Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The 2019 nglccNY Biz Pitch Launches with a New Twist!

Changing things up from 2018, our sponsor for the nglccNY Biz Pitch, EY, decided to hear presentations from four, rather than three, suppliers at the January 22, 2019 Biz Pitch. Incredibly, two of them were awarded the opportunity to return in December to compete for prizes. Last year only one business per competition advanced to the final round. Reinforcing its commitment to mentoring nglccNY’s LGBTBEs, EY will similarly award two suppliers at both the June and September pitches. With six suppliers competing for prizes in our final contest in December, we suggest you all block out the entire afternoon and evening of December 11, 2019! It will be a pitch event (followed by M3) you will not want to miss!

Natalie Egan pitches her LGBTBE Translator LLC.

On January 22, we heard from Dr. Gerry Goldhaber who educated us on being an expert witness, news commentator, and one of the country’s leading safety warnings communication experts. We also listened to Shana and Amy Scott of mOdat Productions who produce premium, high quality digital and broadcast content for virtually any outlet. Additionally, the audience took in pitches from Natalie Egan of Translator LLC who is redefining how corporate America, schools and non-profits provide diversity and inclusion education, and Ben Conard of Five North Chocolate who sells healthy, fair trade chocolate snacks and is the first LGBTBE to display the NGLCC certification on a retail package.

LGBTBE Owner Ben Conard shares the journey of Five North Chocolate.

After much deliberation, the EY panel of judges announced to participants and more than 30 spectators in attendance that the winners of the first nglccNY Biz Pitch of 2019 were Natalie Egan of Translator LLC and Ben Conard of Five North Chocolate. Congratulations to both Natalie and Ben on being selected to pitch again and December, and congratulations to Gerry, Shana, and Amy for your excellent pitches!

Our next Biz Pitch is set for June 4, 2019. (Invitations to apply will be sent in April.) To better understand the benefits of participating in the nglccNY Biz Pitch (in addition to competing for prizes), we encourage you to read our article from November 2018, EY’s Biz Pitch Competition Helps LGBT-Owned Companies Up Their Game, or feel free to send me an email at

Written by Robert F. Finkelstein, Esq., nglccNY Supplier Diversity Chair. Rob is a partner at Finkelstein Platt LLP, where he practices commercial litigation, construction law, general business law, and employment law.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

nglccNY Nonprofit Partner Stonewall Community Development Corporation Offers Business Opportunities with LGBTQ Seniors

nglccNY is pleased to announce a new way for our members to pursue business opportunities that also benefit the elder LGBTQ population. Our new nonprofit partner Stonewall Community Development Corporation (SCDC) is spearheading Stonewall Village NYC, a virtual community to support older LGBTQ people in New York City and their allies with: education about the challenges LGBTQ seniors face in housing; access to LGBT-welcoming housing opportunities; referrals to LGBTQ-competent programs and services; self-directed socialization to end isolation; community empowerment and more, all created and administered by people who understand the needs of LGBTQ older adults.

The site will list vendors who have earned credentials that qualify them as LGBTQ-friendly.   This directory will include repair, personal service and health, and mental health providers. By creating a standard of respect from vendors and providing a market incentive to meet that standard, the community is empowering itself and supporting the local LGBTQ economy.

SCDC has reminded nglccNY leadership that participating also makes good business sense, particularly if you consider these statistics from Community Marketing Inc. & Harris Interactive:
  • 55% of LGBTQ consumers will choose to do business with companies that are committed to the diversity/equal treatment of the LGBT community.
  • 78% of LGBTQ adults and their friends, family, and relatives would switch to brands that are known to be LGBT-friendly.
  • LGBT consumers are a source of word-of-mouth marketing for brands. Gay men (64%) and women (65%) agreed that when they find a brand they like, they are likely to make a point of telling their friends about it. That's well above the average of all U.S. consumers. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of credentialing and being listed in the Stonewall Village NYC directory, click here or email

February & Upcoming Events

Featuring local, state and national events for NGLCC, nglccNY, our Membership and Community Partners.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Supplier Spotlight: Five North Chocolate

The Sweet Taste of Diversity: LGBTBE Five North Chocolate® Makes History as First Brand to Spotlight NGLCC Seal on a Packaged Good

By Cindi Creager

“My gut tells me this is an innovative approach to celebrating diversity - so I’m unapologetically going for it.”

That’s just one of the reasons Ben Conard, Founder of Five North Chocolate, decided to roll out his new LGBT-inclusive products, making his company the first ever to emblazon the “NGLCC Certified LGBTBE” status on a packaged good.

He made the official announcement via social media, declaring:

“I am SO excited to officially share that we are launching a fresh package design for Five North Chocolate. On the back of each package, we are featuring the 'NGLCC LGBTBE' seal and a statement on celebrating diversity as a core commitment at Five North.”

The statement on diversity is highlighted along with the products’ health benefits and the company’s commitment to fair trade, among other values. It reads as follows: “As a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise®, we celebrate diversity and we’re not afraid to wave our rainbow flag. Join us?”

Although he now fully embraces sharing his pride on the products, Ben acknowledged, “I have to be honest, I was a little nervous to print that on the package. Even close friends and mentors raised eyebrows, asking ‘Won’t you alienate some of your customer base?’”

Despite the slight anxiety Ben experienced about being so open, he felt deep down that he must bring his full self to this entrepreneurial endeavor. “You know what your gut tells you. You know what feels right. It was much more important to recognize the role diverse people play in our world than stay silent.”

He hasn’t looked back. Five North turns two this March and with this new packaging, Ben is looking forward to “resonating with his customer base in a deep and meaningful way” as he continues to sell his products not only online, but also in a growing number of grocery chains, specialty shops and hotel minibars on Long Island and in New York City. You can find Five North Chocolate in 50 stores.

Five North’s packaging has drawn praise from NGLCC leadership and prompted an invitation to other LGBTBEs to take similar action:

“American consumers are more likely to support businesses that support equality and the LGBT community alone represents roughly $917 billion in spending power,” said NGLCC President and Co-Founder Justin Nelson. “Five North Chocolate has been an incredible example of what being loud and proud about LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) certification can do for a growing LGBT-owned business, and we’re thrilled to have Five North Chocolate feature its LGBTBE certification on its packaging. We hope other LGBT-owned businesses will follow Five North Chocolate’s example of tapping into the world of resources NGLCC can offer.”

Recently named one of Business Equality Magazine’s 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40, Ben reflected on his decision to make his products LGBT-inclusive, noting: “That’s what entrepreneurs do. We bring new ideas to the table (and shelf).”

Indeed they do, and we wish Ben every success as his Five North Chocolate makes its diversity mark, literally.

Cindi Creager is the Media & Communications Chair of the nglccNY Executive Committee and co-owner of CreagerCole Communications LLC, a New York City-based public relations firm experienced in LGBTQI issues.