Michael Chanak Jr.,
David C. Crowley Leadership Award
The Words Matter: One Voice Can Make a Difference
When Michael Chanak took a job at Procter & Gamble in the mid 1980s, the AIDS epidemic was rampant. The company had found a niche with Peridex—a prescription mouthwash used to treat thrush in people suffering from HIV/AIDS. But despite selling to the LGBT community, P&G had no language protecting these individuals within the company. Chanak, who’d become a vocal gay rights activist, wanted to change that. With years of work and help from a small but determined group of colleagues, in 1992, P&G became one of the first Fortune 500 companies to add sexual orientation to its equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement of diversity. Twenty-five years later, that legacy lives on. This is the story of one man’s efforts to hold a corporation responsible and ultimately improve the lives of LGBT workers across the country.