Michael Cox, SVP of Talent Solutions for Comcast (No. 19 on the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 and one of 19 companies on DiversityInc’s Top Companies for LGBT Employees), shares how his company is engaging in and enriching the lives of its LGBTQ employees, customers, and their allies through active inclusion practices that touch every part of the business.
At the heart of Comcast NBCUniversal’s support of the LGBTQ community is our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). At Comcast NBCUniversal, we believe that diversity inspires innovation and inclusion fuels and enables optimal performance. We are proud to foster a work environment that recognizes our differences as strengths and empowers all voices to be heard, leading to more meaningful outcomes.
As a leader in media, technology and entertainment, it’s important to us that we celebrate LGBTQ people and allies in every part of our business. In honor of Pride Month, here are just a few ways that we enrich and enable the power of our LGBTQ employees, customers and partners to give my community a stronger voice for equality and inclusion.
CONNECTING OUR EMPLOYEES
We want all of our employees to feel comfortable being their full and authentic selves at work. When that happens, our teams are more productive, ideas are better, innovation is enhanced and collaboration is stronger. We’ve implemented several initiatives across our company to celebrate our LGBTQ employees and encourage open dialogue.
Our employee resource group (ERG) representing the LGBTQ and the ally community — OUT@Comcast and OUT@NBCUniversal — engages people at all levels of the organization, empowering employees to drive exceptional business results while supporting an inclusive and collaborative culture. As an openly gay, proud executive and a member of our OUT@Comcast ERG in our global headquarters in Philadelphia, I am truly proud of the impact and reach that this ERG has at our company. OUT, along with our seven other ERG communities, focuses on commerce, community, culture and career. I believe our ERG program is just one of the many competitive advantages we have when it comes to attracting, engaging, retaining and developing top talent.
OUT also promotes LGBTQ awareness through education initiatives, such as last year’s panel discussion, titled “From the Closet to the Corner Office,” inspired by the book published by Out & Equal. The panel featured internal and external leaders — myself included — discussing personal stories of leadership and courage, and the impact of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. We also took this opportunity to educate our Talent Acquisition professionals in etiquette and interviewing skills for the Transgender community, to help ensure our workplace was truly welcoming to all members of the LGBTQ community and that the “T” was not silent in our recruiting efforts.
As part of our inclusion commitment, Comcast NBCUniversal hosts a series of broadcasts, known as Employee Enrichment Series. In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month, we hosted a nationwide, all-employee broadcast featuring dynamic discussions on entertainment industry trends in LGBTQ storytelling, character representation and workplace equality. This year’s series featured filmmakers from I’m From Driftwood, a nonprofit that works to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues through video stories. Following the event, teams around the country are hosting viewing parties to watch together.
Several Comcast NBCUniversal employees, including myself, were fortunate to be selected to share our stories in the I’m From Driftwood series. I found the experience of adding my brief story to such a powerful collection gave me a sense of pride that I had long hidden based on the messages I received from certain political and religious organizations, media and society over my lifetime. Having the support of Comcast NBCUniversal behind me gives me the strength to share my story for others and to further my commitment to ensure that LGBTQ equality continues to progress, not only in the workplace, but in society. I am also proud that Comcast NBCUniversal has been named one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign for the fifth consecutive year in 2017.
ENGAGING OUR COMMUNITIES
Each June, Comcast NBCUniversal participates in over a dozen LGBTQ Pride Parades and Festivals across the country and internationally. In 2016, more than 2,000 employees, their families and friends marched under the Comcast NBCUniversal banner in parades across nearly 20 markets — from New York City to San Francisco, and from London to Sydney and Singapore. I am proud that Comcast NBCUniversal understands that the participation in Pride celebrations is based on the LGBTQ community’s long struggle to be recognized, valued and accepted.
Comcast NBCUniversal also joins millions of Americans each October to take a stand against bullying by participating in GLAAD’s Spirit Day and “going purple” in support of LGBTQ youth. Last year, our Spirit Day presence spanned our employee base, including on-air talent across the company’s family of networks. We also hosted an information fair for LGBTQ partner organizations and distributed resiliency and anti-bullying resources to employees and their families. Not a day goes by that I am not appreciative of the volume that media can add to bring about social change and justice.
DELIGHTING OUR CUSTOMERS
Inclusion isn’t just good for our employees; it is good for our business. The combined buying power of the U.S. LGBTQ adult population is more than $900 billion, and 71 percent of LGBTQ consumers say they would stay loyal to a brand that supports the LGBT community, even if it was less convenient or more expensive.
Comcast NBCUniversal has curated an extensive library of content to create a meaningful entertainment experience. On Comcast’s Xfinity TV platforms, our LGBTQ Film & TV Collection has grown to become the industry’s largest and most diverse destination for LGBTQ storytelling. Just say “LGBTQ,” “Pride Month,” “Lesbian,” “Queer” or other phrases relevant to the LGBTQ community into your X1 remote to access over 800 titles featuring LGBTQ characters and storylines, including award-winning movies, biographical films, documentaries, TV shows and interviews.
NBCUniversal’s Beginners, Brokeback Mountain, Dallas Buyers Club, The Danish Girl, The Kids Are All Right, Milk and Pariah have brought LGBTQ characters, storylines, culture, history, human rights and pride to the forefront of the film industry. We are excited for the newest addition to our slate, 2018’s Boy Erased, a coming-of-age and coming-out drama from screenwriter/director Joel Edgerton. At NBC News, we launched NBC OUT last year, a highly-acclaimed news vertical that provides original content on LGBTQ life and culture. NBC OUT is the first LGBTQ news vertical created by a major broadcast media organization.
In 2017, Comcast NBCUniversal proudly received 18 nominations across 12 categories for the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. These nominations reflect the strength of our commitment to telling honest and authentic stories across our platforms.
I am incredibly proud of the deep commitment Comcast NBCUniversal has made to ensure my community has a voice within our company, and in the stories we share with the world. I know this commitment will only strengthen with time, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
 Witeck Communications. (2016). “America’s LGBT 2015 Buying Power Estimated at $917 Billion.”
 Credit Suisse. (2016). “LGBT: The Value of Diversity”