Lesbian Tycoon & Salesforce CEO Celebrated as LGBT Diversity Champions

Lesbian businesswoman Gigi Chao, Vice Chairman of Cheuk Nang, has become the very first Asian and the first lesbian to top the annual Outstanding rankings.

Outstanding, which is created in conjunction with the Financial Times, ranks the top 100 LGBT business people. This year saw Gigi break two records by making it to the number one spot. You may remember Gigi from 2012, when she was thrust into the limelight by her father. Her father, seemingly in denial that his daughter was in a civil partnership with her female partner of nine years, offered a HK$500 million reward to any man who could convince his daughter to marry him.

After increasing the reward to HK$1 billion, Gigi had to formally ask her father to stop.

Gigi’s top spot listing reads: “Gigi is the Executive Vice Chairman of the Hong Kong based real estate organisation Cheuk Nang Holdings Ltd. She is a visible and vocal advocate for taking pride in one’s LGBTQ identity and regularly speaks on LGBT inclusion in the corporate workplace and beyond. In 2012 Gigi was thrust into the spotlight when her father publically offered HK$500 million (US$64.5 million) to any man who could convince his lesbian daughter to marry him.”

“Two years later, Cecil Chao doubled his offer. Gigi has always remained true to her identity and in January 2014 she penned an open letter in the South China Morning Post entitled ‘Dear Daddy, you must accept I’m a lesbian’ that implored her father to accept her identity as well as appearing on Channel News Asia in in a ‘Conversation With’ programme where she shared her story with the world.”

“Gigi is also a founding member of Big Love Alliance, an LGBT charitable organisation in Hong Kong which advocates acceptance and equality. As well as acting as an ambassador for Aids Concern, and being an active member of St John’s Cathedral, an inclusive Anglican church in Hong Kong. She has also spoken at various Diversity & Inclusion events all of the world discussing her views on LGBT inclusion in Hong Kong.”

Outstanding has several annual lists, including a top 50 of leading ally executives, and it is here we see the Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff taking the top spot, just above the Facebook powerhouse Mark Zuckerberg. Marc has very much made a name for himself in the LGBT community, as he has stood up for gay marriage and fought against the anti-LGBT law’s such as that in North Carolina, among other things.

Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff

The Outstanding listing for Marc reads: “As Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce Marc believes that businesses are the greatest platforms for change in the world and should stand up for their stakeholders. Salesforce is the fastest growing top 10 software company, joining the Fortune 500 last year and has been recognised as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies six years in a row by Forbes Magazine.”

“In 2015, Marc took a stand on behalf of Salesforce employees in opposition of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Due in large part to Salesforce’s involvement, the law was amended to explicitly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community. In 2016, Salesforce again took a public stand against discriminatory legislation in Georgia (HB 757) and North Carolina (HB 2).”

“Georgia’s governor ultimately vetoed HB 757, and Salesforce is still working to help overturn the HB 2 law in North Carolina. Marc is also a strong supporter of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and its efforts to involve businesses in the fight for equality. On behalf of Salesforce, Marc signed the HRC’s “Equality is Our Business” pledge for businesses, and has encouraged other CEOs to do the same. Under Marc’s leadership, Salesforce also joined a business coalition in support of the Equality Act–a bill that seeks to add explicit protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity to U.S. federal law.”

Below, you can find the top ten LGBT executives, and the top 10 ally executives. To see the full lists, simply click the links above.

2016 Leading 100 LGBT Executives

  1. Gigi Chao – Executive Vice Chairman, Cheuk Nang Holdings Limited
  2. Inga Beale – CEO, Lloyds of London
  3. Alan Joyce – CEO, Qantas
  4. Martine Rothblatt – CEO, United Therapeutics Corporation
  5. Stacey Friedman – General Counsel, JP Morgan
  6. David Furnish – CEO, Rocket Entertainment Group
  7. Jonathan Mildenhall – Chief Marketing Officer, Airbnb
  8. Liz Bingham – Partner, EY
  9. Mary Portas – Executive Creative Director, Portas Agency
  10. Louis Vega – Chief of Staff, Office of the Chairman and CEO, Dow Chemical Company

2016 Leading 50 Ally Executives

  1. Raymond Braun – Chief Executive and Founder, RWB Media
  2. Simon Rodgers – Corporate Events Strategic Account Manager, Aviva
  3. Aritha Wickramasinghe – Associate, K & L Gates
  4. Pips Bunce – Global Head of GM Technology Integration Components, Credit Suisse
  5. Nick Deakin – Investment Banking Associate, Citi
  6. Mark McBride – Wright Senior Safety Engineer, KBR
  7. Tamoor Ali – Corporate Finance Manager, BP Treasury, BP
  8. Rica Paras – Technology Solution Planning Manager, Accenture
  9. Anthony Shop – Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Social Driver
  10. Catherine Hennigan – Senior Analyst, Goldman Sachs

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Lesbian Tycoon & Salesforce CEO Celebrated as LGBT Diversity Champions
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The lesbian tycoon Gigi Chao and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff have been celebrated by Outstanding as LGBT diversity champions.