People in Science

Elsevier SVP paves the way for future LGBT leaders

Dr. Michiel Kolman once again listed in Financial Times top LGBT executives ranking

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Michiel Kolman, PhD Workplace issues that are the most worth fighting for and require the biggest effort don’t always get the visibility they deserve. Diversity and inclusion, and workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, are no exception – that is, until major media start paying attention.

For the second year in a row, the Financial Times has included Elsevier’s Dr. Michiel Kolman in its “Top 100 OUTstanding & FT Leading LGBT Executives List” – a ranking of highly successful Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) business leaders initiated by UK-based OUTstanding, a nonprofit networking group that campaigns for LGBT rights in the workplace.

“Dr. Kolman is a true role model, proving that you can be openly LGBT in business and be a huge success,” said OUTstanding CEO and founder Suki Sandhu. “I’m certain he will provide inspiration to anyone who fears that they may have to be closeted at work, and waste valuable effort muting their authentic selves. He deserves credit for the leadership they show in welcoming people of all backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities.”  

Download a PDF of the Financial Times Top 100 #LGBT Executives.As the Senior Vice President Global Academic Relations, Dr. Kolman runs a global team responsible for developing Elsevier’s relationships with academic and government stakeholders. And for over a decade he’s been putting his heart and soul into creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace at Elsevier and beyond. In Dr. Kolman’s words:

I’m indeed very committed to contributing to a more LGBT-friendly workplace, first of all because I believe in this great cause but also because I feel I owe it to my company. Ever since I started working at Elsevier, I’ve encountered nothing but support, both in my own career and in promoting diversity. I feel privileged that I’m in a position to create an environment in which everyone feels accepted, welcome and valued irrespective of their sexual orientation.

And the best thing is that I don’t have to do this all by myself. I feel greatly supported by colleagues and by broader initiatives such as Elsevier's fundraising activities for the Amnesty/COC Pride Fund, supporting LGBT activists around the world. The Financial Times ranking is an acknowledgement of the fact that I’m apparently doing things well, and I feel flattered that I’m in it. What really counts though is that it draws attention to a cause worth fighting for. And eventually we’ll get where we want to be, no matter how long I have to keep doing this. 

Out and proud company

Dr. Kolman has been involved in most if not all Elsevier-driven LGBT and gender diversity initiatives:

  • In March 14 2012, he led a group of Elsevier employees in launching a network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees called Elsevier Pride Netherlands. The network organizes educational events about creating and sustaining a positive environment for LGBT employees, fundraising activities for local LGBT initiatives like HIV/AIDS outreach, and a presence at the annual Amsterdam Pride event.
  • In June 2014, Reed Elsevier signed the Declaration of Amsterdam, a call to action for employers, unions and governments to implement concrete changes to ensure progress on LGBT matters.  It was created by Workplace Pride, an international, nonprofit foundation based in Amsterdam that strives for greater acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in the workplace and in society.

Related story

Out and proud hero” attributes success to LGBT-friendly workplace” (Elsevier Connect)

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Harald BoersmaHarald Boersma (@hboersma) is Director of Global Corporate Relations at Elsevier. He is based in Amsterdam.

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