Speakers | Wednesday – December 9, 2020

Harsh Realities: SOGIE change efforts in Africa and their impact on LGBTIQ lives

Lorna Dias

Lorna Dias, a Kenyan national, is a media consultant and social justice activist with 15 years’ experience in policy engagement and advocacy around governance, human rights and HIV. She has been Executive Coordinator of Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) since 2014, and was most previously Technical Officer: Documentation and Guidelines at Kenya’s Ministry of Health National AIDS and STI Control Programme Technical Support Unit (2013- 2014); and the Most-at-Risk Populations Programme Coordinator at Kenya’s leading HIV testing and treatment provider, LVCT Health (2008-2013). She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology (Counseling) from University of Nairobi (2007), a Bachelor’s in Education from Kenyatta University (1990) and is an AusAID Australian Leadership Award Fellow (2011). She has contributed to several publications on violence, sexual health and human rights for sexual and gender minorities, sex workers, and people who use drugs, and has supported the development of key national and institutional policies and manuals since 2008. Amongst various professional courses, Lorna has undertaken the USAID/MEASURE Evaluation Leadership Development Program (2013); Financial Management training by MANGO (2016), and the Feminist Leadership, Movement Building and Rights Institute by CREA (2016).

xeenarh Mohammed

Xeenarh Mohammed is a lawyer, technologist, community organizer and digital security trainer with over a decade of experience working on human rights issues across sectors across the world. Xeenarh is currently the Executive Director of TIERs, a feminist led LGBTQI+ organisation based in Lagos Nigeria. Xeenarh is the co-editor of She Called Me Woman, Nameless, and over a dozen safety and security guides and manuals used by journalists and human rights defenders all over the world. Xeenarh also sits on the advisory board of The Equality Hub, ReSista Camp, and Internet Freedom Festival.

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Anthony Brown is an Associate Professor in teacher education and Deputy HOD in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Johannesburg. His teaching experience over 16 years focus on Inclusive Education, life orientation as well as HIV education in secondary schools. His teaching philosophy is informed by social justice education, anti-oppressive education, transformational and critical theories. His research on inclusive education for LGBT school youth across southern Africa frequently engage participatory pedagogies and arts based research methods. Prof Brown has published significantly in international and regional journals on the intersections of sexuality, HIV education and inclusive education. He holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Namibia, a Masters of Arts (Special Educational Needs) from the University of Leeds in the UK and a Doctor of Education (Inclusive Education) from the University of Birmingham in the UK.

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Drs. Patrick Mthombeni is the Development, Policy and M&E Manager for Access Chapter 2. His research interests cover diverse topics that have direct policy implications such as gender and sexuality, protection of LGBT human rights, sexual citizenship, ageing sexualities, and LGBT social identities. He is a Ph.D. Candidate at Ghent University (Belgium) studying the social identity formation of older gay men who reside in Northeast of England. He received his MA degree in Sociology and Social Research at Newcastle University in England, United Kingdom investigating the division of labour in same-sex (lesbian) families, published by the Journal of GLB Family Studies.

COVID-19 Eight Months Later: The State of LGBTIQ Communities

alverna inniss

Alverna Inniss is known for my strong beliefs in equality for everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, culture, nationality, political persuasion or beliefs. They were socialized and believe in treating everyone the way they wish others to treat me and always use the switch the shoe scenario in every giving situation. Alvena studied Gender and Development at the University of the West Indies, and attained several professional certifications in the field of Domestic/ Family violence, HIV/AIDS and Human Trafficking. They served as a Court Advocate for persons affected by Domestic Violence for seventeen years while at the Directorate of Gender Affairs and was instrumental in the changing of the Domestic Violence Act of 1999 which was repeal in 2015 (even though it has not reflect all of the desire outcome and intensions).

Jennifer Okoba

Jennifer Okoba is a Business Process Analyst and Entrepreneur who is also the Founder and Executive Director of One Action Foundation. Jennifer is passionate about improving the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals living in Nigeria. She birthed the NGO to fulfill that purpose by becoming a leading advocate for LGBTQ+ youth rights and uses social media amongst other key project initiatives to create awareness for social issues such as socioeconomic issues, sexual health, mental health, education and suicide prevention among the LGBTQ+ community within Nigeria. One of her reputable achievements is launching the “Rainbow Yard Giveaway” – a yearly Christmas initiative where donated clothing items are provided to the LGBTQ+ community members in need. In 2020, the foundation launched the first ever Virtual Pride Party in Nigeria which was in collaboration with prominent LGBTQ NGOs in Nigeria. Most recently, through the support and funding from OutRight Action International, One Action Foundation was able to provide COVID-19 Essentials to 133 LGBTQ+ youth across 21 states in Nigeria. Jennifer believes in equality; she is dedicated to creating a social justice awareness for the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria and continues to make an impact with all the skills she has acquired overtime.

Bhoomi H

Bhoomi Harendran is a transgender activist in Sri Lanka who openly fights for LGBTIQ+ rights. She is widely known for her public discussions, raising awareness about Transgender community to the society. While she is building up her career as a human rights activist supporting the LGBTIQ+ community, she is also an extraordinary talented dancer, performer and award winning actress. She displayed her acting skills in the Sinhala movie “Frangipani”, which was highly discussed topic among people as it was based LGBTIQ+ community. However she received a SAARC film award and a Sarasavi Film award for her brilliant performance on her very first performance as an actress. She has been working as a human rights activist for the past few years to secure equal and equitable rights for all LGBTIQ+ persons in Sri Lanka. She is the founder and the Executive Director of National Transgender Network in Sri Lanka, Subcommittee member of Human rights commission LGBTIQ and steering committee member of children’s parliament and the former coordinator of YOH Sri Lanka. As a result of her hard work, NTN is one of the leading Non-Governmental Organizations for LGBTIQ+ rights. And her final objective will be, every Trans Sri Lankan is awarded a life of dignity and under eyes of the law and society.

Samuel Opio

Leticia Opio is the founder and Executive Director of Queer Youth Uganda since 2006. She has been working for the LGBTI movement since 2002. She has been involved at local, national and international level of Advocacy and also participated in different forums, eg African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and Human Rights Council in Geneva. Through her participation she has contributed towards SOGI working group in Geneva, in 2010 where she presented statements against countries with harmful laws in relation to the LGBTI community. She has also been involved in campaigns against the Anti Homosexuality law in Uganda from 2009 until the law was brought down in 2014 by the Ugandan constitutional court in Uganda, was also a board member for Pan African IIGA and has organised meetings with embassies in Kampala and also had different meetings with some members of European parliament in Brussels, Sweden Etc.


Amie Bishop (Moderator) is the Senior Research Advisor for OutRight Action International, based in Seattle. She is the author of its recent reports, Vulnerability Amplified: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on LGBTIQ People published in May 2020, and Harmful Treatment: The Global Reach of So-Called Conversion Therapy, published in August 2019. She previously served on OutRight’s Board of Directors from 2008 to 2017.

Amie is a human rights advocate and global health leader with professional experience in more than 20 countries. Between 1989 and 2014 she worked for PATH, a non-profit global health organization where her work spanned a variety of leadership and technical roles in the areas of TB, HIV, and women’s health. Amie is also an Adjunct Clinical Instructor at the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health and the Jackson School of International Studies. Amie is an elected member of the Advisory Committee of Seattle’s Women in Global Health initiative and is on the board of Rise Beyond the Reef, a community empowerment organization in Fiji. Amie holds Master’s Degrees in Social Work and Public Health from Columbia University.

Indonesia: Building a firewall against Hate

Citra Prastuti

Citra Dyah Prastuti is the chief editor of KBR, Indonesia’s first radio news agency with the largest network in Indonesia. Founded in 1999, KBR is now broadcasting to 350 radio stations in 34 provinces. Since 2018, KBR started to produce journalism-based podcasts with the flag of KBR Prime. KBR Prime produces podcast in various formats, both own production and in collaboration with other parties (communities, CSOs, etc). One of the flagship podcasts is Love Buzz, where we discuss sensitive issues of sexual minority groups as a way to talk about human rights, using a universal language of love. Most of Love Buzz’ guests regard this podcast as their safe space to be open about themselves. Citra started her career as a reporter, then editor/producer/broadcaster for multiple radio programs. In 2005, she pursued her Master’s degree in Critical Media and Cultural Studies at SOAS, University of London, with Chevening scholarship. In 2011, Citra received a fellowship from ABC’s Radio National to produce radio documentary – “Eros, Mother of 25 Children”. On the following year, her one-hour radio doco “Timor’s Lost Generation” was broadcasted by ABC Radio National. In 2018, Citra was awarded with Oktavianus Pogau Award from Pantau Foundation for bravery in journalism.


Jonta Saragih is gradually contribute in changing the narrative of LGBTIQ people in Indonesia. As Program Manager for Rights, Inclusion and Diversity at Hivos hub SEA, Jonta has worked with religious leaders, journalists and LGBTIQ activists to raise awareness of LGBTIQ issues, sensitised Indonesian journalists to challenges faced by queer people. His work also involves creating safe spaces for dialogue on gender and sexuality and strengthening the resilience of LGBTIQ people in Indonesia. Currently he is helping a group of public lawyers who self-identify as members of LGBTIQ in providing legal assistance to the victims of 56 gay males private gathering police raid in Jakarta last August 2020. He took his master at University of Leeds in Global Development and Gender.

Yasmin Purba

Yasmin Purba is currently the Gender and Human Rights Adviser at UNAIDS Indonesia. Yasmin has been working in the fields of human rights, justice and development for more than 15 years. She is an expert member of Arus Pelangi, a prominent civil society organisation focusing on the advocacy of the human rights of the LGBTIQ communities in Indonesia. Yasmin is also a founder and a board member of the Community Legal Aid (LBH Masyarakat), a human rights-based legal aid organization focusing on the abolition of the death penalty, prohibition of torture, and the elimination of stigma and discrimination against LGBTI people in Indonesia. Yasmin has been actively involved in various works both in advocating the rights of LGBTIQ people, as well as strengthening the capacity of LGBTIQ communities in Indonesia since 2008. During her previous position as a Programs Director at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, she actively voiced out concerns on discrimination and human rights violations against LGBTIQ communities in Indonesia. In September 2016, she assisted Arus Pelangi to draw up a report on the situation of LGBTIQ people in Indonesia for the Universal Periodic Report session at the UN Human Rights Council . In 2018, Yasmin is among the organizing committee to establish a National Crisis Response Mechanism for the protection of LGBTI people in Indonesia.

Edison Butar Butar (Ichon)

Edison Butar Butar (Ichon): Since he studied at Departement of Anthropology, Ichon has been active in the LGBTI movement. In 2012 he became one of the co-founder of an LGBTI organisation in North Sumatera, Indonesia, namely Cangkang Queer. After graduated from collage, Ichon has interest in the research related to LGBTI issues with Anthropology approach and also organisational governance, especially program management, monitoring & evaluation. Ichon has produced several publication. Such as; Ethnography of Sexuality in Medan (2014), LGBTI situation in North Sumatera (2015), Farel: Long Way to justice for a Transgender (2019), Situational Analysis of Trans women in Indonesia (2019) and Covid-19 impact on Transgender Community in Indonesia (2020). His interest is in the field of program management. Ichon has served as program manager in several LGBTI organisation, such as Cangkang Queer, Arus Pelangi Federation and now he become a Program Manager in Crisis Response Mechanism (CRM) Consortium. Apart of working as a CRM’s program manager, Ichon is also a freelance consultant in several organisation related to strengthening organisation governance, program management and project evaluation.”

PLENARY: Movements for Liberation: LGBTQ Activism and Racial Justice

This panel is designed to highlight the importance of anti-racism work to LGBTIQ movements and the history of LGBTIQ leaders of color working for liberation across race and sexuality/gender expression globally.  What can LGBTIQ movements do to work more effectively for racial justice?  What can LGBTIQ movements learn from movements for racial justice? This panel highlights speakers and movements that have deep knowledge at these intersections.

Ifasina Efunyemi headshot 1

Ifáṣínà Efunyemi is a human rights defender and advocate, educator, journalist, writer and poet from Belize. She has been in advocacy and volunteerism since age 14 while in high school and has continued on her path of being the voice of the voiceless through her involvement in numerous civil society organizations in Belize. These include the National Garifuna Council which she joined as a teenager and continues to be involved in to promote and preserve Garifuna culture. Since 2001, she has been volunteering with the Women’s Department in Dangriga where she lives. She was a co-founder of the Dangriga HIV/AIDS Society and was instrumental in developing and implementing the Powa fu Women project that was designed to respond to the feminization of HIV/AIDS. Her involvement in this project in 2003 led to her later co-founding the Productive Organization for Women in Action (POWA) which remains active in educating and empowering women and the wider community through HIV/AIDS education and outreach as well as addressing gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, human rights and other issues. She co-founded another women’s organization, Promoting Empowerment Through Awareness for Lesbian and Bisexual Women (PETAL), that also focuses on empowerment and advocacy for particularly lesbian and bisexual women. She is also a co-founder of the Belize History Association which is focused on promoting and accurately documenting Belize’s history. Resulting from her high level of activism, in 2019 she was awarded the United Nation’s Religion Fellowship by OutRight Action International and was also recognized by the Women and Family Support Department in Belize for her outstanding contribution to the Belizean community.


Amir Ashour is an Iraqi human rights defender with 11 years of experience working with Iraqi and international organisations. He is the founder and executive director of IraQueer, Iraq’s first national LGBT+ organisation. He has a masters degree in human rights from Columbia University. Amir was an honouree at the QX Gay Gala in Sweden and has been nominated to other awards including the Raoul Wallenberg Academy Prize and The David Kato Voice and Vision Award.




Beverly Tillery GO Mag

Beverly Tillery is the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, an organization that empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. She is an experienced thought leader, advocate and national organizer with three decades of experience working in social justice movements. Beverly lives in Harlem, NY with her partner and their 14 year old daughter. 

Most recently, she was a Deputy Director of Education and Public Affairs in charge of Community Education, Advocacy and Inclusion at Lambda Legal, an organization dedicated to achieving full recognition of the rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. There, she led national educational and advocacy campaigns and community-based research projects aimed at changing policies as well as hearts and minds. Prior to Lambda Legal, she worked as an organizer, popular educator, strategist and staff leader at Amnesty International, Service Employees International Union and ACORN. 

Bev Ditsie

Dr Bev Palesa Ditsie (Hon) is an award winning filmmaker, musician and social justice activist/change agent who was instrumental in bringing LGBTIQ+ rights into focus in the late 80’s and 90’s in SA and the world.

Dr Bev is first of many things – including first TV child Actor in South Africa, Founding member of the first multiracial LGBTIQA organisation in SA, GLOW, which organized the 1st Gay and Lesbian Pride March in Johannesburg, but is best known for being the 1st African lesbian to address the UN at the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), the subject of her latest documentary, Lesbians Free Everyone – The Beijing Retrospective, filmed entirely during the Global lockdown of 2020. Her first documentary film, Simon and I (2001), won a number of Audience Awards, including the 2004 Oxfam/Vues d’ Afrique best documentary, Montreal, Canada.


Lanaya Irvin (Moderator) is a global business executive and president of Coqual (formerly Center for Talent Innovation), a 16-year-old think tank that conducts research on workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion and advises the world’s largest corporations. Irvin spent more than a decade at BofA Securities where she led strategic initiatives in global equities, managed client relationships, and led multinational teams. Irvin is a founding executive member of OPEN Finance, a consortium of LGBTQ leaders advancing inclusion across Wall Street. In 2015, she mobilized over 30 financial services firms to sign onto a US Supreme Court amicus brief in support of federal marriage equality. Since 2013, she has co-chaired the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Advisory Council. Irvin also sits on the board of Outright Action International, an LGBTQ advocacy organization with permanent presence at the UN. In 2020, she was named to the Yahoo Finance HERoes Women Role Model Executives list. Her thought leadership has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Forbes, NPR Marketplace, and the BBC. Irvin holds a bachelor’s degree from University of California and an MBA from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business.

Legal progress: Advancing LGBTIQ Equality

Alexa Hoffman

Alexa D V. Hoffmann is a Barbadian-born-and-raised advocate for the LGBTI community, specifically for the Trans, gender non-conforming and Intersex communities, and is the founding Director of Trans Advocacy and Agitation Barbados. Never afraid to branch out and network, Miss Hoffmann is a member of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People (REDLACTRANS) and the United Caribbean Trans Network (UCTRANS, of which she is also Chairwoman), and has stridently advocated the need for legislation which recognise the gender identities and expression of Trans and Intersex people as well as protect that key population from all forms of discrimination. In 2015 and 2017, Miss Hoffmann assisted with the organising of Barbados Pride, which was originally held in November to coincide with Independence celebrations. In 2018, she spearheaded a Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) challenging Sections 9 and 12 of Barbados’ Sexual Offences Act, which respectively criminalise “buggery” and “serious indecency” and have been used to stigmatise the LGBTI community and oppose efforts to integrate the community with the rest of Barbadian society. Miss Hoffmann is currently undertaking efforts to ensure that the professional lives of Trans people are protected, through an Employment Rights Tribunal claim against her former employer after she was unfairly terminated due to her gender identity. This Tribunal claim is the first ever brought by a Trans person in Barbados.

Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría

Ana Helena Chacón is a costarrican woman who has more than 25 years of professional experience in private companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and public institutions. She is former Vice president of Costa Rica and also has been Congress Women and Vice minister of National Security, currently is the Ambassador of Costa Rica in Spain. She has been committed during this last decades for human rights, gender equality and sustainability and she has achieved thorough these years very important changes for the society, fighting poverty, inequality, gender gap and working with minorities has been a voice for those has been forgotten. In January 2018, thanks to she previously filing a process of consultation to the Inter American Court of Human Rights, they resolved that, equal marriage and the change of name for trans population, will be legal in all the countries members of the Inter American system. Ana Helena is passionate woman who will continues working for make this world more just and equal.

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Hamada, a Sudanese Queer activist, started in 2014 as an individual advocate for LGBTQI+ rights and in 2017 they co-founded Shades of Ebony LGBTQI+ rights group in Sudan. They are currently the executive director of Shades of Ebony group, which is a member organisation on Sudan SOGI Coalition along side Bedayaa Organization and Mesahat Foundation, and they are a co-founding member of MENAT* intiave, a member of Sudan SRHR network and a founding member of North Africa Centre for Strategic Partnerships. They are also a project manager on the area of Sexual and reproductive health and rights and work as a research assistant on the SOGIESC in Sudan.

Randy Boissonnault

Randy Boissonnault. Entrepreneur. Community Builder. NGO Founder. Ironman Triathlete. Former Member of Parliament. For over 15 years, Randy Boissonnault has advised leaders of owner-managed companies and social profit organizations on matters of leadership, strategy and community development. He is a graduate of Campus Saint-Jean at the University of Alberta and holds an M.A. (Oxon) from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Randy served as Special Advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on LGBTQ2 Issues. He is a tireless advocate of LGBTQ2 rights, inclusion in the workplace and supplier diversity. As Special Advisor, Randy lead the work of the LGBTQ2 Secretariat in the Privy Council Office, coordinating legislative, policy and program changes across government. He spearheaded the development of the 2019 Canada Fund, that will provide $30M over five years and $10M each year afterward, for Canadian LGBTQ2 civil-society organizations working to advance sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity rights in developing countries around the world. Thanks to his advocacy in office and through the 2019 campaign, Randy and his team secured $50M over 5 years for the Canadian LGBTQ2 organizations to conduct their work at the community level. As Co-Founder of the Global Equality Caucus, Randy is working with colleagues around the world to present a series of six digital events to advance LGBTQ2 rights entitled, Lawmakers for LGBT+ Equality.


Paul Jansen (Moderator) is the Senior Advisor for Global Advocacy at Outright Action International. He joined OutRight in 2017 after working as an International Consultant on organisational and strategic reviews for organizations and networks working on LGBTIQ issues, HIV, and other topics. Before starting his consultancy company, he was the Program Director for Salzburg Global Seminar in the areas of education, nature and sustainability issues. He has also worked as organisational sustainability advisor in the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health, in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to this, he was the country director of the Hivos office in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has been working in international development since 1998 in various development organisations, like Voluntary Service Overseas, after a career in the tourism industry for the Dutch Tourism Board in Cologne, Germany, and the Provincial Tourist Board in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Gender and sexuality issues in the Arabic media landscape: Changing the narrative

Amal Mekki

Amal El Mekki is a media and communication expert from Tunisia. She is the editor-in-chief of Innsane,a storytelling platform she co-founded in May 2020. Amal is also an award-winning investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker, and a trainer/ mentor for Internews and other NGOs. She focuses on Human Rights and has worked with Tunisian media and international outlets. She is the first Tunisian journalist to win an access of information case against an ministry (the Interior Ministry). She has been awarded many grants from ICFJ, ARIJ, CIFAR, Candid foundation for investigative stories about human rights violations in Tunisia. Amal is also a speaker at international conferences organised by UNESCO, GIJN, ARIJ, DRI, Deutsche Welle Akademie etc..

Meriam Mechti

Meriam Mechti is a 30 year old Tunisian human rights Activist. She currently serves as Regional Finance Assistant with the United States Institute of Peace She worked as the Project Director of the UTMA “Union Tunisienne des médias Associatifs”and treasurer of Chouf association. she was co-organizer of Chouftouhonna the feminist art festival of Tunis for the last 4 editions. she is engaged in the fight against sexual discrimination, Most of her activities are related to causes that concern women, human rights and fight against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Nazeeha Saeed

Nazeeha Saeed (Moderator), MENA coordinator, Arabic media project coordinator at OutRight, journalist from Bahrain with more than 20 years experience in print, TV, and radio media outlets. human rights activist.

Corporate Purpose and LGBTIQ Human Rights

Suki Sandhu

Suki Sandhu OBE (Moderator) has been a game-changer within the diversity and executive search arenas for over 17 years. He established Audeliss in 2011; a global executive search firm committed to levelling the field in executive and non-executive opportunities for diverse leaders. He is also Founder & CEO of INvolve, a global network and consultancy championing diversity and inclusion in business. INvolve publish global Role Model Lists, supported by Yahoo Finance, recognizing and celebrating business leaders and future leaders who are breaking down barriers at work and inspiring the next generation of diverse talent. Suki is a Stonewall Ambassador and launched ‘The Suki Sandhu LGBTQI Asia Fund’ to support activism in Asia. He is also Patron for The Albert Kennedy Trust and a Trustee for the Guild of HR Professionals. He was awarded an OBE from the Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours for Services to Diversity in Business. 

Molly Q. Ford

Molly Q. Ford is the Vice President of Global Equality Programs at Salesforce, responsible for creating Diversity and Inclusion programs and executing on the company’s core value of Equality. Equality is a core value at Salesforce. We are striving to create a workplace that reflects the diverse communities around us and where everyone feels seen, heard, valued, and empowered to succeed. Clearly, there is more work to be done, on our path to an equal workplace and world for all. Prior to making her passion for Equality a full-time job, Molly worked on the award-winning Salesforce Communications team. And has more than 15 years of communications and public relations experience, at major technology companies including Cisco, Check Point Software, IBM and UMAX. Molly holds a B.S. in Public Relations from San Jose State University. In addition, Molly is a storyteller that shared her journey to Equality in a TEDX event on, “What to do when you don’t have a seat at the table.” She was recognized by the San Francisco Business Times in its 2018 Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business edition, which celebrates women business leaders in real estate, law, tech, education, healthcare and many other industries. 

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Lindsay-Rae McIntyre. From thought leadership, to operational execution, to employee engagement, McIntyre leads Microsoft’s strategic efforts on systemic solutions to advance diversity and inclusion guided by a commitment to be mission-driven, outcome-oriented, globally-informed, science-based, and culturally-competent. She spearheaded the publication of Microsoft’s first Diversity & Inclusion Report and shaped our recent action-oriented response to racial injustice. Under her leadership, her global team of human resources and employee engagement strategists are driving the adoption of Microsoft’s Core Priority for Diversity & Inclusion, introducing new solutions to advance inclusive behaviors and habits including Microsoft’s Allyship Program and employee self-identification, and helping leaders embrace their inclusion learning journey.

Kenita Placide 2

Kenita M. Placide is the Founder and Executive Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE). ECADE, is an independent umbrella organization, inclusive of organizations operating in the small islands in the eastern Caribbean from the Virgin Islands to Grenada. Kenita has advocated around HIV and human rights inclusive of women, youth and LGBTI issues, for over 15 years and has worn many hats to bring attention and funding to the smaller islands in the eastern part of the Caribbean. A runner-up for the LGBT Intergroup’s GO Visible Award in 2012, Kenita is the mind behind the planning and implementing of many Caribbean sub-regional sessions. Kenita led the first presentation by United and Strong to Saint Lucia’s Constitution Reform Commission in 2009 and to the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations in 2010. Kenita is founder and organizer of the Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference (2013 to present). 

Melisande Kingchatchaval Schifter

Mélisande Kingchatchaval Schifter is the Project Lead, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the World Economic Forum. She manages the Forum’s Community of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officers, and leads the Forum’s action initiatives that support business leaders in advancing their diversity, equity, inclusion and human-centric strategies for more workplace equality, such as the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality. She focuses on issues around gender parity, racial justice, LGBTI equality, disability inclusion, and modern slavery. Prior to joining the Forum, Mélisande worked within the field of international affairs, development work and ethics. She holds a MTh in Theology from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and is currently a PhD candidate in Ethics at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Corporate Purpose & LGBTIQ Human Rights: Asia regional focus

Kathy Teo

Kathy Teo (Moderator) is the founder and CEO of Xpointo Media, a digital marketing company headquartered in Singapore. Prior to founding Xpointo, Kathy was Managing Director Asia and Vice President International for CNET Networks (now part of ViacomCBS), where she led an international team across nine countries in Asia, Europe and the US.  Xpointo Media has been a business sponsor of Singapore’s Pink Dot since 2017. In 2019, Kathy was appointed as one of the business leaders driving the Red Dot for Pink Dot campaign, advocating for companies in Singapore to support Pink Dot. Kathy is also the founder of Bridge the Digital Divide, a social responsibility initiative that contributes towards social inclusion in Singapore by directing donated digital devices to households and individuals in need. Kathy believes that all businesses can be a force for good and can play a key role in creating more equality in our society. In the 1990s, while living in the United States, Kathy was a community organiser for the regional and national Asian queer women’s movement in the US. Kathy currently serves on the board of OutRight Action International, a leading international LGBTQ+ human rights organisation, as one of two Asia-based board members. She is part of The McKinsey Alliance, a working group of senior C-Suite leaders from around the world, brought together by McKinsey, to address diversity and inclusion issues affecting key sectors and geographies. Kathy has spoken and participated in various panels on themes of equality and non-discrimination for the LGBTQ+ community.

Ali Potia

Ali Potia is a Partner at McKinsey & Company. He is based in Singapore, where he co-leads the Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail practices in Southeast Asia. Ali’s core focus is on food value chains, including agriculture, processing, grocery and food services. In addition, he spearheads McKinsey’s retail analytics SWAT team in Asia, helping clients create value from their consumer, point-of-sale and operations data. Ali leads Diversity & Inclusion for McKinsey Asia and is one of the leaders of McKinsey’s LGBTQ+ affinity network GLAM. He established the Asia chapter, expanding it to 25 offices in 16 countries across the region. Ali also created McKinsey’s first mentorship program for LGBTQ+ colleagues and scaled up the Ally network in Asia. He has conducted leadership master classes for more than 60 LGBTQ+ senior executives in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. A frequent speaker on LGBTQ+ issues, Ali was recognized by diversity charity INvolve in 2019 as one of the world’s top 100 LGBT+ Executive Role Models, which acknowledged his substantial achievements as an LGBTQ+ person in the business community.

Karen Teo

Karen Teo is the VP of the Global Business Group for Asia-Pacific at Facebook. Prior to this role, she spent four years at the Facebook APAC Gaming team tapping into her gaming industry experience with big brands such as Xbox, EA Games, Take Two Interactive. Once a small business owner, Karen has always been inspired by the many stories where small business owners manage to put food on the table, realize their dreams and create jobs for people in their communities. With this similar motivation, the Global Business Group APAC team working with a highly diverse slate of businesses including small local brands, drives business outcomes to enable businesses in APAC to meet their goals with a focus on the mission of building communities and connecting the world. Also, as a passion project, Karen has spoken at various government and private institutions on the importance of diversity and culture for building a future-forward workforce. Having supported various diversity initiatives in Facebook, Karen is currently serving as Co-executive sponsor for the Facebook Pride@ as well as the Women@ resource groups in APAC.

Ms Jyotsna Suri, The Lalit Group of Hotels with her son Keshav Suri and three daughters at The Lalit Hotel in New Delhi, India  on Thursday, April 11, 2013. Photo by Hemant Chawla, hemantchawlaphotography.com

Keshav Suri, the Executive Director at The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group is involved in the Group’s expansion, quality management, building marketing strategies, operations and F&B revenues. Under his guidance the Group established F&B brands like 24/7, Baluchi and OKO. His brainchild, Kitty Su – the Group’s nightclub, has supported acid attack survivors, hired India’s only differently abled DJ and people from the deeply marginalised LGBTQ+ community. Keshav Suri has been working with several NGOs and activists to help mainstream marginalized communities. He launched social campaign #PureLove to spread the message of love and educate masses. The Group has provided opportunities to more than 100 queer people and has established itself as one of the safe places in the country. He launched his own – Keshav Suri Foundation – with a mission to embrace, empower and mainstream the LGBTQ+ community. He partnered with FICCI for Queering the Pitch for the foundation launch. The Foundation is the official affiliate for It Gets Better Project in India. A graduate in Law and Business from the University of Warwick, he obtained a Master’s Degree in International Management from Kings College, London followed by an LLM Degree from School of African & Oriental Studies (SAOS), London. He has received several international recognitions such as Attitude Pride Award and LGBT+ Future Role Model by Yahoo Finance Outstanding and about 15 national honours including Change Maker by Hindu Businessline, Culture Icon of NewHood by Mens XP and Tycoons of Tomorrow by Forbes India to name a few.

Wilhelmina _Weena_ Ekid

Wilhelmina “Weena” Ekid is a Vice President for Corporate & Investment Bank at JPMorgan Chase & Co. – Philippines Corporate Center. With over 15 yrs of experience in the Business Process Outsource Industry, Weena have provided support for businesses in the Consumer, Airline, Finance and telecommunications. Primary Advocacy is LGBT+ Workplace inclusion, Weena is the APAC Co-lead for Global Transgender Working Group at JPMC, was a Panelist at the Out & Equal Workplace Conference in US ( 2016 & 2020 ) and a resources speaker in various Diversity & Inclusion Forums and Discussions. Currently the Chairperson for Philippine Financial and Inter-Industry Pride (PFIP), a collaborative, voluntary, community of practice composed of dedicated representatives from LGBT+ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or Human Resource / Diversity teams. An Out & Proud Transgender Male Fur parent together 2 Dogs with his Wife, for 7 years now.