On Oct. 7, the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Bar Association honored Charles Berardesco with its Out and Proud Corporate Counsel Award for his contributions to bringing equality to the legal profession. Berardesco serves as general counsel, senior vice president, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer of Constellation Energy.

The National LGBT Bar Association singled out Berardesco for both his contributions to the legal profession and for his commitment to the community. Berardesco says the award came as a surprise, but that he’s honored.

“I believe very strongly that those of us who are openly LGBT in corporate America need to be clear about that fact, and particularly those of us who have the privilege of having more prominent positions,” he says. “To be an openly gay man in senior management sends real signals to our other LGBT employees that this is a good place to work and they can feel safe coming out.”

At Constellation, in addition to his role as GC, Berardesco serves as chairman of the company’s Diversity Council, where he works with a team of Constellation’s leaders to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“We took the question of diversity and expanded it,” he says of the Diversity Council. “It’s about an environment of inclusion. We’ve created a place where you don’t have to check who you are at the door.”

Outside of Constellation, Berardesco is actively involved with a host of charitable organizations, including the Business Council of the Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans.

Berardesco represents the best of what the legal profession has to offer, D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the National LGBT Bar Association, said in a statement. “He exemplifies the type of lawyer we would like to see more of in corporate boardrooms across the country.”