By Tom MacDonald, Reporter, WHYY

A major conference underway in Philadelphia is designed to foster diversity in the workplace. About 4,000 people are taking part in the Out and Equal summit at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Selisse Berry, founder and CEO of Out and Equal, said it is a tough time for the LGBTQ community.

“The most vulnerable in our community are at risk of losing basic human rights, I think we all agree it’s been jarring going from a very supportive and friendly White House last year to this current volatile political climate,” Berry said. “We come together at the Out and Equal summit to remind each other that we must stay strong, and we are in this together.”

A diversified workforce is expected today, said Frank Bisignano, chairman and CEO of First Data, a credit-card processing company.

“I’m a deep believer that when we provide an environment that allows our team members to be themselves, they are more productive, eager to take on new challenges and incentivized to be loyal to our organization,” he said.

Studies show companies with a diversified workforce are more profitable, he said.

The event had more than a dozen prime sponsors, including a “who’s who” of the business world, from Apple to Wawa. The summit continues through Thursday.