Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Ways the LGBT Business Builder can Help Grow Your Small Business

By Andy DiAntonioDigital Media Manager
National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

The LGBT Business Builder, the historic new partnership between NGLCC and the U.S. Small Business Administration, is a powerful tool to strengthen the LGBT Business Community at both the local and national level.

At the signing event at NGLCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet noted that the LGBT Business Builder is " about ensuring that entrepreneurs who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender have the support they need to excel. I'm here because we cannot separate the fight for civil rights from the fight for market rights and economic empowerment. " Justin Nelson, president and co-founder, NGLCC remarked, “At its heart, America is a country that builds things, especially businesses. …This program will ensure that [LGBT citizens] understand the value of becoming an LGBT-certified business and all the SBA resources that are available to them.” 

"At its heart, America is a country that builds things, especially businesses"

In keeping with NGLCC’s mission, the LGBT Business Builder is intended to both further the LGBT movement and economically empower individual LGBT entrepreneurs. In regards to that goal Sam McClure, Senior Vice President of Affiliate Relations & External Affairs, had this to say, “The information and resources from SBA District Offices are a wonderful complement to the LGBTBE Certification and membership in Local Affiliate Chambers. This triad of resources will support the growth of every certified LGBTBE and reinforce the strong connectivity of the LGBT Business Community." To hear  and see more please click here for a brief video.

Here are 5 ways the LGBT Business Builder can help grow your small business.

1). Information about LGBT business Certification:
Members of Team NGLCC will be on hand at LGBT Business Builder events to help potential entrepreneurs certify as LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBE®). While the certification process isn’t hard, having a trained member of Team NGLCC available makes the process that much easier. By becoming a certified LGBTBE, businesses are able to build relationships with America's leading corporations, generate prospective business and clients, and collectively team with each other for contracting opportunities. As corporate America becomes more inclusive and further diversifies its supply chain, certification offers the opportunity for LGBT-owned businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors and access strategic growth opportunities. 

2). Learn to Leverage your LGBTBE Certification:
Let’s face it, the goal of LGBTBE Certification is to grow your business! And that’s where the LGBT Business Builder comes in. These programs are intended to help entrepreneurs leverage their certification to secure lucrative procurement contracts. The LGBT Business Builder provides a forum for business opportunities.

3). Connecting you to SBA District Offices:
The U.S. Small Business Administration isn’t just located in Washington, D.C. Over 70 district offices exist across the nation, from Alaska to Florida and everywhere in between. Each state has at least one district office, and some states like California and Texas have half-a-dozen or more. What does this mean for LGBT small business owners? It means convenient access to a dedicated team that wants to work for you. SBA district office staff knows the local economic and regulatory landscape and can help you grow your business.

4). Access to Capital:
Part of SBA’s mission is to provide access to capital for small businesses.  SBA offers a variety of loan programs for specific purposes, everything from loans for equipment modernization to short-term seasonal financing. Take some time to study the loan programs and see if you qualify to participate at https://www.sba.gov/loanprograms.

5). Participation in Small Business Development Centers:

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States.  These centers offer small business owners a variety of services, from free business consulting to low-cost business training. SBDCs help entrepreneurs realize the dream of business ownership and help existing businesses remain competitive in a complex, ever-changing global marketplace. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and funded in part through a partnership with SBA.

For original article, please click here.

Posted by Sean Franklin,
Senior Associate, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Director of Client Services, L7zGroup

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at Sean@NGLCCNY.org.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

We Can Work It, Out

By Danny Lopez, 
Her Majesty’s Consul General & Director General, 
UK Trade & Investment USA

This weekend, for the third year running, I’m proud to be a part of the only foreign government organization participating in NYC Pride. My staff at the British Consulate General and Ambassador Matthew Rycroft’s team at the UK Mission to the United Nations will join some two million people on Sunday’s march, celebrating how far we’ve come in the fight for LGBT rights while remaining conscious of how much further we have to go. This year, our Embassy Network is marching in Pride in eight cities across the US; Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott led the British Embassy’s efforts in Capital Pride just a couple of weeks ago. And I’m pleased to say, in my dual capacity as Her Majesty’s Consul General and the Director General for UK Trade & Investment USA, that our LGBT-friendly policies in the UK are backed up by a business community that is embracing diversity like never before.

The UK has been named the most progressive country in Europe for LGBT rights five years in a row, and this year the International Lesbian and Gay Association’s Rainbow Map scored us at 86%, a 4% increase on last year. Our success – which of course is still a work in progress – can be attributed to many factors: political, cultural and commercial. I’m delighted to say that business, which has perhaps historically lagged, has recently been making giant leaps forward. This year saw the publication of the first-ever Out at Work & Telegraph Top 50 LGBT Executives in Business list, launched in the House of Commons. Antonio Simoes, CEO of HSBC UK, was at number one, and the list also featured top executives from tech companies, the media, banks, universities, local government, fashion, telecommunications, and the armed forces. A list of the UK’s most LGBT-friendly employers included healthcare trusts, government departments, banks, charities, energy companies, accountancy firms, and all three branches of the armed forces. The financial industry’s “Out on the Street” initiative stresses the importance of diversity as good business practice. The inaugural LGBT Leaders conference in February, organized by and aimed at students, brought together forty major LGBT figures and allies to demonstrate that business leaders and politicians need never again lead closeted lives. As Lord Browne, the former CEO of BP, says in his fascinating study, The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good Business, leadership must come from the top, so it’s particularly pleasing to see so many executives stepping out and stepping up.

There are a million reasons why diversity in the workplace is an unimpeachable good, even aside from the obvious ethical ones. Two recent books – the former congressman Barney Frank’s memoir, Frank, and Lord Browne’s The Glass Closet – have demonstrated brilliantly the success and reach of LGBT people before and after coming out in the workplace. But despite the professional successes Frank had after coming out in 1987, and Lord Browne’s continued prominence since coming out and leaving BP in 2007, both conclude that the greatest benefit of all is psychological. Leading an open life is usually congruent with a happy life. And happy workers are better workers. They’re more productive, better motivated.

We’ve had laws in place in the UK for over a decade to ensure that LGBT workers can be open in the workplace without fear of reprisal or discrimination. This was an essential first step. Rights, of course, must always be supported by law – and I’m proud that the UK has done so much to support our LGBT citizens. Prime Minister David Cameron led the charge on introducing the same-sex marriage laws, which came into effect last year, and has often spoken of how LGBT culture can “enrich our society.” Since the passage of the same-sex marriage laws, my Foreign & Commonwealth Office colleagues have used new powers to perform same-sex marriages in diplomatic posts around the world. Last December it became possible to convert a civil partnership into marriage and to change one’s legal gender without dissolving an existing marriage. Our government produced the world’s first transgender equality plan, which aims to tackle hate crime and help businesses and public services to better serve our transgender citizens. We also allocated £2 million to prevent and eradicate homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools. This weekend, the Cabinet Office in London will be flying Gilbert Baker’s famous rainbow flag to celebrate Pride in our nation’s capital.

But the figures aren’t good enough. According to The Glass Closet, one in three UK employees remain closeted at work. In the US, it’s 41%. Staying closeted is as much a right as anything else, of course, but other statistics bear out the fact that many feel uncomfortable coming out for fear of being held back professionally.

Still, in both our great nations, the work we’re doing to improve equality for all our citizens – both politically and in our business cultures – is clearly making an impact. You will certainly see it in the faces of my colleagues and friends in the march on Sunday. We just need to recognise how much further we have to go. My hope for next year, at least, is that we won’t be the only foreign government at NYC Pride.

We’d love to welcome members of the NGLCC-NY to join the British Consulate General and the UK Mission to the United Nations for Sunday’s march.

E-mail us at BritishConsulateNY@fco.gov.uk for information on how to participate (our line-up starts at 12pm).

To learn more about the author, Danny Lopez, please click here. 

Posted by Sean Franklin,
Senior Associate, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Director of Client Services, L7zGroup

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at Sean@NGLCCNY.org.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Message from NGLCCNY's New Director, Jonathan Lovitz

Dear NGLCCNY Members & Supporters,

It is with tremendous excitement that I send you this introductory note as your new NGLCCNY Director.   I look forward to shaking hands with each one of you at our upcoming NGLCCNY June M3 event sponsored by MassMutual Financial Group New Jersey-New York and hosted at Pranna, on Wednesday, June 17th.  That evening, I’ll be sharing our vision for the future of NGLCCNY and how we will be redoubling our efforts and programming offerings to ensure your business succeeds like never before.

The reputation of this Chamber is one of which you should be extremely proud. For nearly a decade, NGLCCNY has provided its members with transformational networking and educational opportunities that increase the financial, intellectual, and social capital of the LGBT business community in NYC.  This organization has become one of the preeminent networking groups in the region, fostering a climate of growth and success.  

As the LGBT community grows stronger with social victories every day, it’s imperative that we continue innovating how we create opportunities to continue affecting change by being successful in business.  Through more high-impact programming, we will bring our certified LGBTBE's face-to-face with the key decision makers in the supplier diversity pipeline.  After several inspiring days of planning and strategizing with the NGLCC team in Washington, D.C. I am eager to share our exciting plans for the future that will provide a laser-sharp focus on your business’ growth.   

I’m honored to share this message of support from NGLCC’s co-founder & President, Justin Nelson: 

"Jonathan has been a longtime supporter of the NGLCC and has become a great leader in the LGBT business advocacy arena. We’re lucky to have him join Team NGLCC in a dual role leading the NGLCCNY as well as supporting our national efforts in advocacy and external relations. He will work tirelessly to leverage the momentum of our national business movement to increase the number of certified suppliers in the New York region, connect them to new opportunities to help their businesses grow, and lead policy initiatives that will continue to solidify New York as the center of business led by our network of exceptional LGBT entrepreneurs."

In addition to this week’s M3, we have several other exciting events to connect with your fellow LGBT business leaders in the NYC area:
  • The LGBT PRIDE event at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, on Thursday, June 18th
You can register for all of these events via our website at: www.NGLCCNY.org.

I cannot wait to begin putting my years of experience in LGBT business advocacy and community affairs to work for YOU in tandem with the exemplary leadership of our NGLCCNY Executive Committee.  

Proudly Yours,
Jonathan D. Lovitz

Director, NGLCCNY

M 954.695.5896 W www.nglccny.org E jlovitz@nglccny.org

Posted by Sean Franklin,
Senior Associate, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Director of Client Services, L7zGroup

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at Sean@NGLCCNY.org.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Texas Couple, George Carrancho and Sean Franklin, say “I Do” on Marriott #LoveTravels Parade Float

(L-R) Sean Franklin and George Carrancho
Photo Credit Jose Savinon

Marriott International’s #LoveTravels Social Movement is Full of PRIDE with Pop-Up Wedding in Washington, D.C. Officiated by TV Personality Ross Mathews 

Bethesda, Maryland — June 9, 2015 — Marriott International is continuing its #LoveTravels campaign, sharing inspiring stories of notable and every day travelers. #LoveTravels not only encourages travelers to explore their personal passions, but celebrates their unique stories. Marriott, the official sponsor of the Capital Pride Parade, will bring #LoveTravels to life with TV personality Ross Mathews, who will officiate a very special marriage ceremony with George Carrancho and Sean Franklin, a couple of nearly ten years, who met in their home state of Texas and now reside in New York.

Capital Pride welcomes thousands of visitors each year in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and allies,” said Stacey Milne, VP Portfolio Marketing Strategy + Planning from Marriott International. “With our dedication to Pride and this year’s amazing parade, we can’t think of a better way to express how #LoveTravels than through the wedding vows of honored guests like George and Sean.  Many couples like George and Sean still cannot be married in states they call home; however, we can all celebrate their marriage here in our nation’s capital as the nation awaits the historic Supreme Court decision. This unique occasion allows us to make their ceremony poignant and meaningful for all Americans and all our visitors.”
Ross Matthews
Photo Credit Out Magazine

“As a public figure and member of the LGBT community, I could not be more proud to partner with Marriott and spread the meaning behind #LoveTravels,” said Ross Mathews.  “This is such a special time for equal rights and there is no better way to celebrate, than by officiating this beautiful couple, in one of the biggest Pride parades in the country.” 

“The love that will be in the nation’s capital during Pride will be a testament to the historic change in the nation. Although we reside in New York, we continue to wait to be married in our home state of Texas,” said George and Sean. “We’re overwhelmed that we have been chosen by Marriott to celebrate our union with thousands more along the parade route, and we are thrilled to travel to D.C. for this monumental moment.”

Marriott has also enlisted social media ambassadors with millions of followers on YouTube and Instagram to spread the #LoveTravels message including Alex Wassabi, Bria and Chrissy, RJ Aguiar, Olga Kay, Michael John Buckley and Miles Jai

The #LoveTravels social movement that kicked off with Jason Collins, Geena Rocero, Tim Howard and Angela Simmons in 2014 will continue to roll out with new ambassador stories throughout the summer with new inspiring stories of notable travelers.

To join the conversation, travelers can visit www.lovetravelswithme.com or Facebook/Instagram (@LoveTravelsWithMe) and Twitter (@LoveTravelsWMe) and use the hashtag #LoveTravels.

Visit Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR) for company information. For the latest news, go to www.marriottnewscenter.com, and to make reservations, please visit www.marriott.com.

Also follow George at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Sean at Facebook, TwitterInstagram and use the #GeorgeSeanIDo 

Catch this Out.com exclusive on the event by clicking here.

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About Marriott International:
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with properties in 79 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $14 billion in fiscal year 2014.  The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 19 brands. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit http://news.marriott.com.

Posted by Gonzalo Araya,
Executive Chair, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Creative Principle | Analytics Officer, L7zGroup

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at Gonzalo@NGLCCNY.org.