Making the Tampa Bay Region Economically Competitive

Making the Tampa Bay Region Economically Competitive:
How Policies of Inclusion Draw Talent and Impact the Bottom Line

Equality Means Business Roundtable
Thursday, June 5 @ 11:30 am at Tampa Bay History Center

How can the Tampa Bay Region be more economically competitive and improve its reputation as an inclusive place in which to live and work, and to visit? What will it take to attract young, smart entrepreneurs, or to recruit the next Fortune 500 company? These are among the topics of an Equality Means Business Roundtable and Luncheon on Thursday, June 5th at the Tampa Bay History Center.

The roundtable is presented by Equality Florida Institute, the City of Tampa and Florida Blue, in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign, Florida Diversity Council and Metro Wellness and Community Centers.

Florida is poised to draw new business and top talent by improving our national and international reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live, work and visit. Hear the latest research and best practices that will help chart a strategic path forward for attracting and retaining the best and the brightest workforce.

The discussion will focus on how Florida’s top companies are leading the pack in a national and global economy where diversity is a competitive advantage. Featured on the panel are Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida Institute and Cathryn Oakley, Legislative Counsel, State and Municipal Advocacy at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

According to HRC’s Municipal Equality Index, Tampa ranks as the most pro-equality big city in the state of Florida.

“We have long known that protecting employees from discrimination is not only the right thing to do, but research overwhelmingly demonstrates that it is also good for business,” said Mayor Buckhorn. “Diversity is a prerequisite for creativity and innovation, and by extension, for our economic competitiveness. It is as simple as they say, ‘equality means business.’”

The link between strong anti-discrimination laws and the ability to draw the best and the brightest is the reason that for the first time in history more than 60 percent of the Fortune 500 have adopted comprehensive anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity for their employees.

More Fortune 500 companies have inclusive workplace non-discrimination policies than ever before — 91 percent provide specific protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 61 percent on the basis of gender identity, an historic high.

The numbers are irrefutable. Research shows that diversity and inclusion are connected to economic growth.

“Openness to diversity is a driving factor in decisions about where people choose to live and where corporations choose to relocate or expand their operations,” said Nadine Smith. “Business leaders today are not only taking a closer look at their internal policies, they also are looking at the quality of life in the communities in which their increasingly diverse workforce must live.”

About Equality Means Business:

Founded in 2010, Equality Means Business was formed to spotlight major employers in Florida that have adopted comprehensive non-discrimination policies and have demonstrated their commitment to valuing, and proactively including, all employees. The organization’s goal is to improve Florida’s national and international reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live, work and visit. Equality Means Business supports and provides resources to Florida employers who understand that diversity brings the skills, perspective and other assets that are essential to attracting and retaining a competitive workforce while educating the public about the economic opportunities of embracing diversity and policies of inclusion.

The Equality Means Business Roundtable takes place on Thursday, June 5 at 11:30 am at the Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water Street, Tampa. The program is offered at no charge to attendees and includes lunch. Space is limited, and RSVP is required. Register online at, email Joe Saunders at [email protected] or call (813) 870-3735.


C1 Bank
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt
Comcast/NBC Universal
Creative Cities Productions
Florida Blue
HSN, Inc
JetBlue Airways
Moffitt Cancer Center
Morgan Stanley
On Top of the World Communities
PNC Bank
Regions Bank
Tech Data Corp
U.S. Trust
University of Miami
University of North Florida
Wells Fargo
Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Winn Dixie/ Bi-Lo Holdings


Equality Means Business
HRC Corporate Equality Index
HRC Municipal Equality Index
Equality Florida Institute

Media Contact: Sharon Kersten 954.314.7288 / [email protected]


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