37. Fabrice Houdart of the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors: Measuring the Cost of Homophobia

Fabrice Houdart is Executive Director of the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors as well as an Advisor to Fortune 50 companies and a former staffer at the World Bank and UN.  He is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and Georgetown University, where he lectures on LGBT inclusion within international development. He is a consultant to the Asian Development Bank and a Board Member of the Canadian Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors, as well as numerous other board roles.

We start with Fabrice’s upbringing in France and the somewhat accidental route he had into international development.  The nature of this work, including a role with the World Bank and the time at which he was engaged in it led him to not be “out” at work initially.  His travel with the World Bank took him to a series of countries where that would not have been welcome – or even legal.  Later in his career he became an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and has led affinity groups and also this aspect of human rights action around the world.

We discuss what the “cost” of homophobia is – what economic growth a country forgoes by failing to include this segment of the population and failing to attract tourists from the LGBTQ+ community. We speak then about role models and their importance, and how, once Fabrice was comfortably out at work, he realized the strain that his “fear” of revealing his authentic self had placed him under.  He recommends that we replace fear with faith, in the humanity of our work colleagues and in the right for every LGBTQ+ person to be included where they work.

Our fourth Pride series is supported by JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase has long been a supporter of equality in all forms, including for the LGBTQ+ community. Starting with the very first PRIDE business resource group in 1996, they recently strengthened their commitment by creating the Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs and a full-time, dedicated team to deliver on a global LGBTQ+ agenda.

The Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs partners closely with stakeholders across the firm to promote intersectionality and leverage its combined resources to deliver equity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ employees, clients, partners and communities, worldwide.