Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Meet Tom Andrika, Business Development Manager for Fourth Wall Events

Tom Andrika is a passionate Business Development Manager at Fourth Wall Events: a global corporate meetings and event design, production and management company based in New York City.

“It’s inspiring, it’s rewarding, and there is never a dull moment,” Tom said regarding the career path that Oprah inadvertently led him down. “I took a quiz on Oprah.com to find out what careers aligned with my passions, and what I should be doing for work. Event planning was at the top of my list.”

With a degree in organizational leadership and development, Tom’s resume included everything from consulting to retail management to HR. It was Tom’s husband’s job that brought the two of them to New York. “New York can definitely be a tough market to break into and thanks to the support of Joe and finding a second family with my Fourth Wall colleagues it was made possible.”

Since joining Fourth Wall in 2013, he has been helping the company rebrand and showcase their capabilities: “We provide a turnkey solution and do everything A-Z for any type of meeting or event in the corporate world,” he stated. 

Tom said it is the meticulous details gained by Fourth Wall’s creative team combined with the available elements that allow them to connect to an audience and craft a successful event: “You see the look on the guests’ faces and what they are experiencing. You can feel it and empathize with it. That makes the months and weeks of planning worth it.”

2013 was also the year that Fourth Wall became a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise via  NGLCCNY, and formed a connection with PepsiCo. Through attending chamber events, Tom and Fourth Wall’s Vice President Carvie Gillikin, met Trung Treu, PepsiCo’s supplier diversity manager. 

"We spent the last year really understanding their supplier diversity department, who those managers are, and what they are faced with on a day to day basis," Tom stated. 

Earlier this year, Tom had the opportunity to make a presentation to one of PepsiCo’s employer resource groups in Chicago and develop a game plan with the PepsiCo team: “Our PepsiCo story is ongoing and just beginning. We can’t wait for the opportunities to present themselves, to be able to design proposals, and bring things fruition,” Tom said. 

Last year, Fourth Wall helped the NGLCC and NGLCCNY organize a mission trip to Mexico City.

Tom said the NGLCCNY has also opened doors to industries that Fourth Wall had not previously been involved with: “That has been the greatest thing…that the NGLCCNY helps to make those connections and they never say ‘no.’ They are always lending a hand or introducing you to somebody who may introduce you to somebody else.”

Written by Ashley Bellman,
Corporate Journalist, Media Communications Committee.

If you'd like to be featured in one of our upcoming communications, please contact me at ashley@nglccny.org

Monday, July 6, 2015

Non-Profit Spotlight: The Tyler Clementi Foundation

In the face of tragedy, the Clementi family has found the strength, faith and steadfastness to triumph over tragedy. Nearly 5 years ago a young Tyler Clementi went off to college to start the next phase of his life. Tyler was a smart and talented musician with a promising musical career ahead of him. For many, college is a place that they look forward to as find their way and navigate being on their own. Tyler was cyber-bullied and humiliated online by his roommate, who live streamed private moments in Tyler’s life for sport. Tyler Found out his roommate planned another invasion of privacy via twitter and shortly thereafter ended his life when he jumped off the George Washington Bridge.

The Clementi family was thrust into the spotlight. They faced out pouring of support and criticism and in a sense were put in a similar situation as their son and brother. Their family's private pain was made public on a global scale.

In the wake of their family's mourning the Clementi's have found the courage and the strength to take a stance against bullying across the board. The Tyler Clementi Foundation was founded as a catalyst for change. The foundation recognizes that bullying is a long standing cycle that has to be broken and they are doing everything within their power to be part of the culture change.

"In 2010, Tyler's death was one of many suicides amongst LGBT youth reflecting a growing and desperate need to focus on the issue of bullying in schools and its victims. Amongst vulnerable youth, the LGBT populations are known to be the most vulnerable. Studies cite LGBT youth are three to seven times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth. More studies have also shown that the greatest determinant of LGBT suicide is a hostile social environment, be it home, school or work. The Tyler Clementi Foundation was born out of the urgent need to address the needs of vulnerable populations, especially LGBT and other victims of hostile social environments.

The family of Tyler Clementi is focused on creating a new story of inclusion, dignity and acceptance for other youth and their families as way to honor the memory of their son, brother and friend."

The Tyler Clementi Foundation (TCF) started the Upstander Pledge where individuals pledge to stand up against bullying behaviors. The Upstander Pledge lists specific visible behaviors of what bullying looks like and what actions may be taken to help eradicate bullying and by taking action to help some who is being bullied. Take the Upstander Pledge here.

The Tyler Clementi Foundation has recently launched The DAY 1 Capaign.

The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness about bullying, harassment and humiliation or shaming. As well as how the environment participants are entering does not and will not tolerate any form of teasing or cruelty. 

To learn more about TCF and their work against bullying, call to actions toward a more inclusive society in every place imaginable, schools k-12, after school programs, sports programs, colleges and universities as well as the work place visit www.day1Campaign.com

The foundation has evolved to bring to light the devastation bullying creates in every area of our society and how we can all together work towards eradicating it and creating a safe environment for all. 

The Tyler Clementi Center for Law & Policy at New York Law School

“The Tyler Clementi Center for Law & Policy at New York Law School will educate students, lawyers, judges, and the public to raise awareness about the problem of cyberbullying and provide research, analysis, and direct services to help families, policymakers, and schools reduce the frequency and ameliorate the effects of cyberbullying of at-risk youth. The TCCLP will include a first-of-its-kind direct service litigation clinic to help victims of harassment obtain justice and provide needed perspective in impact litigation. Research generated by TCCLP will help with litigation, legal defense and legal training around the country. TCCLP will also hold conferences, workshops, and symposia focused on education and research, and host a hotline where victims of harassment can learn about their rights and seek justice. Public Opinion Research: Data should inform decision-making and we need public opinion research to help inform anti-bullying goals. TCF will produce a tracking poll three times a year (during school year transitions) to raise awareness of key topics and trends. TCF will conduct a robust round of public opinion research to uncover what messages and messengers are the most effective in combating bullying. This research should be shared publicly so it can inform the entire sector. 

TCF will work for the passage of the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment act.“ 

To further support the work at the Tyler Clementi Foundation make a gift today. Donations go to directly support Day 1 Campaign and the Tyler Clementi Center for Law and Policy.

Like TCF on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, email or Chat up members of the Tyler Clementi Foundation team at our next M3.

Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Diversity Inclusion & Outreach Chair

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

LGBT @ NYBG: Frida al Fresco Evening

NGLCCNY is proud to partner with NYBG for the LGBT @ NYBG series. LGBT @ NYBG is a new initiative that hosts events throughout the year to celebrate the LGBT community and its allies. Join us for a special Frida al Fresco evening and enjoy mingling with friends, colleagues, and families, or chatting with someone new. 

If you're joining us for our Frida al Fresco LGBT Night on Thursday, July 16 from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m., you’re welcome to dress the part! Register in advance for our Frida Look-Alike Contest and receive free admission. Come decked out in your finest Frida or Diego ensemble for a chance at prizes from Shop in the Garden plus two tickets for an upcoming Frida al Fresco evening.

Pre-registration is required for each person participating. A limit of 50 participants will be selected for each of the two contest categories. Approved participants will receive complimentary Garden admission for the event. 

Enjoy this festive evening out at the Garden by experiencing FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life after hours. Stroll through Kahlo's beloved Casa Azul reimagined in the Conservatory, see rare works in the Art Gallery—and then transport yourself to Mexico without leaving New York via live music by Radio Jarocho, all enjoyed with a complimentary Modelo Especial draft cerveza or Jose Cuervo Tradicional margarita. Get more information.

Non-Member $35/Member $25 (Adults 21 and over) Advance tickets recommended; includes one Modelo Especial draft cerveza or Jose Cuervo Tradicional margarita.

Save $5 on Frida al Fresco Evening tickets by using code 7126 online at nybg.org*. 

Get tickets Here

*Valid only when you use code 7126 and purchase tickets online at nybg.org. Offer valid on Frida al Fresco Evening tickets only. Limit one per customer. Offer subject to availability. Discount cannot be combined with any other promotional offer or on previously purchased tickets. Not valid on Group Tours. Discount may be modified or withdrawn without prior notice. Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable. 

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.

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.