Richmond-based Fortune 500 Companies awarded Virginia Fairness Accreditation

Contact: Kirsten Bokenkamp, [email protected]; 804-643-4816 or 202-957-6611 For immediate release: JAN. 8, 2015 RICHMOND - On Thursday, January 8, at the Virginia Fairness Reception in downtown Richmond, Equality Virginia will recognize five Richmond-based Fortune 500 companies -- Altria, Capital One, CarMax, Dominion, and Genworth -- for their commitment to making Virginia’s business climate conducive to economic success by encouraging and supporting diversity in the workplace. “We have awarded these companies because they have policies in place that clearly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees and protect them from discrimination in the workplace. These companies know that policies welcoming diversity and inclusion are not only good for business, but are the right thing to do,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. Thursday’s reception will be hosted by Capital One at its offices in downtown Richmond. Capital One has been recognized on multiple occasions for its leadership in diversity and inclusion, and has been named among the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign. “Diversity, equality, and inclusion are central to the Capital One culture, a culture that thrives because of the varying experiences, backgrounds and perspectives offered by our associates. We have strived to create an environment that reflects our customer base and the communities we serve, putting our differences to work to add value to the business,” said Lane Hopkins, managing VP, enterprise HR.  “From the programs and resources offered through our LGBT Associate Network, to a broad range of benefits and development opportunities, we are committed to fostering an environment where all our associates feel heard, valued and respected. We are very proud to be recognized by Equality Virginia.” According to a 2012 Gallup poll, nearly three percent of Virginians identify as LGBT, and more than 4,000 children are being raised in Virginia in LGBT households. “The families of today, including those of my colleagues at Genworth, reflect the great diversity that defines America. We are committed to supporting that diversity and creating an environment of inclusiveness for all of our employees,” said Marty Klein, chief financial officer of Genworth.   “It’s a commitment that also extends to our customers.  As a provider of insurance solutions that help families become more financially secure, self-reliant and prepared for the future, we are dedicated to helping all families protect those they love. This is a mission we at Genworth share with Equality Virginia, and we are proud to be part of it.” Research shows many positive links between LGBT-supportive policies or workplace climates and outcomes that will benefit employers.  For example, such policies are linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, and improved health outcomes among LGBT employees. “At Dominion, we want to attract and retain the best employees,” said Shannon Venable, vice president-Staffing & Diversity. “I think this recognition demonstrates that Dominion is committed to providing a respectful and inclusive work environment for all of its employees – which is fundamental to attracting and retaining the best.” Creating an atmosphere where LGBT employees feel valued is a priority of many businesses today.  The companies being recognized by Equality Virginia go above and beyond by creating non-discrimination policies that protect all of their employees, while at the same time fostering inclusive workplace environments. “A culture of diversity and inclusion brings out the best in our people,” said Charlie Whitaker, Sr. vice president of Human Resources and Compliance for Altria.  “Leaders who seek and value differences help everyone feel included, heard and challenged to contribute.  As we continue to sharpen our focus on diversity and inclusion at Altria, we are proud to be recognized as an inclusive company by Equality Virginia.” "At CarMax, our approach to diversity and inclusion comes down to one thing: respect. That respect is woven into the way we recruit, hire, train and do business," said Kim Ross, assistant vice president, diversity and corporate human resources at CarMax. "We welcome and value the individuality, ideas and contributions of our associates, customers and vendors." Together with Governor Terry McAuliffe and staff members from Equality Virginia, leaders and staff from each of the accredited companies plan to attend Thursday’s reception. “These companies are leading Virginia forward, and the Virginia Fairness accreditation is one way we can celebrate them for being leaders,” said Parrish.  “Recognizing these companies at this particular time in history is especially meaningful because even with marriage equality, there is currently no state law in Virginia to protect public employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  These companies are setting the standard when it comes to promoting inclusivity, strengthening Virginia’s ability to recruit and retain a talented workforce and ensuring that Virginia is a welcoming place to live, work, and visit.” ### Equality Virginia is a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians.  Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities.  More information is online at EqualityVirginia.org.  Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.