Round Table: Inspiring the Italian GLBT Community

June 10, 13:30-15:00

This session reflects the emotional journey of the panelist as they came out and how they managed it. What was their “turning point” to come out. The round table provides a cross industry and different emotional stage platform for the delegates to be inspired and reflect their own emotional journeys. The Italian panelists will also comment on what the needs of the Italian GLBT are. Take home message: inspire the Italian GBLT people to be able to make this change.


Stephanie K. Blackwood

Stephanie’s pioneering work in LGBT marketing, public relations and publishing started in 1990, when she founded the first of her three LGBT-focused marketing agencies. During this time, she was also associate publisher of The Advocate, the leading LGBT news publication in the US. In 2001, Stephanie co-founded Double Platinum, a full-service marketing communications agency that was affiliated with the Publicis Groupe, a global network of nearly 1,000 marketing agencies. Double Platinum’s award-winning LGBT marketing programs supported many Fortune 500 brands and numerous LGBT national and local nonprofits. Currently, Stephanie is the director of institutional relations for GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a 20-year-old organization that works with educators, students, policy-makers and the media to make schools safer for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. At GLSEN, she is responsible for fundraising from foundations and corporations. Stephanie frequently advises LGBT community organizations on marketing, communications and development. She regularly participates in international LGBT conferences and moderated the GLBT Business Leader Forums in Zurich (2009) and Warsaw (2010).


Hon. Anna Paola Concia – Italian Deputy of the XVI Legislature

I am 47 years old and I come from the Abruzzo region. I am a teacher of physical education and a tennis coach, with a degree in motor sciences. Although my work is in the field of sport, politics has been my passion since the late 1980s. In 1994, I began working in the Chamber of Deputies as parliamentary assistant to Franca Chiaromonte, then in 1996 I was appointed as consultant at the Ministry for Equal Opportunities, under the leadership of Anna Finocchiaro. In 1998, I became consultant for sport under Giovanna Melandri [Minister of Culture] and was one of the founders of “Emily” in Italy, an association that works to promote the presence of women in public life. I have also been vice-president of D52, an association calling for a more proactive role for women in public life and in the workplace. In 2001, I returned to sports management, working for several years organizing international tennis tournaments in Rome. Then, from 2006 until my election to Parliament, I was president of the Regional Agency for Sport in the Lazio Region. In Parliament, and on the Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, my concerns are civil rights, the presence of women in institutions and in society, sport, young people, the Puglia region (where I was elected) and, more generally, how to build an economically and socially viable modern society.

Sofia Hilgevoord – President WyberNet Switzerland and
Vice President egma

Sofia E. Hilgevoord (1963) is Founding Partner / CEO of the De Rivo & Hilgevoord Group, Switzerland. The core business of the group is the development and production of advertising and promotional concepts for the industry in Switzerland. The group also has strategic alliances with partners in Asia and the USA. The Group, founded in 2004, at present includes at present 4 companies with a total of 38 employees. Previously, Sofia worked as Sales & Marketing Director Europe / Asia for the Ruckstuhl AG, natural flooring concepts. From 1980 to 1988, Sofia worked as an Executive Director for Marketing & Communications for the European Tennis Association. She also signed responsible for the organisation of various European Team Champoinships for professional players (men and women). Sofia is President of WyberNet, the Swiss Network of Lesbian Professionals and Vice-President of egma (european gay and lesbian managers’ Association). Sofia holds an MBA degree in Business Management of the technical University of Amsterdam.

Vladimir Luxuria

Vladimir Luxuria is an Italian actress, politician, TV personality, writer and activist for LGBT rights. Luxuria's artistic career started in Foggia. She moved to Rome in 1985, where she graduated in languages and literature and started her cinematographic career. In 1993, she joined the movement that advocates rights for the LGBT community and became one of the people who developed the “Muccassassina” (Killingkow) nights, a trendy weekly LGBT event. Afterwards she stepped up her political and civic activity, collaborating with various daily newspapers and radio networks. Luxuria is one of the organizers of the first Italian Gay Pride held in Rome on July 2, 1994. When she was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2006, Luxuria was the first transgender person elected to an EU country parliament. She served until 2008. In that year, she won the TV reality show entitled “L'isola dei famosi," (the equivalent of UK and US shows “Survivor”). In recent years Luxuria has published two books. Luxuria refers to herself as transgender because, despite viewing herself as a female, she does not refute her past as a male but considers the use of the feminine pronouns to be more appropriate when referring to herself.

Lin McDevitt-Pugh

Lin McDevitt-Pugh is a management consultant, project developer and manager in the public and private sector and civil society with experience in Europe, Australia, the Netherlands and the USA. From her years of experience working in the area of women’s rights, LGBT rights and environmental issues, Lin knows and understands the issues and works with organizations to move the conversation from “This is not how it should be” to “This is how it will be”. By mobilizing the resources we all have at our fingertips: the people we know and the people they know, we can move mountains. She measures her success in the ability of the organizations she works with to fulfill their promises. Lin set up her business, Netsheila, in 2009 and is an active participant in the Company Pride Network in the Netherlands. She has consulted among others with ILGA, the international women’s archives Aletta and the European Union. Her various board positions include the Love Exiles Foundations (creating a pathway for LGBT US citizens to live in the USA with their non-US partners) and the task force IQE, in which the Federation of Gay Games and GLISA participate to create a shared queer event in 2018. Lin is married with Martha and has a son, Koen. Lin McDevitt-Pugh wrote her MBA dissertation on workplace diversity networks in the Netherlands.

Chance Mitchell, Co-Founder and CEO
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Chance Mitchell is dedicated to fighting for equality for the LGBT community. Chance, along with co-founder Justin Nelson, launched the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) for the United States in November 2002. The NGLCC is the business advocate and direct link between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business owners,corporations, and government, representing the interests of more than 1.4 million LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs. Prior to launching the NGLCC, Chance provided information technology assistance and litigation management services to one of the nations top law firms. His former projects encompass some of the largest cases in the country. He has also served as an executive for a global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce company where he coordinated e-business initiatives, managed client relationships and developed strategic marketing plans. Chance holds a BBA in Finance from Texas Christian University and a Master of Science in Information and Telecommunications Systems for Business from theJohns Hopkins University.

Paolo Patané – National President Arcigay and
Co-Chair Europride Rome

Paolo Patanè, born in Catania, has been the national President of Arcigay since February 2010. He graduated with a degree in law and political science with a specialisation in economics and international relations from the University of Milan. He has worked with a number of universities in particular on topics relating to constitutional law and political science, working for study centres, large organizations and financial institutions. A keen activist, he founded the provincial committee of Arcigay in Catania in 2006 and then took on an active role in the establishment and re-establishment of the provincial committees in Palermo, Messina, Siracusa, Ragusa and Agrigento. In December 2006 he founded the Regional Coordination of Arcigay Sicily and was elected its first President. In May 2007 he participated in the National Congress of Arcigay and joined the National Secretariat as National Manager for Legal Affairs and Health Affairs. In 2008 he formalized the constitution of the National Legal Office of Arcigay and, in the same year, in his capacity as National Health Manager, represented the association at the National AIDS Council.

Claudia Woody – Managing Director for IBM Global Intellectual
Property and Technology Licensing

Claudia Woody is responsible for licensing IBM patents to companies in the Software, IT Services, Web Technology and Industrial Sectors. She also leads the licensing and joint development agreements for software and services technologies from IBM Research and other IBM sources. Claudia has been with IBM 14 years and has had multiple global roles. She has functioned as a Red Team member for high-risk and high visibility accounts including the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She received the coveted IBM Chairman’s Award for her work on the Global Y2K team. She also has two IBM patents pending. Earlier in her career, she served as the Assistant Athletics Director at two major universities. Claudia coached a USA National Team in women’s basketball, and was an assistant coach under Pat Head Summitt at The University of Tennessee. Claudia holds a J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Georgia State University, an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.S. from the University of Tennessee. She has completed Ph.D. course work in Organizational Development and is admitted to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia.