The Ten Most Innovative Companies and the LGBTs Who Got Them to the Top

Our annual list of innovative companies shows the many ways LGBT people are making a difference to business.



Christy Gaughan
San Francisco

Christy Gaughan, 36, wanted to work for a drug company that makes breakthroughs, not just pills. It’s expensive to be first in the world of medicine. But Genentech, where she works in marketing those advances, has a long list of discoveries.

Since 1976, Genentech has used research about our DNA to target health problems. Its drug Rituxan was the first targeted cancer medicine approved in the United States. Herceptin was first for treating a type of metastatic breast cancer. Other drugs made important leaps for asthma patients and those facing degeneration of their eyes with age.

Gaughan, the marketing science department’s group manager of infused oncology products, is also cochair of the company’s LGBT employee group, which just scored progress of its own for employee benefits. Genentech already has a perfect score with the Human Rights Campaign for its inclusive policies, and every year the company sponsors one of the loudest floats in the San Francisco Pride parade and even sets up a viewing suite on the route for employees. Their tongue-in-cheek T-shirts at these gatherings declare “Pride Is In Our Genes.”

But come January, the biotechnology company will join the small and growing list of employers that gross up.

“I went and talked to our senior vice president of HR and I was like, ‘Hey, by the way, do you realize that this exists, that I pay taxes on my partner’s benefits?’ ” says Gaughan. “So they said, ‘All right, what should we do about it?’ ”

Gaughan floated the idea of grossing up and was told, “That sounds like the right thing to do, let’s do it,” she recalls. “For us, it’s always about what is the right thing to do for our employees.”