We’re paving the way for public agencies to embolden their inclusivity efforts by being the first public pension system to join Out Leadership, an association that helps companies integrate LGBTQ+ equality into their business practices.
Brad Pacheco, the first open LGBTQ+ executive at CalPERS, said leaders recently identified an LGBTQ+ gap in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) efforts. While the pension fund has historically fostered partnerships with various professional organizations specific to ethnic backgrounds, there was nothing formal in place supporting this group — until now.
“It’s about saying, ‘Yes you belong here, and yes you can have a successful career here,’” said Pacheco, who’s been at CalPERS for 28 years and has served as deputy executive officer for CalPERS Communications & Stakeholder Relations since 2015.
What It Means for CalPERS’ Investments
CalPERS and its Investment Office will be better positioned to influence the diversification of corporate boards by having access to a network of LGBTQ+ professionals ready to step up if called upon.
“For years, CalPERS has used its influence as an institutional investor to engage companies in which we invest in on the importance of diversity and inclusion to shareowner value,” said Marlene Timberlake D’Adamo, CalPERS’ chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. “We’re excited to leverage Out Leadership’s research, talent development programs, and advocacy to continue delivering strong and equitable returns for our members.”
Out Leadership Founder and CEO Todd Sears said his organization operates “on the premise that embedding LGBTQ+ equality into business practices isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s a business imperative.
“We’re excited to help CalPERS change the structures of business to create more inclusive companies that realize better outcomes for the bottom line.”
How It Helps Employees Serve Our Members
CalPERS leaders are hopeful this relationship offers greater visibility and a sense of belonging to LGBTQ+ employees, while demonstrating our commitment to inclusivity.
“By fostering an inclusive work environment, we’re creating a positive culture that attracts top talent and promotes innovation for our member programs,” says Michelle Tucker, CalPERS’ chief of human resources.
Out Leadership has much to offer to CalPERS, including access to information and research on issues of importance to the LGBTQ+ community, said Marlene Timberlake D’Adamo. “We expect this will provide our team members an outlet to further grow and develop,” she said.
CalPERS is already benefitting from this partnership, as an Out Leadership member will speak at the annual Pathways for Women conference in late August. Jane Barry-Moran, Out Leadership managing director of programs and research, will be on a panel discussing “How to Promote Your Work and Develop Your Personal Brand.”
Tucker said this public commitment is more than a bold step toward greater inclusion. It’s addressing real issues in substantial ways.
“We know people have been counting on us to lead the way for inclusivity, and this effort demonstrates CalPERS’ commitment to members of LGBTQ+ communities,” she says.
Tucker said she joined CalPERS in 2020, in part, due to the open culture among its executive staff.
“One of the reasons I joined CalPERS is there are bold leaders who are not afraid to be out there,” she said, noting she was inspired by Brad Pacheco, who spoke about his husband on his bio on the CalPERS website.
“I knew that I, with my wife, would be comfortable and beyond that, would be included and welcomed at CalPERS,” Tucker said. “Our role as leaders is to pay that forward to the next generation of team members looking to either grow their careers, or know they’re included, valued, and welcome to the table at CalPERS.”