In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Bob Witeck, a legend in the LGBTQ marketing space. He founded the first LGBTQ marketing communications agency helping brands connect with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.
Bob grew up in the Washington D.C. area. For 10 years he was the Press Secretary to a US Senator. After his time there he became a vice president of the global marketing communications firm. Hill+Knowlton. He was very active as a volunteer in the #gay, #lesbian, #bisexual, #transgender, and #queer community. He always believed corporations were natural allies of the LGBTQ+ community and sought to bridge his passion for the LGBTQ+ community with his skills and professional life.
He and a good friend launch Witeck+Combs in 1993. Their first client was American Airlines. Witeck has always taken a full consultative approach. Early clients needed diversity and inclusion consulting going beyond just marketing and communications. At #AmericanAirlines one of his suggestions creating employee resource groups which were not common then. Witeck further assisted with policies and employee benefits to be inclusive. Companies had to remain grounded in their integrity to live through the right-wing threats of boycotts. Witeck has served numerous other brands such as #Ford and #IBM. Companies wanted to understand the business case and also how best to deal with the anti-LGBTQ backlash.
#Disney was the host of the very first employee resource Group of Groups in the mid 1990’s that became #Out&Equal.
Witeck was instrumental in taking the very unknown Coming Out Day to a national and international day on October 11th each year. They worked with several actors and public figures to help create buzz for this now commonly known event. Oct 11th was chosen because it was the date of the 1987 March on Washington. Many LGBTQ organizations were spawned at the first march and many thereafter.
Witeck helped the MTV Logo network launch. He often had to attend meetings with broadcast networks to explain the business case for airing the new channel. Their goal for the day of launch was to reach 10-million households. They surpassed that reaching 18-million which launched #RuPauls media career. Witeck wrote and recorded customer service scripts for all the broadcast networks to use when answering customer’s questions about Logo. Those scripts and recordings are now housed at the #Smithsonian as an archive record.
Witeck was also the marketing and communication agency representing actor Christopher Reeve to help him get coverage for his spinal cord injury recovery efforts.
Join me and Bob on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies, and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality-focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/