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Abbott Academy Director Raymond Rodriguez, a Crain’s Notable LGBTQ Executive of 2021. Photo: Tim Whalen.

Recognizing 50 Notable LGBTQ executives in banking, finance, law, health care, retail, young ventures and nonprofits

The Joffrey is pleased to announce that Raymond Rodriguez, the Abbott Academy Director of the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, has been named a Notable LGBTQ Executive of 2021 by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Rodriguez has served as Abbott Academy Director of the Joffrey Academy since 2019. A leading architect and proponent of "Joffrey for All," a five-year strategic plan that aims to expand Joffrey programming in and around the Chicago region, Rodriguez has cultivated a holistic training program that emphasizes the "lifecycle of a dancer"— from early exposure to a contract with a professional dance company. Rodriguez has also been instrumental in the Joffrey Academy’s expanded efforts in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion, establishing the BIPOC Academy committee that meets regularly to improve DEI at the Joffrey.   

This year’s Crain’s list features 50 Notable LGBTQ executives from around Chicago, accomplished in banking, finance, law, health care, retail, young ventures, and nonprofits. The list includes the well-established organizations that serve the LGBTQ community, including Howard Brown Health, AIDS Foundation Chicago, and Center on Halsted as well as newer entrants such as the Care Plan.

As noted by Crain’s, 2021 Notables have a track record of supporting LGBTQ causes. But the reckoning last year over inequality opened an opportunity for them to work on redoubled corporate initiatives in diversity and inclusion. Many are involved in broadening recruiting and employee development to grow more diverse workforces.

A number of them lead Pride resource groups at their companies and help organize participation in the Pride parade and other events. They don't hesitate to raise awareness of issues of importance to the community such as all-gender restrooms and domestic partner benefits. They make a point of mentoring LGBTQ colleagues at their companies or through professional organizations. They also reach out to students—the next generation that will continue to push for change and equality in the workplace.