encouraged me on this path and made it possible. And I am happy for everyone who clearly knows early on and I understand everyone who needs time for this. The open interaction in queer networks can help and encourage people on this way. And these networks now exist in many federal agencies, including the ministries of the Federal Government.

LGBTIQ* employees still experience discrimination in the workplace far too often. Even small talk at the coffee machine can quickly lead to an unwanted outing. Often enough, not only their well-being at work, but also their professional future depends on the reactions of their superiors and colleagues. But only those who feel at ease can deliver the best results at work. Organisations, companies and administrations can actively contribute to an inclusive corporate culture. On INQA.de you can read how networks or interest groups in companies can help to improve the situation of LGBTIQ* employees at work.

Ending discrimination requires the support of those who are not affected. Through active solidarity (allyship), companies can promote diversity in the world of work. On INQA.de you find five tips on how managers and employees can work for diversity and show: We are Allies!

ROLF, Thank you very much for YourStory!
PROUT EMPLOYER Hogan Lovells

“The diversity of our employees is important to me – not only because of my role as Managing Partner and Diversity Sponsor, but also personally. As a company, we function best when people feel comfortable with us and have trust in our working relationship.”

Dr. Stefan Schuppert advises companies in the field of data protection and information technology. He is Managing Partner for the German offices of the international law firm Hogan Lovells and also Sponsoring Partner for Diversity in EMEA. In 2021 and 2022, he was recognized as a PROUT Executive Ally.

Hogan Lovells has been a PROUT EMPLOYER since 2017 – so it has been committed to LGBT*IQ diversity for a long time. Why is this particularly important to you?

 

Dr. Stefan Schuppert: As a global law firm, we have been committed to equal opportunity, appreciation and respect for many years. The diversity of our employees is important to me Рnot only because of my role as Managing Partner and Diversity Sponsor, but also personally. As a company, we function best when people feel comfortable with us and have trust in our working relationship. In an open working atmosphere, we can be creative and find innovative solutions for our clients. And the work is fun! It’s a positive sign for all our employees when we commit to equal treatment for all people and an appreciative, respectful working atmosphere.

In 2022, Hogan Lovells’ LGBT*IQ network, Pride+, celebrates its 5th birthday. Congratulations! What do you see as the biggest success of the network so far?

 

Dr. Stefan Schuppert: Thank you! We are very proud that this network has been part of our everyday life for five years. Pride+ is present and active at all our locations and provides assistance even in countries where it is not so easy to promote LGBT*IQ issues. Pride+ promotes knowledge about the LGBT*IQ community, sensitizes people to diversity issues and supports the visibility of role models. And it connects us to one another ‚Äď because as “allies” we demonstrate our solidarity with our LGBT*IQ colleagues.

What advice would you give to companies that are still at the very beginning of their commitment to LGBT*IQ diversity?

 

Dr. Stefan Schuppert: My advice would be:¬† just do it and keep at it, even if the seats at the first diversity events are not booked out right away. It’s important to raise awareness of the issues. Because it‚Äôs often ignorance that leads to discrimination. This is where PROUT AT WORK, as an important partner, can help to overcome uncertainties and build up knowledge.

For the acceptance of the topic, it‚Äôs also important that the “tone from the top” is visible every day. My advice is to win over important role models in the senior management team for the topic.

Ultimately, it is crucial that all employees ‚Äď regardless of hierarchy ‚Äď are committed to the topic of diversity and help create an open and appreciative culture.

Where do you see the challenges to LGBT*IQ diversity at Hogan Lovells in the coming years?

 

Dr. Stefan Schuppert: Especially after the pandemic and in times of many very present crisis situations, it is important to sensitize employees again to LGBT*IQ and other diversity topics. Here we would like to create as many opportunities and incentives as possible. We offer exciting lunch talks with external and internal speakers, workshops, team events and much more. Because it is often ignorance that leads to insecurity, this is where we can provide our employees with concrete support. For example, with our guideline for gender-sensitive language, which we have been using for our general internal and external communications since the beginning of the year. We attach great importance to offering everyone in our office an open working environment in which they can be themselves, every day.

 

Which joint initiatives on LGBT*IQ diversity do you particularly remember, and which projects are you looking forward to in the coming period?

 

Dr. Stefan Schuppert: I remember many great joint initiatives that we have carried out with PROUT AT WORK in the past five years. For example, our inspiring networking and awareness workshops, or the ToGathering event on inclusive language with clients and the PROUT AT WORK dinner with very interesting keynote speakers. We can’t do enough to further the visibility of the LGBT*IQ community, so I’m looking forward to many more exciting projects in our cooperation.

 

Dear Dr. Stefan Schuppert, thank you very much for the interview!

 

 

PROUT EMPLOYER ERGO

“I believe that in addition to the pure visibility that we achieve with pride networks, for example, other things are also important. We need to point out unconscious bias. We need gender inclusive language. ”

Markus Bader is 45 years old and lives with his partner in Hamburg. After studying business informatics, he joined Hamburg Mannheimer Versicherung, part of the ERGO Group, as IT coordinator in 2002. After 3 years he was able to take over a first management position as group leader in this area. In 2013 he had the opportunity to join a department manager position in ITERGO, the IT service provider of the ERGO Group. In 2018, he left IT with a step into business as division manager for Life Classic Operations.

 

 

As a leader at ERGO, what does it mean for you to advocate for more LGBT*IQ diversity and visibility?

 

Markus Bader: As a gay and outed executive, I think it’s important to advocate for more visibility and I’m glad that we’ve also had a pride network for a little over 2 years now and that I can get involved there. We know that there are still many LGBT*IQ people who decide against coming out in a professional context because they fear disadvantages. We need role models who make it clear that your choice of job and your career goals are not dependent on your sexual orientation.

What experiences in your career so far have shaped you in terms of LGBT*IQ?

 

Markus Bader: In fact, in the first (un-outed) years of my career, I had the experience that derogatory remarks were made about outed colleagues regarding their sexual orientation. Not always and often, but it happened. That definitely shaped me for the years to come. I didn’t feel ready to expose myself to that at the time. The confidence to come out to colleagues didn’t develop until a few years later. However, I never experienced rejection or disadvantages and to this day I am happy and grateful that I can be open with my sexuality with my employer. I was therefore all the more pleased that, in addition to the many other diversity issues, the topic of LGBT*IQ has also become an institution at ERGO with the Pride network.

You are committed to LGBT*IQ diversity at ERGO, to what extent do you receive support from your colleagues?

 

Markus Bader:

From my immediate colleagues, I feel the normality and matter-of-factness that my life model is met with is actually the strongest support. Today, I never have the feeling that someone avoids asking me how my summer vacation with my partner was, for example, just to avoid bringing up the subject. On the contrary – I experience just as much interest in my life and partnership as I do with others.

pride@ergo was founded by committed colleagues.

The Diversity Management Team has provided support from network building to the present day, and the godmother of our network is our Chief Human Resources Officer. This is an important contribution on the part of the employer and also shows me that the topic is important and is seen.

You were part of the PROUT Executives list in 2021 and 2022, congratulations again! What did that mean for you and how did you perceive the reactions?

 

Markus Bader: I was very happy about the positions on the Prout Executives list. For me personally, it was also an exciting process – I’m not very active on my social media channels, or rather a consumer than a creator. Sharing the list position on LinkedIn, among other places, was another new experience for me – and I received positive feedback without exception afterwards – from previously unknown people, from people I had lost sight of, but also from my immediate environment.

What specific actions for more LGBT*IQ diversity are you concerned about right now?

 

Markus Bader: I believe that in addition to the pure visibility that we achieve with pride networks, for example, other things are also important. We need to point out unconscious bias. We need gender-inclusive language.  We have already revised the language and image of our brand presence at ERGO. This will certainly not happen overnight, but we have made a start, and ERGO must continue to develop.

Dear Markus Bader, thank you very much for the interview!

 

 

Aktionsplan Queer leben

On November 18, the federal cabinet decided on the action plan “Queer Leben”, as scheduled in the coalition contract. Different plans for acceptance and protection of sexual and gender diversity were hilighted, and six topic points were solidified:

  • Recognition by law
  • Participations
  • Security
  • Health
  • Strenghtening of the Communities
  • International issues

In addition to topics such as the Self-Determination Act, the reform of the Parentage Act, and blood donation, other issues important to the work context were also addressed under the heading of “participation”. These include the following measures:

  • Expansion of the diversity topic pillar as part of the “New Quality of Work (INQA)” initiative of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS);
  • Research projects on the situation/discrimination of LGBT*IQ in the world of work as well as improving the promotion of projects for acceptance;
  • Development of a guideline for employers that includes the recommendations for action of two studies on the “Third Option” in a comprehensible way for use in everyday work;
  • Sensitization of employers, trainers, employee representatives for the concerns of LGBT*IQ employees and applicants;
  • Support for raising awareness of LGBT*IQ issues in in-company training;
  • Establishment of a dialogue process (federal government, states, collective bargaining parties, church employers) on improving the working conditions of LGBTIQ* in institutions of churches and religious communities;
  • Promotion of diversity management in the federal public service;

Additional measures in the area of federal administration:

  • Development of an internal federal diversity strategy (incl. creation of further training opportunities, support for the establishment and networking of employee networks and a strategy for diversity-sensitive personnel selection procedures);
  • Implementation of diversity issues (incl. LGBT*IQ/gender identity) in initial, further and advanced training (e.g. qualification measures by the Federal Ministry of Defense [BMVg] in civilian and military training and by the Federal Foreign Office in training in the Foreign Service); Regularly strengthening the educational and advisory competence of the social service in the Bundeswehr on the diversity issue; Conducting systematic baseline analyses on the situation of LGBT*IQ (e.g., with the help of employee surveys);
  • Sensitization of employees to implicit prejudices and integration in competence requirements/competence models;
  • Sensitization and, if necessary, training of employees involved in recruitment processes;

For more information about the plan “Queer Leben”, feel free to drop by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

PROUT AT WORK Welcomes the Action plan “Queer Leben”

“In addition to topics such as the overdue Self-Determination Act, the reform of the Parentage Act, and a reform of blood donation, the action plan also addressed other aspects that are important for the work context, which we very much welcome and which provide important impetus for our work.” Albert Kehrer, CEO of PROUT AT WORK.

Porträt Albert Kehrer

For more information around trans* in the workplace, the third option, and other workplace related LGBT*IQ topics, we encourage you to check out our free HOW TO guides.

Regularily, our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

This event took place in German.

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

guest of the day

Dr. Christophe Campana
Founder and Managing Director of Campana & Schott
3rd place PROUTExecutiveAllies 2021

Dr. Christophe Campana is founder and managing director of the Campana & Schott group of companies. He has over 25 years of experience in (top) management consulting and is a member of various expert and advisory boards. He has been instrumental in shaping the company’s open, tolerant and diverse culture from the very beginning.

Christophe is also a sponsor and one of the biggest supporters of Campana & Schott’s LGBTQ+ network SCOUT. He has already accompanied the community on its way to coming out and is its trusted ally, advisor and friend.

Regularily, our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

This event took place in German.

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

GUEST OF THE DAY
© UFA GmbH

Nico Hofmann
CEO of UFA GmbH
10th Place PROUTExecutives 2021

Diversity is a central part of UFA’s corporate culture, which Nico Hofmann as CEO has been actively promoting for years – whether in front of or behind the camera, diversity in teams is essential and inspires UFA in its daily business. As Nico Hofmann’s stance and commitment to LGBT*IQ+ issues has changed UFA’s corporate culture, he makes an important contribution to an open, tolerant, respectful and democratic society not only inside but also outside his workplace. From the employees of UFA originates the strong will to live diversity, inclusion, equal opportunities and tolerance as a self-explanatory matter. To drive this forward, UFA was the first German media company to dedicate itself to more diversity.

Regularily, our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

This event will took place in English.

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

GUEST OF THE DAY
.© Forbes DACH

Angela Matthes
Founder/Creator of becurious.li
Former CEO of Baloise Life (Liechtenstein) AG

Until recently, Angela Matthes was CEO of a subsidiary of a European insurance group for 8 years. She also transitioned during this role in 2014. Since the beginning of the year, she has started her own business “becurious.li” to focus on innovation and disruption in the area of prevention and protection. Her website will always have a strong human component with a focus on diversity and inclusion. Firstly, because Angela Matthes is deeply convinced that our ever faster changing business environments need teams that have the ability to look at challenges from as many different angles as possible. And secondly, because through her own personal journey of change, she knows first-hand how much energy is released when we create environments where we can all bring our best authentic selves to work. On the latter, she is fortunate to be able to speak at lectures or panel discussions time and time again.

Regularily, our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

GUEST OF THE DAY

© Lichtbildatelier Eva Speith, Darmstadt

Philip Heßen
Head of HR Strategy & Transformation bei Merck
Ranked 6th on the TOP 100 OUT EXECUTIVES list 2020

Philip He√üen joined Merck KGaA, a leading science and technology company based in Germany, in 2014. Initially Philip held the position of Head of Global Rewards, followed by his role as Head of HR Germany and is currently responsible for the Global People and HR Strategy, acting as Head of HR Strategy & Transformation.  

Philips professional career started with Siemens, where he was responsible for the initiation of a share-based incentive and establishing an employee-share-culture. In 2011, he transitioned to the high-tech company OSRAM as Global Rewards and Executive HR Manager and, among other things, supported the company’s flotation (IPO) and Divesture from the parent company Siemens.

Regularily, our board member Albert Kehrer invites an inspiring role model of the LGBT*IQ community or an LGBT*IQ Ally for a chat. You can look forward to an interesting exchange about role models and visibility in the LGBT*IQ community.

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

Guest Of The Day

© Kieran Harnett

Margot Slattery
Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Sodexo Group

As the Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for the Sodexo Group, a world leader in integrated facilities services, Margot has responsibility for the strategic direction, implementation and alignment of its integrated global diversity and inclusion initiatives.  

Limerick-born Margot joined Sodexo Ireland in the early 1990s and prior to her current role, was country president of Sodexo Ireland from 2015-2019.   For her work in championing successful inclusive leadership in Ireland, Margot was regularly listed on the Financial Times‚Äô Top 100 LGBT Business Leaders and was made a Chevalier de l‚ÄôOrdre National du M√©rite by the French Ambassador to Ireland. She has also been the recipient of many other business and professional awards in Ireland and abroad.

Sodexo delivers services that improve the quality of life to clients in business and industry, education, financial, pharma and healthcare. These include food services, infrastructure build, facilities and estate management, optimising the workplace experience, wellness experiences, personal and homecare services.

INTERVIEW WITH DR. JEAN-LUC VEY ON THE START OF NOMINATIONS FOR THE PROUT PERFORMER-LISTS

“LISTS LIKE PROUT PERFORMER SHOW THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO TALK OPENLY ABOUT your SEXUAL orientation AND GENDER IDENTITY AND BE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR CAREER AT THE SAME TIME.”

Hello Jean-Luc. Thank you for your time and for giving us the opportunity to do this interview. PROUT AT WORK is publishing the new PROUT PERFORMER lists for the first time this year. How does it come about?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: First of all, I would like to thank everyone involved in GERMANY’S TOP 100 OUT EXECUTVES for making the list as successful as it has been over the last three years. Those are mainly the role models who made it onto one of the lists, but also every single nominee. I would also like to thank those who nominated their colleagues and people they know. Above all, I would like to especially thank the jury and our cooperation partners.

They have all contributed a great deal to the visibility of the LGBT*IQ community in Germany. The lists have shown that it is possible to be open about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity in everyday working life without experiencing negative career consequences. With their commitment to equal rights and equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people at work, those who made it onto the list serve as role models for the entire LGBT*IQ community and beyond.

PROUT AT WORK terminated the collaboration with our partner at the end of the year. However, the visibility of LGBT*IQ at work is still very close to our hearts. Therefore, we have decided to continue the lists with a new name, to further develop them and to publish them on our own in 2021. Being out in the workplace should be the rule and not the exception. We will continue to work for this in the future with our various projects.

Why are these lists so important?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: As already mentioned, this is mainly about visibility. Studies continue to show that many LGBT*IQ students go back into the closet once they start their professional lives, out of fear that coming out will have a negative impact on their careers. Lists like PROUT PERFORMER show that it is possible to be open about your sexual orientation and gender identity and be successful in your career at the same time. This helps others to have the confidence to come out as well. And this in turn has been proven to have positive effects on mental health and productivity at work.

What is the difference between the new PROUT PERFORMER-lists and the former TOP 100 OUT EXECUTIVE lists?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: In order to make the PROUT PERFORMER-lists even more attractive, we first carried out a survey among old candidates to find out where they felt there was still room for improvement. We took this feedback to heart in the following redesign and incorporated it into the structure of the new lists. Therefore, we now have more distinct categories in the PROUT PERFORMERS-lists and for example have created a separate list for SMEs. In addition, Executive Allies are now also being recognised on a special list. Another new aspect is that we only rank the top places on the list, as we do not want to create competition between the individual candidates.

But why rank the top places anyway?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: This is because there are still some people who have done particularly outstanding work for LGBT*IQ equality at the workplace over the past year – with important initiatives, new projects or other activities. We would like to give them special attention by highlighting them at the top of the list.

What part does the PROUT PERFORMER jury play in this?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: We spoke with the jury ahead of redesigning the lists, too. We are very proud to have won such top-class people for the project again. But we are also aware that due to their important roles in their companies, they often do not have the time to evaluate each candidate individually – this was also expressed in their direct feedback.

Therefore, the first evaluation will be carried out by the PROUT AT WORK-Foundation, which will use the information and criteria submitted to determine who will earn a spot on the list and who, because of their exceptional achievements, will have a chance to reach one of the highest-ranking positions. These people are then asked to introduce themselves to the jury through a short video clip, and the jury then determines the top positions. This way we were able to secure the prominent jury members and still ensure an attractive evaluation process for the nominees.

How can people nominate their role models for the PROUT PERFORMER-lists?

 

Jean-Luc Vey: Nominations are now accepted through our website. It can be found at proutperformer.de. We are looking forward to all nominations and to creating more visibility for LGBT*IQ at the workplace together with our community.

Thank you for this interview, Jean-Luc!
qa2px

A talk with… Markus Bader