Johnson & Johnson Wins 2022 NGLCC LGBT Sip & Pitch: BRG Special Edition

By Sarah Jester

On Tuesday, December 6, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) members, corporate partners, and stakeholders convened on Zoom for the 2022 NGLCC LGBT Sip & Pitch: BRG Special Edition program! This annual event serves as a valuable chance for NGLCC partners to convey how their employee and business resource groups (ERGs/BRGs) provide both internal and external support and opportunities for diverse communities. Following a competitive application process, American Family Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, and American Express were selected to pitch at the program, with Dell Technologies receiving an honorable mention.

In BRG Sip & Pitch tradition, the event was co-hosted by 2021’s winner, EY! Chris Crespo (she/they), Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusiveness at EY, served as the program’s moderator, and welcomed judges Alexis Hedgeland (she/her), Global Vaccines NGO Account Manager at Merck, Sabrina Kent (she/her), Executive Vice President of Programs & External Affairs at NGLCC, and Greg Petolick (he/him), Managing Director at EY.

American Family Insurance kicked off the pitches with a dynamic presentation on their official LGBTQA Business Resource Group. Presenters Anisha Jackson (she/her), Manager of Supplier Diversity, and Nick Baillies (he/him), Co-Lead of AmFam’s LGBTQ+ Allies BRG, highlighted their 4C framework around which ERG and BRG missions and programming are based, merging culture, career, community, and commerce to best serve diverse employees. They also discussed the impact American Family Insurance’s supplier diversity program has made on the global supply chain, and how the company has continued to work to expand access to opportunities for LGBTQ+ suppliers around the world.

After answering questions from the judges and providing additional insights on their programming, American Family Insurance passed the mic to Johnson & Johnson for the second pitch of the afternoon. Attendees heard from Bill Gunn (he/him), VP Chief Procurement Officer, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and Open&Out ERG Co-Chair, and Jim Davock (he/him), Product Director of Rheumatology Marketing and Janssen & ERG Strategic Support Leader on the company’s Open&Out initiative, which stretches back several decades. Gunn and Davock discussed how Open&Out supports the Johnson & Johnson DEI initiatives by executing a strategy of LGBTQ+ equity through global and local events, fostering LGBTQ+ talent internally, maximizing J&J’s partnership with NGLCC, and by addressing health inequities for LGBTQ+ people. The pitch concluded with a look ahead at the next several years, in which Johnson & Johnson and its Open&Out ERG intend to continue to advance health equity for LGBTQ+ patients, support LGBTQ-owned businesses, and drive diverse employee engagement.

American Express closed out the pitches for the day with remarks from Bob Chapski (he/him), Director of Global Supply Management, Member of Supplier Diversity Task Force, and Co-Lead of the PRIDE+ Virtual Chapter, and R.J. Ancona (he/him), Vice President of B2B Product, Partner, & Client Management, Global Merchant & Network Services, and Executive Sponsor fo the PRIDE+ Virtual Chapter. Chapski and Ancona discussed how Amex has expanded its LGBTBE spend and LGBTQ+ chamber partnerships in 2022, as well as the LGBTQ+ suppliers they have directly engaged with over the last several years. Amex looks forward to expanding its affiliate partnerships in 2023, as well as continuing to host PRIDE+ facilitated events to promote LGBTQ+ education and celebrations.

As the judges deliberated, Chris Crespo moderated a special conversation with Richard Branston (he/him), Vice President and Managing Director, Finance Sector Canada at this year’s honorable mention company, Dell Technologies. As a longtime member of NGLCC, Branston provided valuable insights on Dell’s history of thinking globally and acting locally, incorporating a global focus into their support of local LGBTQ+ businesses and individuals.

And drumroll, please…the judges announced that Johnson & Johnson would take home the gold for the 2022 NGLCC LGBT Sip & Pitch: BRG Special Edition program! Each judge was thoroughly impressed with the Open&Out initiative and J&J’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ and allied business community, both internally and externally. Bill Gunn (he/him), who became involved with Open&Out in 2018, shared that the initiative truly helped him to champion and advance the LGBTQ+ community inside and outside the company.

“By being an openly out gay male in senior leadership, people can see someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community authentically live their life and be a senior leader,” he shared.

Gunn told NGLCC that he looks forward to continuing to shape the Open&Out program in 2023, as well as continuing to positively impact the LGBTQ+ community around the globe, expanding Johnson & Johnson’s Talent Development Program, and expanding Open&Out Labs to ensure that LGBTQ+ people have equal access to healthcare.

At the NGLCC LGBT Sip & Pitch event, Gunn enjoyed sharing Open&Out’s work with other stakeholders committed to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and equality.

“And, at the same time, learning from all the great work of the other participants,” he continued. “My main takeaway is that the more we share among our BRGs, the stronger our impact is to the LGBTQ+ community.”


Click here to learn more about the Johnson & Johnson Open&Out ERG.

View the full program here. Stay tuned for info on future BRG programming in 2023 at!


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