Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Meet Kevin Uhrin and William Self: Chamber Champions & LGBT Activists

Kevin Uhrin and William Self are a fine example of two LGBT activist in NYC. Never did they imagine that a chance meeting at Saks Fifth Avenue would turn into a love story of a life time. They have since filled their lives with many first, ups and downs and live a life full of adventure. One inspiring action about this couple is the readiness of lending a hand and helping out the community. Kevin attributes their success as a couple to the 50/50 split on communication. He believes they have struck the right balance of complimenting each other at every turn.

Since first arriving in NYC in 1980 they have been fully engaged in the LGBT Community. The level of commitment to each other is only rivaled by their commitment to the betterment of the community. Their motto is “If you want something done; you HAVE to get involved.”

Upon moving to New York, Kevin knew he found where he was supposed to be and could give back. As a certified nurse’s aide he joined GMHC as a screener, testing patients for STDs. That was an eye opening experience as he met people from all walks of life with varying perspectives on their circumstances. The biggest eye opening experience of the importance of being involved was the first time this young man from Olyphant, Pennsylvania met an I.V. drug user. The I.V. drug user went on to share that he thought he was HIV positive, he didn’t know who infected him and he did not care whom, he would infect. It was at that moment Kevin realized the importance in getting involved to help educate the community and prevent this disease. He sits on the Health Department and Police Department Boards and is very proud that he has no affiliation to either organization as this keeps him objective about the missions at hand.

Bill arrived from Corpus Christi, TX in 1980 and quickly joined the Medical Library Center of New York as a library Assistant. He never imagined returning a cologne to Saks Fifth Avenue would be the best decision he ever made. Together over the last 28 years Bill and Kevin have supported grassroots organizations such as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Anti-violence Project, Callen-Lorde, God’s Love We Deliver, HRC, Tyler Clementi Foundation, Toys for Tots, Stonewall Democrats, Queens Pride, NYC Pride, Live Out Loud and I’m From Driftwood. To name a few.

Kevin and Bill were kind enough to chat about their journey in NYC leading up to finding the nglccNY. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed learning about these fine gentlemen.

What does community mean to you?
Bill: The complete organisms that we are. From our family to our friends and all the sub circle of friends. You just have everybody worldwide. We have our LGBT community and we certainly focus on our LGBT community. It is certainly the broader community of man.

Kevin: Community means all in one, inclusive, all together, not separated. Gay life should be a fun life! I wanted to be part of my community. When I got here I found I could be gay here, embrace who I was and nobody cared.

What non-profit are you currently working with the closest?
Kevin: I think Live Out Loud, because it is all about education. Getting the young generation to do things within their schools is where we have to start. With the younger generations, in the schools, we can educate them and from there they can start doing things on their own and taking it to the next level, which is why I love Live Out Loud. It really does start in the schools. You get these kids who think they have nothing in the world but through determination they end up creating programs and changing the curriculum in their schools. Then getting a scholarship to do bigger and better things. It is great to follow the kids that have gone through the program and see what they have been able to accomplish once they graduate from college.

I think education is a very powerful thing in the world. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to get it. It’s sad to see, especially minorities, not getting the schooling they should be getting or to have someone there to say “no, you really need to stay in school.”

That is why I’m so focused on the Trans-empowerment and equality. The trans community has the right to be who they were meant to be. Their struggle has always resonated with me. As I have struggled with my gender identity. My point would be that those in the Black and Latino Trans community, many of whom are poor, are being harassed in schools for who they are and they drop out.

Two of my friends who are Trans shared with me that they knew who they wanted to be and the main focus was to get educated... Because, once they got educated they could be anybody they wanted to be in this world. At that point, they started to look at their transitioning. I want to teach these kids that there is a place for them and it begins with education.

How do you feel about the use of the word lifestyle?
Kevin: Life is life and style is what you wear.

How do you like to inspire others?
Bill: I don’t think that I do, I just go out and do. I’m just myself. You live your life and find a cause, or things you like doing, to be helpful to others. You just go through life and, you end up doing things that mean something to you.

How did you find your way to the nglccNY?
Bill: We were introduced by a chamber member. Coming into the group we just met so many great people and it was very comfortable. Meeting so many people from Texas it was very warm and welcoming group of people. We were welcomed with open arms even though we did not have our own business. It was unlike what we had experienced in other organizations.

How do you reconcile being members of the nglccNY when you are not business owners and are not the traditional LGBT professionals working at one of our corporate partners?
Bill: We like being links to encourage others to participate. Just as we encourage others to participate in other charities or other things that go on. As a Librarian, I’m very comfortable giving information.

At Lenox Hill Hospital, As the Director of the Library, I am responsible for managing the health science knowledge based information that is being made available to the medical and clinical staff at the hospital. I work to provide support in the continuing education and I give them access to the information they need.

Kevin: I like to support our own community and that is what I like about the nglccNY – it's all inclusive. It is not just LGBT, it is also the straight community. It is everyone coming to together to help one another.

Sounds as if you have always been in a position to share information, is that a fair statement?
Bill: Yes, that’s what I like to do. After 30 some years of running around you accumulate quite a reference library of where to go for specific things, or at least you know where to find something out. I think it’s important to be a resource of information to others. 

What is it about nglccNY that inspires you to recommend it to your business owning friends?
Kevin: I was just impressed at how well put together the events were. I thought it was a great idea that you had all these LGBT business owners to learn from one another. I think if people learn about what the nglccNY is all about is that – It’s an open door to everything! There is nothing that you cannot learn or do by becoming part of it and of course I believe we should take care of each other.

Bill: It is a great resource for business and social growth. We are meeting so many people who have their own businesses and it offers us an opportunity to recommend an organization that they can connect with the community.

What has been the biggest benefit of joining the nglccNY?
Kevin: I like the idea that I can help to educate the community that this organization is more than just gay men. It truly is the entire community. When I believe in something I go wholeheartedly into something. It is a great organization and I really do like it. It is one I can truly say I can I stand behind 100% and that is why I recommend people to it. 

Bill: I hate to keep saying the same answer but it is having this new community that I’m part of. It’s the theme going through the chamber; it’s a fraternity of business people with varied businesses, that can get together and share information and resources. Being able to make these connections that bind you as a group. You get out of it what you bring to it. There is always something businesswise going on. The first time we attended a mixer we were surprised that people were readily introducing themselves to us and were very inviting. All of a sudden you realize you have 500 new friends.

What is your message to the universe?
Kevin: We all bleed the same color therefore we are all the same.

Bill: I always fall back on the old Rocky Horror thing of “Don’t dream it; be it”. Go out and do and be the best person you can be. You can do that by connecting with other people and by doing good. Always bring a hostess gift, always hand write a thank you note.

Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion, NGLCCNY
Organizational Development Consultant, Strategic Remedy Group

Intersted in being featured? Please contact me at

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hetrick-Martin Institute: Providing Safe Environments for LGBTQ Youth

Hetrick-Martin Institute believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. 

Hetrick-Martin creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13-24 and their families.
In 1979, life partners and educators on gay and lesbian issues, Dr. Emery Hetrick, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Damien Martin, a professor at New York University, heard the heartbreaking story of a homeless 15-year-old boy who had been beaten and thrown out of his emergency shelter because he was gay. Inspired by this they choose to do something.

37 years later, Thomas Krever, CEO continues to champion their mission and leads this organization while he and his team work to establish HMI as the blueprint for other cities to address the needs of underserved, at-risk youth. Since assuming the role of leader in 2007, his goal has been to strategically create best practices that other cities and organizations can replicate. In the past year he has increased that vision to include “how can New York City become the city that other cities emulate around LGBT matters, specifically around the needs of LGBT youth."

Thomas Krever, CEO
Hedrick-Martin Institute

“The fundamental belief that guides each of us here at Hetrick-Martin is that young people, when given the opportunity, sufficient resources, and love can develop the tools and confidence to take charge of their lives and chart a course for successful futures” – Thomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer

Thomas was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share with me the various ways in which HMI is leading youth service organizations in identifying best practices and inspiring service communities across the country and key areas around the globe.

What is new at HMI?

HMI has been in close partnership with New York City Council to develop a series of best practices and replicable models based on its 37 years of working with at-risk youth.

We created PRISM – Potential Realization of Youth Service Model – This fee for service model helps sustain the organization, ensuring we are able to keep running and enables us to continue to provide our services. It’s an organizational tool that agencies use to work with their leadership in identifying 5 key areas around organizational readiness to create LGBT inclusive spaces.

Physical Environment - because it’s more than having a rainbow sticker on the door before we can feel safe. We look at the physical space -what can organizations do physically so when you walk in you immediately understand that you’re welcomed.

Policies & Procedures – what policies and procedures are on paper. What Policies and Procedures can we put forth proactively to ensure that we are not waiting for a shoe to drop.

Pragmatic – What is the actual culture of an organization? What is the culture of that organization around LGBT inclusivity?

Professional Development – How are organizations developing staff and volunteers alike. What development tools are available for volunteers, for staff? How do you on board and reach out to potential LGBT hires? How do you orient them what is your plan to integrate them into the culture? How do you continue to support them? How professionally do they engage clients and customers?

We have utilized the PRISM SCAN tools with 11 youth runaway shelters across the city and worked with their leadership to ensure that their shelter culture is LGBT inclusive. We’re working with ConEdison to look at their policies because they have people of Trans experience, who are transitioning, and examining how the workplace environment supports that and how does ConEd keep them safe.

As HMI expands its services, it is also branching out. Tell us about what is happening in New Jersey?

I’m excited to talk about this. HMI has adopted the federated model. This is very important and exciting because there is not one LGBT organization that crosses state lines whose mission is youth serving that provides direct services. I’m very proud to say we this year will mark the first anniversary for HMI New Jersey (a 501(c)3) operating in Newark, New Jersey. This is a historic moment for our community to have a youth service organization in both NY and NJ under the same brand doing direct services.

Being a blueprint for developing sustainable support for LGBT youth has always been a vision. Please share how you are impacting other communities and countries?

I’m proud of our National Capacity Building & Training Center. We are in partnership with the State Department, USAID, as a recognized training site for traveling dignitaries in which HMI is called upon to conduct trainings forums, etc. for these visitors on how to create a non-profit or start an NGO in their community or country. HMI trains on how to build safe and supportive environments for your LGBT youth. Some of the countries HMI has conducted trainings for are Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, and across Africa.

This past year has been full of “firsts” for HMI, tell us about some of those achievements.
  • HMI is now opened on Saturdays. From 10 am – 8pm. We have always had the need but not the funding, that is until now and we could not be more thrilled.
  • Cy Vance, Manhattan DA, met with HMI to discuss how the model of swim and gym is not culturally appropriate for the LGBT youth. This meeting led to HMI being the first LGBT youth organization to receive forfeiture money to develop LGBT culturally appropriate programming.
  • This summer will be another historic first as all of our programming, best practices, codified in a how to manual. This offers an opportunity to new or existing organizations learn from our 37 years’ worth of experience. We will be able to provide a blue print on how to create 360° comprehensive youth service model for other organizations.
  • Doubled outreach to all five boroughs. Two teams actively going out and working with members of city council to identify where in their districts’ LGBT youth are congregating, what’s going on and actively going out to all parts of the city and bringing them back for meals and services.

Do you still do the pantry?

Yes, more than ever. We are serving more youth each year so all donations to the pantry are welcomed.

What is “HMI is Citywide?"

HMI is Citywide – young people led summits across all boroughs. The summits are in partnership with local community organizations and over 20 city agencies. The goal is to reduce isolation and connect young people to care. Whether it is getting a municipal identification, or simply connecting the youth to local community organizations. The goal is to connect them to their community. The most impressive observations where how connected the young people are and how resilient they are in the face of adversity.

What’s next for HMI?

New York Times released top things to do this summer and HMI School’s Out event in the Hampton’s was #3

Read More

Read More

What are some of the ways in which nglccNY membership can help support the work of HMI?

We offer HS equivalency program and are currently in need of tutors for math and language arts. They can go to our website for volunteer opportunities. Check back regularly because needs change often.

People often think HMI and Harvey Milk High School are the same, what is the difference?

The Harvey Milk High School (HMHS) is a four-year, fully accredited, inclusive voluntary public high school, named in honor of gay-rights champion and groundbreaking San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. The HMHS door is open for all students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or physical abilities. HMHS resides within HMI and is wholly operated by the NYC Department of Education.

Hetrick-Martin's role in every small public school in NYC adopts a community-based organization as lead partner. The Hetrick-Martin Institute is that host agency for HMHS. That means Hetrick-Martin manages the school facility and uses the facility for after-school programs and supportive services. But it is the New York City Department of Education that operates the school, and accepts applications for prospective students.

What is your message to the universe?

“Be open to the possibilities."

You can connect with Thomas at the June 14th M3 or HMI via the following:

Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion, NGLCCNY
Organizational Development Consultant, Strategic Remedy Group

Intersted in being featured? Please contact me at

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Non-Profit Spotlight: Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. They fund the social service programs of The Actors Fund and award grants to AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states.

Anyone who has ever attended a Broadway show has had the experience of the fundraising ask from a cast member(s) for the benefit of Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS. We are given a brief description of the life-saving work of Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS and are gently asked to contribute to the red bucket volunteers on the way out of theaters along the great white way. As we drop a five, ten or a twenty on the way out we hope it eases someone’s pain or helps someone’s quality of life. The words every dollars makes a difference is not just a saying at BC/EFA; it is actionable. BC/EFA helps lessen the suffering of those in the theater community affected by critical health issues including but not limited to HIV/AIDS.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the result of a merger between two organizations that recognized a way to better serve the Theater community. Since merging in 1992 BC/EFA continues to fund the social service work of The Actors Fund and to award grants to AIDS service organizations nationwide and internationally. BC/EFA has collectively issued over $167 Million dollars since they began.
Each year the Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS produces can’t-miss cultural and charitable events to ensure those in need receive lifesaving assistance. The following are a sampling of the great ways in which the beautifully creative minds of the theater community get together to make a difference and how we can help.

Broadway knows how to "Funraise"

Broadway Bets – Poker Tournament is a great opportunity for industry insiders and theater fans to come together and compete in Texas Hold ’em style tournament. 

Broadway Bets will again take over the famed Sardi's restaurant in the heart of New York's theatre district on Monday, May 16. Doors open for cocktails at 7:30 pm; tournament play begins at 8 pm. Get tickets.

Broadway Bares – The 26th annual edition of the always sold-out Broadway Bares, which combines eye-popping burlesque with the glamour and razzle-dazzle of Broadway, goes live onstage at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom for two ratings-raising shows at 9:30 pm and midnight on Sunday, June 19.

Broadway Barks – ready-for-a-forever-home pets filled the theatre district to raise awareness and funds for the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, a coalition of 150 nonprofit shelters and rescue groups working to end the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs at city shelters. Broadway Barks day is generally held the second Sunday in July. Check the website for event updates by clicking here.

Fire Island Dance Festival – presents a mix of the most sought-after dance companies and emerging voices in the American dance scene, performing outdoors against the picturesque backdrop of the Great South Bay in Fire Island Pines. 
This year’s festival will feature an eclectic lineup of artists hailing from ballet, Broadway and contemporary backgrounds. Meet the 2016 Fire Island Dance Festival performers.
July 15-17, 2016 Fire Island Pines, NY - Get tickets

Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction – one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in NYC. Broadway Flea brings together the top shows on and off Broadway to Shubert Alley. The mix of about 75 tables representing shows, theatre owners, producing organizations, unions, guilds, marketing groups, ticket agencies, concessionaires and fan clubs creates one of the biggest buzz in the city. 

The highlight of the day is the Grand Auction where once in a lifetime items and experiences may be won. Whether it is a walk on role to this season’s top show or a VIP ticket that includes a meet and greet there is something for everybody. The Autograph table and photo booth always bring a crowd as does the Silent Auction. To learn more about the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, please go here.

To keep tabs on Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS check them out at our next M3 or at

Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion, NGLCCNY
Organizational Development Consultant, Strategic Remedy Group

Intersted in being featured? Please contact me at

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NYC Pride 2016 Luminaries Brunch

NYC Pride is excited to open the Pride Luminaries Brunch to the public!  Also, NGLCCNY, the business voice of NY’s LGBT community, is proud to once again partner with NYC Pride on this special event celebrating those leaders committed to making NYC the best place to live and work. Traditionally an invite only event, the Pride Luminaries Brunch is branching out to become the official NYC Pride kick-off event of Pride Week.  Now entering its fourth year, dress to impress and help us celebrate business leaders that have made an impact on LGBT equality in the workplace for 2016.  Join industry insiders, media mavens, and proud politicians for what will be the brunch affair of the season. This event is outdoors at The Garden at the David Burke Restaurant surrounding lush greenery overlooking lower Manhattan.

NYC Pride Luminaries Brunch

The Garden @ David Burke Restaurant
23 Grand Street - New York, NY 10013

Sunday, June 19 - 12PM - 4PM

Brunch Chic

$50.00 per person
(Includes delicious brunch buffet with passed hors d'oeuvres
multiple open bars and gift bags!)

To purchase tickets, please go here.

All proceeds benefit NYC Pride and its forthcoming WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50 events.

Posted by Sean Franklin,
Senior Associate, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Experience Producer, Socio

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at

Thursday, April 7, 2016

EWS Hosts How to Navigate in Our Changing Profession

Join NGLCCNY's Corporate Partner, Empire Wealth Strategies, for an opportunity to connect with industry leaders and professionals.

How to Navigate in Our Changing Profession

Thursday - April 21, 2016 - 6PM
Light refreshments will be provided

Park Avenue Offices
2 Park Avenue, Suite 300
New York, NY 10016

Keynote Speaker
Joe Jordan*
Best Selling Author of "Living a Life of Signatures" &
Life Insurance Legend

*As the Ambassador of Significance and best-selling author, Joseph Jordan is an industry legend with more than 40 years of experience under his belt. Joe's career in financial services spans every facet of the business, from insurance to annuities to Wall Street.


Register or RSVP by clicking here, or contact Alex Nostramo at 646.432.7854 or by email at

Posted by Sean Franklin,
Senior Associate, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Experience Producer, Socio

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at