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Equality Means Business, a project of Equality Florida and Equality Florida Institute, has announced that Susan Arko, Assistant Vice President of Customer Service Operations at CSX Corporation, has joined the organization’s Advisory Board. Advisory board members represent companies that are committed to making Florida's business climate conducive to economic success by encouraging and supporting diversity in the workplace.

Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization in Florida dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

<image004.jpg>With approximately 30,000 employees, CSX ranks 230th on the Fortune 500 and, together with its subsidiaries based in Jacksonville, FL, is one of the nation's leading transportation suppliers. The company has a longstanding commitment to non-discrimination policies and encourages employees to engage in volunteer efforts “to make the world a better place.” Arko is active in many diversity activities at CSX and is currently the executive sponsor of the company’s LGBT Inclusion Group (EQ=AL).

“Realizing the value of an engaged workforce and in support of our Core Value ‘People Make a Difference,’ CSX has made tremendous strides in reaching out to all employees, listening to what is important to them and acting to ensure fairness in all aspects,” states Arko. “I am proud to work for CSX, helping to shape our strategy and environment to be a reflection of the diverse world in which we live and work. Broadening the scope of that work by joining with others to improve the lives of the citizens of Florida is an honor.”

Founded in 2010, Equality Means Business was formed to spotlight major employers in Florida that have adopted comprehensive non-discrimination polices and have demonstrated their commitment to valuing, and pro-actively 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.

“We have long known that protecting employees from discrimination is the right thing to do,” said Nadine Smith, Equality Florida executive director. “Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that it is also good for business.”

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.

Currently there are 21 states and over 300 municipalities in the United States that include sexual orientation and gender identity as part of nondiscrimination protections. More than half of America’s Fortune 500 have such policies in place. Florida does not currently have statewide non-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

“We believe that by recognizing those companies that set the standard with non-discrimination policies, others will follow suit and realize that it serves to strengthen their own reputation, as well as Florida’s national and international reputation as an attractive business climate,” added Smith.

Arko joins an impressive roster of Advisory Board members, representing statewide, national and multinational corporations: Randy Kammer, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, Beth Shimko, Pepsico, Tracy Stone, Sweetbay Supermarket, Peter Kageyama, Creative Cities Productions, Brian McNaught, Fortune 500 Diversity Trainer, Nancy Faggianelli, Carlton Fields, Ellen McLatchey, Symantec, Sebastian White, JetBlue Airways, Louis V. Buccino, citi, Trevor R. Burgess, Community Bank,
David Guzman, Wachovia/Wells Fargo and Frederic Potvin, RBC Bank.

The website focuses on a growing list of Florida businesses that identify themselves as supporters of diversity. Through a strong online presence and public education efforts, Equality Florida will continue to showcase companies with progressive policies as a way of saying, "Thank you" and as a way of encouraging other businesses to8 raise their standards as well.

For further information, please visit, or call (813) 870-8735.

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