Metro Weekly

Minority Corporate Counsel Association to award local business leader Todd Sears

Sears, CEO of Out Leadership, to be honored for work on LGBT talent development


The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) will award Todd Sears with its Paula L. Ettelbrick Award. Sears is the founder and principal of Out Leadership and will be awarded for his firm’s efforts to cultivate LGBT talent and increase business opportunities for LGBT leaders.

A former investment banker and wealth manager who specialized in working with the LGBT community at Merrill Lynch, and a diversity leadership specialist at both Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse, Sears formed Out Leadership in 2011. There, he has developed several initiatives aimed at increasing exposure to LGBT professionals. Out on the Street was the first organization to cultivate LGBT talent for the financial industry, Out in Law focused on the legal industry, OutNEXT sought to develop talent among younger professionals, and Quorum sought to place LGBT people on various corporate boards. 

“Todd’s lifelong innovation and insight on inclusion has allowed for many major companies to benefit from diversity,” MCCA President and CEO Joseph West said in a statement. “I believe Todd is very much deserving of this recognition.”

Sears called it an “honor” to be recognized as a leader at this point in his career, particularly with an award named after a pioneer like Ettelbrick. He first met Ettelbrick when he was helping manage the Stonewall Community Foundation’s nonprofit endorsement.

“As someone who knew Paula and her work, being recognized for my work with an award named after Paula is very touching,” Sears said.

He also stressed the importance of Out Leadership’s various initiatives, noting that there is a great deal of research finding that full inclusion and a commitment to diversity benefits companies’ bottom line.

“LBGT inclusion and engagement benefits everyone at companies in terms of talent,” Sears said.

The MCCA Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference Opening Plenary will take place on Monday, June 29 at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel, 1000 H St. NW. For more information, visit or

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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