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Pride Business Forum 2021 | Is LGBT+ workplace equality a new normal?

18/06/2021 | 10:00

Innovations are certainly the way out of this crisis. However, they can’t really happen without a diverse workplace. They both go hand in hand. 

In 2021, the Pride Business Forum conference looked at how this statement is put into practice. We argued that inclusion must become a part of the new normal among Czech business.

All proceeds from the conference fees went to ČSAP, an organization that helps people with HIV.





Watch the 2021 conference:

Experts from abroad highlighted the global trends on how to implement the diversity and inclusion principles. Czech business leaders elaborated on the reality here. For the first time, we have also looked at the Czech public sector and discuss why its workplaces are falling behind. 

The LGBT+ Friendly Employer 2021 and Pride Business Forum Heroes were awarded for the fourth time in a row.



10:00 | Opening with hosts of the conference Emma Smetana and Kovy

10:05 | Taking care of employees in times of crisis Keynote presentation by Tomáš Ervín Dombrovský

10:13 | Virtual panel discussion of Emma Smetana with Daniela Nechutová (Accenture), Carl Clarke (Vodafone), Gabriela Puflerová (Johnson & Johnson) and Roddy Temperley (RWS)

10:33 | Q&A with Kovy 

10:45 | Breaking the stereotypes Virtual panel discussion with Kovy about struggle for marriage equality with Antonio Nasuto (IBM) and Michal Nebeský (Citi)

11:05 | Q&A with Emma Smetana

11:15 | Is LGBT+ workplace equality becoming normal in the public sector? Keynote address by Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equal opportunities / Presentation of survey’s results by Czeslaw Walek (Pride Business Forum) 

11:25 | Virtual panel discussion of Emma Smetana with Roman Knap (Česká pošta), Denise Waddingham (British Council), Jana Leitnerová (Jihomoravský kraj) and Anna Dumont (MPSV) 

11:54 | Q&A with Kovy

12:05 | Is LGBT+ workplace equality the new normal? Keynote speech by  Prof. Lee Badgett

12:15 | Virtual panel discussion of Kovy with Prof. Lee Badgett, Tomáš Sedláček, (ČSOB), Helena Horská (Raiffeisen Bank) 

12:40 | Q&A with Emma Smetana

12:53 | Closing remarks with Czeslaw Walek, Manager of Pride Business Forum




Media Partner: HR Forum


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Pride Business Forum is realizing the project OUT (no. 881931) funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020).

Event Details

Keynote Speaker

Prof. Lee Badgett

Professor of Economics, UMass Amherst


M. V. Lee Badgett is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and former director of the School of Public Policy at UMass Amherst She is also a Williams Distinguished Scholar at UCLA’s Williams Institute, where she was a co-founder and the first research director. Prof. Badgett has been a consultant, advisor, or speaker on LGBTI issues to the World Bank, Open For Business, UNDP, USAID, IDB, ADB, U.S. State Department, OECD, global businesses, and LGBTI organizations. Her research focuses on the global cost of homophobia and transphobia, economic empowerment of LGBTI people, and LGBTI economic inequality (including wage gaps, employment discrimination, and poverty). Her latest book is The Economic Case for LGBT Equality: Why Fair and Equal Treatment Benefits Us All (Beacon Press, 2020).



Keynote Speaker

Tomáš Ervín Dombrovský

Labor Market Analyst at LMC


Dombrovský maps the main trends and developments in the interconnected worlds of education and work using research and other sources of data. He regularly gives lectures to HR staff and company management on his findings, with recommendations for improving the environment for collaboration. In addition, he is also responsible for publicly beneficial activity that goes above and beyond LMC’s everyday business; he has now worked for the company for nearly ten years. LMC develops online services for education and employment, for example,,, and other portals and mobile apps.



Keynote Speaker

Helena Dalli

EU Commissioner for Equality


Helena Dalli is the first EU Commissioner for Equality since December 2019. Her role is to deliver on the Union of Equality chapter within the Political Guidelines of President von der Leyen, by strengthening Europe’s commitment to equality and inclusion in all of its senses. 

Prior to taking her role as Commissioner, Dalli held various political roles in Malta including Member of Parliament (1996 to 2019), Minister for European Affairs and Equality (2017 to 2019), and Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties (2013-2017). She was also opposition Shadow Minister for public administration, equality, public broadcasting and national investments (1998-2013) and Junior Minister for Women's Rights in the Office of Prime Minister (1996-1998). Dalli holds a PhD in Political Sociology from the University of Nottingham, and lectured in Economic and Political Sociology, Public Policy, and Sociology of Law at the University of Malta.




Carl Clarke

People & Property Director Vodafone Czech Republic


Carl Clarke is the People & Property Director for Vodafone in the Czech Republic. He is an experienced Human Resources Director with a demonstrated history of working in the energy, power and telecommunications sectors, in the UK and internationally. He has a passion for inclusion, culture, change, resilience, wellbeing, technology and supporting people and organisations succeed. Carl holds an MSc in Occupational Psychology from Coventry University and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.




Gabriela Puflerová

Global Health Operations Lead Czech Republic & Slovakia at Johnson & Johnson


Gabriela has experience in the HR Area, specifically Recruitment for more than 15 years in total. She has experience from both sides: external recruitment advisory and internal corporate recruitment. Gabriela joined J&J in January 2017 as Talent Acquisition Partner for the CEE region. During this time she has successfully completed more than 400 recruitment processes.

In April 2020 she was appointed to the role of Global Health Services Lead for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In her role, she is responsible for optimizing the development and execution of strategies and standards in the areas of Occupational Health & Well-being.




Roddy Temperley

Chief HR Officer at RWS


Prior to RWS, Roddy was Chief HR Officer at SDL where he lead the global Human Resources function. Roddy has extensive experience in building strong and capable HR teams, developing People Strategies to support and inform the Business Strategy as well as driving recruitment and employee engagement initiatives to be recognized as an employer of choice. Working with the rest of the Senior Management Team, Roddy leads the integration programme between RWS and SDL, as well as our approach to Diversity and Inclusion and Talent Development. Prior to joining RWS and SDL, Roddy held senior HR Leadership roles in Credit Suisse, SAP, Peoplesoft, Unisys and Xerox.

Roddy holds a Master of Arts (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Dundee. He enjoys Horse Riding, Skiing and supporting Scottish Rugby




Daniela Nechutová

Inclusion & Diversity Director at Accenture Česká republika


Daniela has 15 years of experience in leading people in large multinational teams. She specializes in providing HR services and recruiting for large multinational companies. She understands the opportunity to lead the agenda of inclusion and diversity in the Czech Republic as an honor and also a great commitment and motivation. Firm support for inclusion and diversity in the company's values ​​has a great response among employees. Daniela is an active ally of the Pride community at Accenture and in her personal life as well. She loves to travel with her family and her passion is hiking.




Tomáš Sedláček

Chief Macroeconomic Strategist v ČSOB


Author of the book Economics of Good and Evil, which has been translated into 21 languages. He was an economic adviser to Czech president Václav Havel and a long-term member of the Government's National Economic Council (NERV). He currently lectures at universities and acts as ČSOB's chief macroeconomic strategist.




Helena Horská

Chief economist of Raiffeisenbank


Helena Horska is an acknowledged expert in the field of monetary policy and its practical implication. She is author of publications in the field of monetary policy. As a part of her Ph.D. study at the University of Economics in Prague and Advanced Studies Program at Kiel Institute of World Economics she published research papers on inflation targeting. She received the award “The Young Economist in 2001”.

Her public or professional presentations are dynamic and engaging. She possesses of a quick sense of humor and a flair for detecting the signals in the noise. Her strong suit is to explain complex topics in a simple concise manner.

These days Helena holds the position of chief economist of Raiffeisenbank in Prague. Besides this she actively contributes to the economic think-thank project “Alter-Eko” and gives the lectures of economics at universities. She is involved in professional discussions and writes for periodicals. All new and unknown in the field of monetary policy is exciting for her. Helena’s purpose is to stimulate the discussion and search for the simple answers to unanswered questions.




Antonio Nasuto

Chief Digital Officer and Commercial Sales Director, Central and Eastern Europe at IBM


Antonio is IBM’s LGBT+ Executive sponsor for CEE. As business leader Antonio is passionate about Sales, building Strategies, routes to Market, Ecosystems, from Marketing to Delivery, both with face to face sellers and through Digital means. Key element: it is all about people, how you empower them to drive growth and make them relevant to the big picture. Then, it’s about smart tools, lean and agile sales processes. Mentor and coach for colleagues, startups, entrepreneurs and students. Very competitive mindset and attitude, with a long time sport career background, always busy on “how to make it better for everybody”. And that also means driving fully inclusive workplaces for everyone.




Michal Nebeský

Citi Country Officer Czech Republic


Michal Nebesky was appointed as the Citi Country Officer Czech Republic in 2012. Prior to his current role, from 2008 to 2012, Michal was Chief Financial Officer and member of the Board of Directors in the Czech Railways company. 

Michal Nebesky worked for Citibank already between 1991 and 2008 on several top managerial positions; progressively more senior Banking and Risk roles. In 2002 he was appointed as Risk Management Director in the Czech Republic. In 2006 his responsibility further expanded in countries such as Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia and the Baltic states.

Michal Nebesky graduated from The University of Economics in Prague with a master’s degree in international trade and finance. He speaks fluent English and Russian and partial Spanish. 



Czeslaw Walek

Prague Pride chairman, head of Jsme fér initiative, Pride Business Forum manager


Czeslaw has graduated from the Law Faculties of Jagellonian University and Central European University. He worked in both the government sector and the non-government sector. As the Czech Deputy Minister for Human Rights, he was responsible for the creation, adoption, and implementation of domestic policies on human rights protection. Since 2011 Czeslaw chairs the Prague Pride which is the leading organization focusing on LGBT+ rights in the Czech Republic. Until 2015 Czeslaw was a managing director of the Prague Pride festival and made it the biggest Pride festival in the post-communist countries.

In 2016 as a part of the Fulbright Scholarship, Czeslaw was a Global Fellow of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates where he implemented a Global program of the organization. After coming back to Prague he started to manage Jsme fér, the marriage equality campaign, and Pride Business Forum, a platform focusing on LGBT+ equality at the workplace. In 2011 Czeslaw was awarded Alice G. Masaryk Human Rights Award for his dedication to promoting human rights.




Roman Knap

General Director of Česká pošta


A native of Nové Město na Moravě grew up in Prague. He studied business economics at the Prague University of Economics and Business and worked for renowned companies Oracle and KPMG. Since 2008, he had worked at the Czech branch of the software company SAP, which he had led since 2014. In January 2018, he also became responsible for managing the Slovak branch of the company. Since June 2018, he has been the CEO of Czech Post. In his free time, he likes to paint and box.




Denise Waddingham

Country Director at British Council


Denise Waddingham has 30 years’ international experience in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East; as an EFL teacher and manager and in senior management roles with the British Council for the past 18 years.  Denise has served for the British Council in Slovakia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Kuwait, Egypt and Tunisia and took up her current post as Country Director in the Czech Republic in September 2017.

She is passionate about education, promoting cultural relations between the UK and other countries and supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives that will improve lives and further tolerance and understanding. In 2020 she was a recipient of the Pride Business Forum Heroes Award for her work supporting LGBT+ equality in the Czech Republic.




Jana Leitnerová

Councilor for social policy and family affairs at South Moravian region


Jana Leitnerová worked for years as a marketing freelancer. In 2020, she was elected to the regional government, so it is her first year in position as a regional councilor for the field of social policy and family affairs.

Her political aim is to improve conditions for providing social services and better care for the most vulnerable among us. Her long-term goal for the next ten years is the transformation of one-half of big and anonymous social facilities to community-type living.

Jana is eager to solve problems connected with equal rights of men and women and the LGBT+ community. She participated in these fields in concrete projects like Hate free and Jsme fér.

She is a keen propagator of volunteering, which should be according to her a natural part of life in modern societies.




Anna Dumont

Director of Labour Market Integration Department at Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs


Anna Dumont is Director of the Labour Market Integration Department at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. In the past, she worked in the non-governmental sector, especially in the field of migration and human rights. She also operated in the UN office in Prague. She has long been involved in the issues of discrimination and equal rig



Conference Host

Emma Smetana

Actress, Musician, Journalist and Presenter


Emma Smetana is a Czech-French actress, musician, journalist and presenter. She studied political science and european affairs at the "Institut d’études politiques de Paris" and political science and international relations at the Freie Universitat in Berlin. She has been moderating news at TV Nova from 2012 to 2016 and she has also been part of the DVTV internet television moderating team, where in addition to Czech, she also conducted interviews in English, French or German. As a solo musician, Emma released the music album What I've Done. She played the lead role in musical drama Lucie, more than a small amount of love. She has starred in a number of films and TV series.



Conference Host

Karel Kovář

Youtuber, vlogger, moderator, dabber, writer, educator


Karel Kovář (also known as Kovy) is one of the most important representatives of the Czech YouTube scene. With more than 840,000 subscribers, he is no longer watched only by children. His videos feature societal themes, politics, financial literacy, privacy, and social networks. Forbes magazine ranked him among the 30 most influential Czechs on social networks. He has moderated the discussion show “V centru” and the benefit concert “Světlo pro světlušku”,  interviewed former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for Euronews television, and danced on the program Stardance. Together with Ivo Bystřičan, he has created a documentary investigation into the Czech teaching of modern history "Kovy řeší dějiny" for Czech television. He co-hosts the podcast Linka with Tereza Salte and is the author of the autobiographical bestseller OVŠEM and the young adult fiction iPohádka.

Date: 18/06/2021

Start time: 10:00 a.m. CEST

End time: 01:00 p.m. CEST