Goodridge is concerned that making it onto lists like the DiversityInc 50 and signing letters, while steps in the right direction, may allow companies to stop short of being truly effective in pushing for societal changes.
"A CEO's most important role is to set the tone for a company and make sure employees are safe and customers are happy and earnings are up," said Goodridge. "This shows a CEO who is standing up and standing out around corporate values."
But she is pushing for corporate responsibilities related to these issues to evolve in the direction of more concrete reporting and actions. Goodridge's investing firm has just filed a resolution for the annual meeting of FedEx that would require FedEx to produce a report by 2017 on how anti-LGBT laws state to state would impact its business and workforce. NorthStar is a FedEx shareholder, and Goodridge said the logistics company has a good track record on these issues, but the current environment — especially in FedEx's home region of the southern U.S. — requires the company to now go further than it has gone before.
"No one has asked these companies to report on the actual impact this legislation could have on their LGBT employees in-state," Goodridge said. "There will be five more years of this, more and more states," she said.
Goodridge said she believed the FedEx shareholder resolution was the first of its kind. "We just made it up. We needed to get at it; it's a critical issue right now. And it's not a political thing; it's about the lives of employees."
A FedEx spokesman said the company could not provide any comment on the just-filed resolution and referred to a statement in the company's 2015 annual report: "We are committed to providing a workplace where our employees and contractors feel respected, satisfied and appreciated."
— By Eric Rosenbaum and Sonam Sheth, CNBC.com
For complete coverage of the DiversityInc 50, click here.