Helen Kennedy

Egale Canada

Kennedy has dedicated her life’s work to improving the lives of LGBTQI2S people in Canada and around the world. In 2007, with 22 years of experience in politics, Kennedy became the Executive Director at Egale Canada. Under Kennedy’s leadership, Egale has made significant contributions towards equality through research initiatives which reveal the current state of inclusion, education programs to shift the culture of inclusion, and legal advocacy. More recently under Kennedy’s guidance, Egale has filled a much needed gap by establishing Canada’s first and only transitional home for LGBTQI2S homeless youth.

In addition to her work at Egale, Kennedy was a founding member of Canadians for Equal Marriage, which ultimately resulted in Canada being the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. She has delivered training to Immigration Refugee Adjudicators and police services across Canada and around the globe.  At the invitation of the US Department of Defence, Kennedy consulted with senior Pentagon officials in Washington on the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  She was invited to consult with the Pope and Senior Vatican officials regarding decriminalization of LGBTI people globally.  She also played a large role internationally as the former Co-Secretary General of ILGA, a worldwide federation of 1100 member organisations campaigning for LGBTI rights.

Kennedy is the recent recipient of The Lifetime Achievement Award at Start Proud’s 2018 Leaders To Be Proud Of Awards.

Panelist | Equality Through Diplomacy

Ambassador James (Wally) Brewster

Ambassador James (Wally) Brewster is an internationally recognized diplomat and business leader. The Ambassador was appointed by President Barack Obama as the United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic 2013-2017. His appointment was historical, as he was the first openly gay Ambassador to be appointed in the Western Hemisphere alongside his husband, Bob Satawake. As an expert on Latin America and the Caribbean business and political community, he moved trade forward between the U.S. and other countries in the Western Hemisphere. Brewster has been credited for advancing the rights of marginalized people around the globe, specifically the stateless population of Haitian decent in the Dominican Republic, LGBTQ individuals and victims of human trafficking. He has also worked to increase awareness of gender-based violence. His expertise in increasing trade, fighting corruption, drug interdiction, and advancing public health has been recognized by numerous awards and honors. Brewster currently serves as a principal at his firm, Insignias Global.

Ambassador Miguel H. Diaz

Ambassador Miguel H. Diaz served under President Barack Obama as the 9th U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Diaz regularly contributes to efforts that bridge faith and public life. He has been a consultant to CNN, CNN en Español, Al Jazeera America, The Charlie Rose Show, BBC News and Fox News. He has conducted interviews that have appeared in a wide selection of national and international newspapers that includes the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and The Miami Herald.

Ambassador Michael Guest

Ambassador Michael Guest served as America’s first openly gay, Senate-confirmed Ambassador to Romania 2001-2004. His 26-year diplomatic career focused on European policy, with emphasis on using rule of law, individual and collective rights, and anti-corruption measures to anchor Europe’s new democracies. In December 2007, he retired after having sought, without success, to end the State Department’s discriminatory treatment of the partners of gay and lesbian Foreign Service Officers in foreign postings. He successfully changed these policies as part of President-elect Obama’s Transition Team and subsequently was recalled to service in 2010 as U.S. Head of the Delegation to the Human Rights Review Conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ambassador Guest’s numerous awards include a Leadership Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the State Department’s Christian A. Herter Award, given to a Senior Foreign Service Officer in recognition of intellectual courage, initiative, and integrity in the context of constructive dissent. He currently lives in Sonoma County, California, with his husband, Alexander Nevarez, and serves as Senior Advisor to the Council for Global Equality.


Brian Curtis

NBC5 News

Brian Curtis is a journalist with 25 years of experience in local television news. He co-anchors NBC 5 News at 6 p.m. & 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Brian’s path to DFW started at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri. He then passed through TV stations in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Birmingham and Kansas City. Brian joined NBC 5 as a general assignment reporter in 2003 and worked his way up to the anchor desk.  Brian was one of the panelists for the 2014 Texas gubernatorial debates. He has also covered the Olympics in Pyeongchang, Rio, London, Beijing, Torino, and Athens, as well as the Super Bowl and the World Series. Brian is a multiple-time Lone Star Emmy Award winner, and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters has honored him several times as the best news anchor in Texas.


Bob Satawake

Bob Satawake is an internationally recognized diplomat, who served as a U.S. Diplomat in the Dominican Republic during the Obama administration. He has been a part of various delegations to promote diversity, inclusion, human rights and democracy, including delegations to Georgia, Serbia, Colombia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Ukraine. He served as an advisor to the National Democratic Institute (NDI), acting as the Chairman of the Equal Voices Advisory Council focused on minority and LGBTI inclusion in developing democracies throughout the world. His recently released book, “Breaking Protocol: Forging A Path Beyond Diplomacy,” debuted at number one on the Amazon Best Seller New Releases list. Satawake incorporates a diverse background with extensive experience and currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Diversity for Insignias Global, an international consulting firm specializing in personal and political branding, crisis communication and international commerce. 


Panel 1: The Dallas Quest for Equality

Panel 3: The Push for Corporate Inclusion