Read

Statistically speaking, companies who employ a diverse staff achieve more financial success, attract better job candidates, and are more likely to capture new markets than less-diverse companies (source). But—  the term diversity doesn’t just speak to a person’s skin color, ethnicity, or even their skill set. True diversity is achieved when a group of people who have a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds are given a chance to openly collaborate and voice their opinions.

During Pride month we explored the concept of businesses using the month of June as a marketing ploy to pander to a segment of their audience. As part of this particular blog post we briefly touched on the importance of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. 

But, because there is so much more to be said about corporate diversity and inclusion, we’re taking a deeper look. Today, we turn to the world’s most influential LGBTQ business leaders to get their take on business, leadership, diversity and more. 

Let’s get into it!

The 45 Best Quotes About Diversity and Inclusion from LGBTQ+ Leaders

“The world is intertwined today, much more than it was when I was coming out of school. Because of that, you really need to have a deep understanding of cultures around the world. I have learned to not just appreciate this but celebrate it. The thing that makes the world interesting is our differences, not our similarities.”

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Click to Tweet

“We have a very diverse environment and a very inclusive culture and those characteristics got us through the tough times. Diversity generated better strategy, better risk management, better debates, and better outcomes.”

Alan Joyce, CEO and Managing Director of Qantas
Click to Tweet

“Faith is believing in something that you don’t have empirical data to prove—it’s one of the greatest strengths of the human mind.”

Martine Rothblatt, CEO of United Therapeutics
Click to Tweet

“Right now, as an industry, we’re working hard on understanding bias against women and minorities that has been with us through all of history and trying to—in our tech way—debug that.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“Many conversations about diversity and inclusion do not happen in the boardroom because people are embarrassed at using unfamiliar words or afraid of saying the wrong thing — yet this is the very place we need to be talking about it. The business case speaks for itself — diverse teams are more innovative and successful in going after new markets.”

Inga Beale, Former CEO of Lloyd’s of London
Click to Tweet

“It’s really worthwhile to be open and to share who you are with people if you’re wanting to develop authentic relationships, candid conversations, creativity. All of these things are often born from an environment where people feel like they can be who they are.”

Peter Arvai, CEO and Co-Founder of Prezi
Click to Tweet

“Innovation comes out of great human ingenuity and very personal passions.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“Be mindful of the place from where you are speaking and how you want to be heard. The acoustics of what you say, not just the content, but the acoustics of what you say and from the position of what you say it really matters. Be aware that you’re being viewed through a certain lens and that lens matters. Pick your voice carefully; are you a boss, are you a subordinate, are you a lesbian, are you an activist, are you standing up for yourself, are you standing up for others. The most important thing is to understand from which platform you are speaking, and chose the one that makes the most impact. Be aware of others and their reactions to your words and your acoustics.”

David Bohnett, Founder of GeoCities
Click to Tweet

“Rosie is a mathematician, a code-cracker, not just a riveter.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“If you haven’t hired a team of people who are of color, female, and/or LGBT to actively turn over every stone, to scope out every nook and cranny, to pop out of every bush, to find every qualified underrepresented founder in this country, you’re going to miss out on a lot of money when the rest of the investment world gets it.”

Arlan Hamilton, Cofounder and CEO of Backstage Capital
Click to Tweet

“When people have trust in you and believe that you will be good at something, trust what they see.”

Sara Sperling, Human Resources Leader and Executive Coach, Partner at Oxegen Consulting LLC
Click to Tweet

“Pride is a moment in time to check progress. If companies take that approach, then Pride is a kickoff to what they are going to continue to do between now and next year. It’s almost like a new year’s eve of LGBTQ equality. What are your resolutions for the next 12 months until Pride?”

Todd Sears, Founder and CEO of Out Leadership
Click to Tweet

“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.”

Tammy Baldwin, first openly gay U.S. Senator
Click to Tweet

“Inclusivity means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.”

Claudia Brind-Woody, VP & Managing Director, IBM
Click to Tweet

“If you think you aren’t valid for whatever reason, let my existence and the way the world embraces my existence tell you that you are valid. You deserve to look, live, and walk through the world however you see fit. That’s why I find it extremely important to be so out, so black, and so myself.”

Lena Waithe, Emmy Award Winning Writer, Producer, and Actress
Click to Tweet

“We believe you can only create a great product with a diverse team. And I’m talking about the large definition of diversity. One of the reasons Apple products work really great – I hope you think they work really great – is that the people working on them are not only engineers and computer scientists, but artists and musicians. It’s this intersection of the liberal arts and humanities with technology that makes products that are magical.”

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Click to Tweet

“We all have the ability to promote a culture of acceptance and inclusion — and that is something I believe every leader has a responsibility to do. It starts with having a dialogue until we are all comfortable and no longer have the fear of saying the wrong thing.”

Inga Beale, Former CEO of Lloyd’s of London
Click to Tweet

“The more people we can attract to science and technology – men, women, everybody – the more economic opportunity we have as a nation.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“Shut up and listen. Really listen. Listen hard, ask questions, and then listen more. When you listen more you learn from others. Listening creates trust, and trust is the key factor in successful leadership.”

David Bohnett, Founder of GeoCities
Click to Tweet

“The month of pride just amplifies the visibility—and for this community, visibility is a thing. Because we can hide—we’ve even been taught to hide. And when we are visible, we enable younger people to look and see that they can succeed if they’re good at what they do.”

Claudia Brind-Woody, VP & Managing Director, IBM
Click to Tweet

“Diversity talk can get really uncomfortable and awkward for all involved. While I genuinely believe most white people in tech (and in general) have good intentions, are well-meaning, and actually don’t need to be “taught” much about the topic, there are quite a few — who seem to be the loudest — who don’t know how to talk about it at all, or who do strange things in misguided attempts to overcompensate.”

Arlan Hamilton, Cofounder and CEO of Backstage Capital
Click to Tweet

“I question everything I do, and I’m not influenced by anyone. Don’t be persuaded. Don’t be told how or what you should be doing in your life. You define it yourself.”

Ana Arriola, Partner and Product Designer at Microsoft
Click to Tweet

“You have one life to live. Choose gigs that feed your soul.”

Sara Sperling, Human Resources Leader and Executive Coach, Partner at Oxegen Consulting LLC
Click to Tweet

“What the LGBT community want is [for being LGBT] to be ordinary so that you are seen to be valued on merit. When our employees don’t have to think twice about struggling for the same benefits, recognition, or are afraid of being safe, then productivity goes up.”

Claudia Brind-Woody, VP & Managing Director, IBM
Click to Tweet

“I believe that no one should ever have to choose between a career we love and living our lives with authenticity and integrity.”

Selisse Berry, Founder of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Click to Tweet

“The things that make us different, those are our superpowers.”

Lena Waithe, Emmy Award Winning Writer, Producer, Actress
Click to Tweet

“In order to lead in a diverse and inclusive environment, you have to allow that you may not personally be able to understand something someone else does. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. For example, somebody may worship something else as you. You might not be able to understand why they do that. But you have to allow that the person not only has the right to do that, but they likely have a set of reasons and life experiences that have led them to that.”

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Click to Tweet

“We know that diversity can sometimes be more uncomfortable because things are less familiar – but it gets the best results.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“We need role models, I need to be a role model, to encourage others because I saw the power it gave me at work and I felt that I was much more productive… It’s still important to be that role model to encourage others to be yourself at work because I see what it does and how it can inhibit you and affect your enjoyment and your feeling of inclusion or exclusion at work.”

Inga Beale, Former CEO of Lloyd’s of London
Click to Tweet

“As you identify where you want to make your mark, what social justice cause matters the most to you, the best way to make a difference is to become an expert in all facets of that field. The way to become that expert is learning and listening to everyone who has an interest in the process and outcome.”

David Bohnett, Founder of GeoCities
Click to Tweet

“My big idea is that investing money, time, resources, access, belief—all of that—into black people, Latinx people, all people of color, and women in the US is not something that should be looked at as doing us a favor. It is doing you a favor if you are a white male, because we are the future.”

Arlan Hamilton, Cofounder and CEO of Backstage Capital
Click to Tweet

“Embrace your fear, have ferocious tenacity, and have unwavering grit. If you can master these three things, there’s nothing that will scare you, nothing that you can actually not tackle in this world.”

Ana Arriola, Partner and Product Designer at Microsoft
Click to Tweet

“There is still the case of the double glass ceiling. Yes, women in business are still under-represented. They are like visible minorities. If you feel you get discrimination as a woman in the workplace, gay women may hesitate more in coming out as it’s almost like putting up your hand again to be discriminated again for a second time.”

Claudia Brind-Woody, VP & Managing Director, IBM
Click to Tweet

“There are hundreds of historic and current examples of women and minorities doing groundbreaking work in technology, but so many of these stories are not well known, and in some cases, the stories have been all but lost.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“The future of philanthropy is asking those we’re closest to and that we come in contact the most, to join you in getting involved in the passions you both share in common. One person can indeed change the world, and for many of those people, they simply need to be asked and given a place to start.”

David Bohnett, Founder of GeoCities
Click to Tweet

“Whether you’re negotiating a deal, whether you’re serving a client, whether you’re leading an internal team, trust is absolutely key.  If I’m not authentic, if I am deflecting, ‘How was your weekend,’ type questions or changing pronouns, then I can’t lead. I can’t lead because I don’t develop trust. And it’s a two-way street. When I’m authentic I clear the way for others to be authentic with me.”

Claudia Brind-Woody, VP & Managing Director, IBM
Click to Tweet

“To be yourself is truly a revolutionary act, and I think more and more people should try it, because it’s gotten me a pretty cool life.”

Lena Waithe, Emmy Award Winning Writer, Producer, Actress
Click to Tweet

“Take everything you know. Take your whole selves. Be inclusive. Be open. Make history in the infinite ways that your heart takes you.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“I do think that treating everyone equally no matter where they come from, no matter who they are and what role they have, is a big key, because you never know who you’re talking to, really. You never know where they’ve been. You never know where they’re going. So, it just makes a lot of good sense to treat everyone the same and treat them well.”

Arlan Hamilton, Cofounder and CEO of Backstage Capital
Click to Tweet

“The only way you really see change is by helping to create it.”

Lena Waithe, Emmy Award Winning Writer, Producer, & Actress
Click to Tweet

“Talent is everywhere. Not all talent has access.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“Believe us. Believe us when we say, ‘I understand.’ Believe us when we say, ‘I know how to do that.’ Believe us when we say, ‘Now is not a good time to talk to me.’ Believe us when we say, ‘You hurt my feelings,’ or ‘You’ve said something inappropriate,’ or ‘You’re offending me.’ Believe us when we say, ‘I have a boyfriend. I have a husband. I have a girlfriend. I have a wife.’ Believe us when we say, ‘No,’ and believe us when we say, ‘Yes.’”

Arlan Hamilton, Cofounder and CEO of Backstage Capital
Click to Tweet

“You can talk all day long, but if you don’t do something, it’s a waste.”

Lena Waithe, Emmy Award Winning Writer, Producer, Actress
Click to Tweet

“Find astonishing people and hang out with them.”

Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States
Click to Tweet

“Being LGBT+ is not bad. It’s who we are, it’s ordinary. I use the word “ordinary” very intentionally. Enabling those everyday conversations is very powerful. A coworker might ask me, ‘Where’d you go on holiday?’ If I naturally respond, “My wife and I went horseback riding,” then the conversation generally turns to horseback riding, not to the fact that I have a wife. It’s very, very powerful to create an environment where people can be ordinary.” 

Claudia Brind-Woody, VP & Managing Director, IBM
Click to Tweet

Final Thoughts

As we wrap up this blog post, we’d like to leave you with one last quote— this time, from one of our own blog posts: 

“As businesses work to be more inclusive in both their workplace policies and their public-facing marketing efforts, it’s important to remember that even though all support is important— the most meaningful support doesn’t come in the form of a rainbow logo, proudly displayed for one month of the year.”

Instead, we ask the individuals and organizations reading this piece to be intentional in their efforts to prioritize diversity and inclusivity initiatives within their own businesses. Be a vocal advocate, educate yourself on the value of a diverse team, and allow those around you to be themselves. 

To learn more about ZoomInfo and how we can help scale your business growth, contact our sales team today. We have the marketing and sales intelligence you need to achieve your most important goals. 

Learn about sales intelligence

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is the Director of Marketing at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

Subscribe to the ZoomInfo blog.

B2B marketing, growth, sales and more.


Related Content