Equality Institute

About Equality Institute, LGBTQ sensitivity training for front line workers

What We Do

Since 2009, Equality Institute has provided thoughtful, interactive training solutions to enhance customer service and sales to LGBTQ guests and customers. We train front line workers: sales associates, medical professionals, bank tellers, servers, teachers, administrators, higher education professionals, nursing home workers and anyone who serves in a customer service capacity. Our trainings create meaningful dialogue, build community and will send your customer satisfaction scores soaring. 

Why We Do It

In our conversations with companies, medical, educational and government administrators, we've found that LGBTQ sensitivity training is often reactive, not proactive - after a guest or group has a bad experience. We've found that LGBTQ employee resource groups (ERGs) are often tasked with training their peers, even though that's not part of their job description. And we've heard the complaint from corporations, "it's hard to train our franchisees." Equality Institute is your solution.

Chances are, your human resources policies provide equal benefits for your LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ employees. You may even have inclusive marketing efforts. But, are your front line employees prepared to deliver on the promise made by your marketing? Equality Institute's LGBTQ sensitivity training is an insurance policy against insensitive customer interactions. In an era in which reviews matter and anything can go viral, excellent customer service is more important than ever. 

How We Do It

Our approach is non-judgmental and interactive. Our modules are either in person, online, in English or Spanish. We've found a way to make these conversations less awkward and uncomfortable and more fun, ensuring your team members leave the training feeling inspired and energized. Because of our candid, practical approach, your team members will have actionable skills and outcomes that will have a profound ripple effect on your guest's experiences and company culture.


Get in touch

We know that finding the right consultant is a decision not to be taken lightly. That’s why we offer free consultations to walk you through your needs, the scope of your goals, and your budget.

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Bernadette Smith

Bernadette Smith is founder and president of Equality Institute, and award-winning author of three books about same-sex weddings, most recently The Business of Gay Weddings: A Guide for Wedding Professionals.

In 2004, Bernadette started 14 Stories, an award-winning wedding planning firm with an LGBTQ specialty. She then took this passion for equality and started the Gay Wedding Institute to share her expertise with her peers in the global wedding and travel industry. The Gay Wedding Institute is now a part of Equality Institute, ensuring that guests from all backgrounds receive outstanding service.

Bernadette has worked with LGBTQ couples in their most vulnerable, raw moments - when they've had to make decisions on dozens of vendors and expressed concerned about rejection from not only those vendors but also their loved ones. Her experiences can help any business learn how to provide the very best customer service to all LGBTQ guests. She has spoken to thousands of professionals in virtually every industry and trained people from more than 20 countries. 

Bernadette's expertise has been sought after by the Today Show, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Washington Post among many others.




Dagyi Rivera

Dagyi Rivera is Mexico City based and conducts Equality Institute trainings throughout Latin America. She has a Bachelors Degree in Management and a Masters Degree in marketing for small business with expertise in advertising, marketing, PR, event and event planning. 

As a business coach and trainer, Dagyi helps companies more effectively serve their LGBTQ clients.





Camelú Millan Vargas

Camelú Millan Vargas is Mexico City based and conducts Equality Institute trainings throughout Latin America.  She has a Communications Degree at ITESM CEM. 

Camelu has dedicated her professional life to develop and educate all the hospitality industry in Mexico and Latin America. She has trained her peers in the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and México. She has taught in several universities in Mexico such as TEC, CESSA, IBERO and Universidad Latina de Morelos.