Making the Workplace Work for All: A Conversation with LGBTQI+ Activists on Strategies to Advance Worker Protections and Inclusive Growth

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Photo: USAID

Strikingly, only around one-third of countries worldwide prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace to some extent; even fewer do so on the basis of gender identity.  In short, too many LGBTQI+ persons lack explicit, unequivocal employment protections when they encounter discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics globally. Not only does this diminish individual livelihoods and personal career trajectories, it also hinders economic growth. 

On Wednesday, August 31 at 9:00 am EDT Marketlinks held a webinar exploring good global practices and innovative research on ensuring LGBTQI+ persons can bring their full selves — including their labor, dynamism, and entrepreneurialism — to workplaces free from discrimination, intimidation, harassment, stigmatization, and exclusion.



Jay Gilliam.

Jay Gilliam (He/Him)
Senior LGBTQI+ Coordinator, USAID

Opening Remarks:


Neneh Diallo

Neneh Diallo (She/Her)
Chief Diversity Officer, USAID



Yvonne Muthoni

Yvonne Muthoni (She/Her)
Kenya Country Director, Open for Business


Ramil Andag

Ramil Andag (She/Her)
SOGIESC Rights Officer, APCOM


photo of Nickoy

Nickoy Wilson (He/Him)
Policy and Advocacy Manager, JFLAG


Jay Gilliam
Senior LGBTQI+ Coordinator, USAID (He/Him)

Jay Gilliam (he/him/his) is the Senior LGBTQI+ Coordinator at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID), serving as the Agency’s lead to elevate issues concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and other people of diverse genders and sexualities. In this role, he works to meaningfully integrate LGBTQI+ people into USAID’s inclusive development programs, policies, research and training. Most recently, he was the Engagement and Communications Advisor in the Center for Education at USAID.

Previously, Jay served as the Director of the Global program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). During his time at HRC, Jay successfully organized four annual Global Innovative Advocacy Summits, created an active alumni network of 180+ advocates from over 90 countries, and trained dozens of advocates from every region of the world on LGBTQ advocacy.

He served in the Obama administration at USAID where he worked on program policy, public engagement and communications, particularly on the Agency’s LGBTQI+ and food security work. Jay also worked at the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. in Washington, DC and Peace Boat Japan in Tokyo.

Jay grew up in Arlington, Texas before leaving the Lone Star state for Amherst College in Massachusetts to get his BA in political science. He did his graduate studies on a Rotary Fellowship, earning an MA in peace studies at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan.

Neneh Diallo
Chief Diversity Officer, USAID (She/Her)

Neneh Diallo is USAID’s Chief Diversity Officer, and leads the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Office of the Administrator.

Neneh has a proven track record of championing diversity, equity, and inclusion in both the public and private sectors. She most recently served as the Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications at pocstock, a global Black-owned media platform focused on increasing representation and diversity in stock media. She developed the annual framework for the company’s U.S. campaign, which celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion through thought leadership and social media campaigns.

As Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Neneh developed the agency’s five-year diversity and inclusion plan, linking it to the Agency’s corporate strategic framework and human capital strategy. She also served as Chair of the agency’s Inclusion & Diversity Council, charged with reviewing and enhancing its diversity, equity, and inclusion training and policies, including a review of hiring practices and pay equity.

No stranger to USAID, Neneh helped build awareness about the U.S. government’s Ebola Recovery programs in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, by convening high-level symposia to explore lessons learned, and producing a series of short documentaries on the outbreak and the USAID-led response and recovery.

Yvonne Muthoni
Kenya Country Director, Open for Business (She/Her)

Yvonne Muthoni - Proud African, Queer Feminist, is the Kenyan Country Director of Open For business, an organization making the case that inclusive, diverse societies are better for cities, business and for economic growth. In her role, she spearheaded research on LGBTIQ+ policies at the Kenyan workplace and worked with different national and global stakeholders on diversity  and inclusion best practices. Yvonne works towards fortifying the respect for human dignity for the LGBTIQ+ community. Yvonne co-led the first LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion conference in Kenya and with 12 years’ experience in this field, Yvonne is integral to the LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion, which is quickly gaining traction across Africa and helps build, nurture, and sustain relationships with different stakeholders relevant to the movement. Furthermore, she is an advocate for the mental health and wellbeing of the LGBTIQ+ community and has co-authored on the Mental Health Assessment Toolkit by Professionals in Pride Kenya where she serves as a board member.

Ramil Andag
SOGIESC Rights Officer, APCOM (She/Her)

Ramil is presently the SOGIESC Rights Officer at APCOM. She has been with APCOM since May 2018. Ramil is leading the LGBTQI social and economic inclusion portfolio of APCOM, including multi country work on engaging the private sector and financial institutions for LGBTQI Inclusion. Prior to joining APCOM, Ramil has been involved with human rights, SOGIESC inclusion, and HIV work and advocacy in the Philippines for over 10 years. These involvements were with various organizations and under different capacities including research, advocacy, trainings and awareness raising.

Nickoy Wilson
Policy and Advocacy Manager, JFLAG (He/Him)

A media and communications professional by training, Nickoy Wilson is the Policy and Advocacy Manager at JFLAG, Jamaica’s foremost social justice and human rights organization advocating for the rights of LGBT Jamaicans. Nickoy is a hardworking and dedicated person, who is passionate about advocating for the LGBTQ community. This is demonstrated through his current role as he utilizes his strong leadership skills to lead many of the organization’s advocacy initiatives. This while leveraging his strong relationship building and maintenance skills to engage stakeholders on the issues affecting LGBT Jamaicans with the objective of making them more aware of the issues LGBT people face, while bolstering support for legal reform. It is his vision to see a Jamaica that is inclusive and tolerant of LGBT people like himself by the enactment of comprehensive discrimination legislation.