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Issue Date: January 2008

Eric Lutzo

Business owner, entrepreneur

Age • 37

Why he’s interesting • Lutzo has the passion to push his cause — equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace. He has numbers behind him, too. The Northeast Ohio LGBT community includes an estimated 229,000 people with a collective purchasing power of $887 million. To make those and other facts known, Lutzo and David Ream cofounded Plexus, a local LGBT chamber of commerce.

Buying power • “We are a community that can be marketed to because we have tremendous purchasing power and high discretionary income. We are consumers of high-end products. We’re extremely brand loyal.”

The corporate closet: “It’s not safe to be out. The state of Ohio still ranks at the bottom. I could be fired for being gay. If we’re all so inclusive, let’s vote toward the state changing that.”

Useful advice • Potential employees can check the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index at to see how would-be employers treat the LGBT community.

How does Cleveland stack up in that index? • Only one company scored 100 percent: KeyBank.

Everyday discrimination • If a gay man puts a picture of his partner on his desk, he might be asked, “What’s your agenda here? What’s your political aim?” Well, most likely, he just wanted to have a picture of his loved one on his desk, Lutzo says.
Lutzo’s full-time jobs • He founded and runs two companies: Forward Thought, which teaches individual and team leadership skills, and SoTre Properties, a development company that restores properties in the Tremont neighborhood.

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