Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bar Car Nights: NYC’s Favorite Train Show Is Bigger Than Ever!

Enchanting model trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center—surprising at every turn—on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition features dozens of new trains, bridges, and tracks; a captivating short film of the show's behind-the-scenes magic; and a stunning multisensory finale of light and sound.

The NYBG has designated the Friday, December 4, 2015 to celebrate their LGBT Bar Car Nights series from 7PM - 10PM. On these nights exclusively for adults 21 and over, the wintry landscape of NYBG sets the scene for festive outdoor adventures, with an after-dark viewing of the expanded Holiday Train Show®, now with 3,000 additional square feet, as the centerpiece. Sip a complimentary cocktail as you journey through a series of station stops, including ice sculpture carving demonstrations under the starlight; delicious and festive treats from Frosty's Schnapp's Haus, the new Barvarian-themed outdoor dining space; an intimate jazz set in the warmth of the Pine Tree CafĂ©; and the playful fire and light performances of Cirque de Light.

NYBG is offering a $5 discount for all NGLCCNY members by entering the code 9101. To purchase tickets please click here

Explore a winter wonderland across our 250 acres with special tours, musical performances, and activities for kids, plus take care of your gift list at NYBG Shop and stop for a bite at one of our exciting new dining venues. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind holiday outing!

About the Landmarks
The enchanting setting of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory showcases more than 150 scaled iconic buildings and structures under thousands of twinkling lights. Step into a city in miniature where famed New York architecture is recreated using bark, leaves, and other natural materials, all of it held within the biggest exhibition space in Holiday Train Show® history. In the Reflecting Pool, see a finale of light and sound that features the Unisphere and other iconic structures from the 1964 World's Fair. New for 2015, see a completely reimagined replica of the New York Public Library!

About the Trains
This year, look for more model trains than ever before, with a quarter-mile of track hosting over a dozen large-scale model railway locomotives. Don’t forget to look up as you explore—a number of new bridges featured in this year's exhibition come together to create an aerial display of trains soaring overhead!

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

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at

Rivendell Media, Leading Experts in LGBT Media

“We make it simple, easy, and profitable for clients to reach out to the LGBT consumer,” stated Rivendell Media President and CEO Todd Evans.

Leading experts in LGBT media since its 1979 inception, Rivendell represents 95 percent of gay and lesbian media in the United States and Canada for national advertising: “we provide the information so that you can have a successful experience with gay media,” Todd said.

Todd Evans, President and CEO
Rivendell Media

Rivendell Media is a tier one Certified LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) and member of the NGLCC, since 2007. Todd said his experience as a business in the chamber has been invaluable: “It’s the ultimate networking group out there, and being a gay media professional in business, it’s been super for us as far as developing the relationships for national advertisers. It’ s great to be included with them and have opportunities to network with them,” Todd stated.

Rivendell is mostly working behind the scenes as a business-to-business company:
“You see us in the masthead of a gay publication, or you see us if you are an ad agency.” Todd said events with the NGLCCNY, like the recent annual leadership conference which happened to be in Florida, allow Rivendell to actually meet the people behind the advertisements they place.

“We can usually save an agency up to three employees with the work that we do for them,” Todd stated. Their client’s include Advertising Agencies who place auto brands like Mercedes; pharmaceutical companies with a focus on HIV; and spirit companies like Absolut Vodka, who they started doing business with way back in 1980: “Absolut is one of the few companies that has always been ahead of the cutting edge, yet still always maintained a present with all venues of gay media.” Absolut Vodka also introduced Todd to his husband Jeffery: “It’s my oldest customer…and then I end up marrying one of the new VPs years later,” he said. Rivendell also works regularly with a number of NGLCC Corporate Partners including Founding Corporate Partners like Wells Fargo and American Airlines as well PNC Bank, and Target: “These NGLCC partners help lead us to the proper channels and make our efforts in sales much more effective,” Todd stated.

With a focus on simplifying the advertising process for the benefit of the client, Todd doubled sales every year at Rivendell from when he took over in 1994 to 2001, and the company has had double-digit growth for the past three consecutive years.

“My greatest joy in this business is seeing how far it has come.” Todd said he never thought things would have progressed this far in his lifetime in terms of equal rights and marriage. “The number one question I used to be asked before getting involved in a particular campaign was, ‘what is the backlash like?’…now I don’t get that question,” Todd said people are finally understanding that there is no backlash to placing an advertisement in an LGBT publication. “I’m just waiting for one company to rise to the top and say ‘we are going to go after it in a big way,’” Todd said his dream clients would be a company like Starbucks or Apple: both brands that have realized the LGBT consumer is beneficial to their brand, but have yet to act on that information.  “The rewards would be huge,” he said. “I’d love to see that before I leave Rivendell.

Todd is a huge animal lover and an avid environmentalist. When he isn’t working, you can find him doing some sort of clean community activity, perhaps cleaning up litter on Route 22 in Mountainside, New Jersey the highway that Rivendell is based on or helping with Best Friends, a local animal rescue.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Philharmonic Holiday

Deck the halls with music and laughter in this hilarious and heartwarming afternoon of holiday favorites, complete with the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus’s signature brand of “choralography.” Filled with musical joys of the season, including Eric Owens’s unforgettable “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and a spirited audience sing-along, this festive concert is guaranteed to make your spirit bright. 

The Group Sales office of the New York Philharmonic has established a promo code exclusively for NGLCCNY and its affiliates for this event. 

There are two performances: 
  • Friday, December 18  at 8PM
  • Saturday, December 19 at 2PM.

For purchases of 1-14 tickets with a discount of 10% and a nominal facility fee, visit here

Click on BUY TICKETS for either show, then enter HOLIDAY10 (no spaces) in the HAVE A PROMO CODE box, then click APPLY. The prices shown will then reflect the 10% discount, and you can continue the purchase process.

An additional discount of 20%+ is available for groups of 15 and more. Please visit here to learn more from the Group Sales Manager.

Family friendly. Open to everyone ages 4 and over.

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

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at

Being Together Matters

“IM Creative translates brands into powerful live experiences,” stated IM Chief Creative Officer Shannon Morrison. IM Creative is a live event design and production firm based in Columbus, Ohio and New York City. Shannon and his partner in both life and work, CEO and Executive Producer Scott Ihrig, are experience designers that tackle global event production and campaign planning:

“What sparked our mutual love for the theater is the camaraderie, the emotional resonance and the profound impact that can come from sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers sharing an experience.  The tools of that trade - the combination of technology and light, of sound and of visuals, of content and form - those aren't just things we can manage.  We can uniquely stitch them all together to create a singular experience,” Shannon stated.

Scott Ihrig (L) CEO & Executive Producer
Shannon Morrison (R) Chief Creative Officer, IM Creative

Shannon studied playwriting at Yale, and then obtained an MFA in Musical Theater Writing from NYU (go violets!). Scott was a lawyer who decided to pursue his love for theater as an investor and producer for large-scale productions, including The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. When the two met in 2007, Scott was trying to figure out why business was not communicating more effectively with the tools of theater. Shannon was a Broadway producer disheartened by the fact that impactful storytelling wasn't always a valued commodity. The two found that their personal chemistry translated to their professional work: “Scott introduced me to a world of corporate and special events that appreciates a little bit of spectacle, a whole lot of design, and great big fresh ideas. What we found was that a unique alchemy occurs when we work together - one that is bold yet balanced, agile yet specific and above all else, creative,” Shannon said.

Shannon and Scott are thrilled to be certified members of the NGLCCNY, a group of people who Shannon says understands the value of being motivated by passion. The two joined in 2014, “Since joining, we both feel like our business has reached a new cruising altitude because of the knowledge, resources and relationships facilitated by NGLCC.  It is a joy to not only be a member, but to serve on committees and contribute content and make referrals and build alliances because we share so much with our fellow LGBTBEs and with the corporate members,” Shannon said. “To be a global company, you must do business in, around and through New York.  NGLCCNY helps us stay connected, and saves us time and money -- this chamber consists of some of the best talent and most dedicated professionals in the world.  I know that when I work with someone through the NGLCCNY, it will be a quality relationship,” he stated.

One of those relationships is with IM Creative’s mentor, Novartis. Novartis was IM Creative’s first match at Shannon and Scott’s first NGLCC national conference. Todd Bittiger connected Shannon and Scott to Sheri Shafir and the Novartis team. Shannon said IM Creative has garnered insights into how to build a better business through their work with Todd, Sheri, and other stakeholders at Novartis: “Novartis is investing in us as a vendor because they appreciate why we want to be a better partner - because being together matters. It’s a win-win.”

IM Creative also partners with LGBTBE certified Socio Experiences, a company that Shannon said shares he and Scott’s values: maniacal client focus, infectious excellence, refreshing creative, relentless collaboration and fearless authenticity: “What we've discovered through our time with Socio in the development of their innovative experiences is that the Socio mindset as it relates to procurement is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Shannon and Scott aim to work with every company who recognizes the power and potential of being together, “If that's another 5 clients or another 5,000, it doesn't matter.  We're doing what we are passionate about, and our passion translates to the work we do with our clients.”

When they aren’t jet setting around for work, Shannon and Scott are spending time with their two dogs Roxanne and Toby, enjoying everything that life throws at them, and talking about what’s next for IM Creative: “We're producers with deep, funny and bold ideas.  It's the best of Ihrig and Morrison, hence IM Creative.”   

Follow IM-Creative on Twitter:  @i_m_creative

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

TomboyX - By Tomboys, For Tomboys

A Seattle-based start-up clothing company has been creating quite a buzz since its inception in 2013. The company has found they are filling a gap in women’s clothing market.

TomboyX started out by designing and producing boxer briefs styled for women and have in a very short window grown their business to include Tops, Jeans, Shoes, Outerwear, Sportswear in sizes XS to 4XL and Accessories.

This young company is not just winning over fans, they are winning at every turn. From their Kickstarter and Start-up Accelerator to most recently the NGLCC’s 2015 International Business & Leadership Conference – Biz Pitch Competition. Their products are clearly resonating with the public and that shows in that many items sell out as they become available.

It has been a joy getting to know Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez, as they shared a bit of their journey with me recently.

Fran Dunaway (L) CEO & Co-Founder
Naomi Gonzalez (R) COO & Co-Founder

Tell me about TomboyX. How did you decide to start a clothing line business?

I was frustrated with the lack of cool clothing options that was in between menswear and women’s wear so Naomi asked ‘how hard can it be to start a clothing line?’ And off we went.

How long have you been in business?

We sold our first retail item in April 2013.

How do you feel you are impacting the intimate apparel industry?

The TomboyX brand is about inclusion and empowerment of ALL women and we’re striving to be the anti-Victoria Secret. No one was making boxer briefs for women so we saw this as a perfect opportunity to reinforce what we stand for - women feeling comfortable in their own skin. We are working from the inside out and not the outside in.

Women have been borrowing from their husbands/boyfriends or shopping in the men’s underwear department for a long time and for many reasons. Sometimes they’re looking for comfortable undies to wear under a uniform or under dresses or to sleep in. Additionally, they are the go to style for a large swath of the LGBTQ community. We went the extra mile to make sure the waistband is silky soft and of the highest quality. They are really comfortable and super cute. We have sizes from XS to 4X.

Do you think you are going to inspire competition?

Where there is a good idea, there is surely to be competition. We make quality clothing that is ethically sourced. By Tomboys, For Tomboys (TM) is our motto. As long as we stand by our values and deliver, we think we’ll have customers for life.

What has your experience been regarding building your business network and developing collaborations?

We’ve been blessed by an outpouring of support from so many people and businesses. From the get go we had the incredible support of Lucia Gerbino of Lucky Dog Leather. That collaboration lead to introductions to an ever increasing network of women who have been eager to help.

Which came first your local chamber or the NGLCC?

Local chamber.

When did you become aware of NGLCC?

Last year from Zippy Dogs! (Another Winning NGLCC Certified Supplier out of Seattle, WA)

What prompted you to join your local chamber?


How long were you a member before getting certified?

Just a few months.

How did you determine certification was something you wanted for your business?

It was a no brainer really.

How has certification impacted your business?

We got a big foam core check! :) We made so many great connections, friends really, when in Fort Lauderdale. We even picked up a new investor! And we feel like any city we go we have a network.

How has your relationship with the chamber grown since getting certified?

We just got to attend a really cool event in NYC!

If applicable and if you are willing to share - What types of special projects are you currently working on?

We have flannel PJ’s coming soon and really awesome tee shirts - made in LA. We have new button down shirts in the works and fun new prints for undies.

What would you say to NGLCC affiliate members questioning if certification is right for them?

It’s hard as an entrepreneur to have a network of like-minded people in any one city. NGLCC expands your network tenfold overnight!

What are some highlights of being in business?

I’m fortunate to own the company with my wife, so we get to spend ALL of our time together. :) We are our own bosses and have created something that wasn’t.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with our members as they build and grow their businesses?

Make sure you love it and be prepared to say goodbye to the life you once knew. You’ll find your life will be consumed with your business so you’ll really need to be committed to its growth when fun invitations from friends come along. That’s been one of the hardest parts for us.

Switching gears a bit; do you volunteer? If so, where do you volunteer, how long, etc?

I used to. I was on the original steering committee that started the HRC in Seattle and co-chaired the dinner for 3 years. I was on the National Board of Governors so used to spend at least 20 hours a week volunteering. Now I just don’t have time.

If you weren’t lucky enough to meet Fran and Naomi at the October M3. Please reach out to them and introduce yourselves. With the holidays fast approaching consider TomboyX for gift ideas. Women in your life will thank you!

You may reach Fran, Naomi and their wonderful team via the following:

Fran Dunaway, CEO

Naomi Gonzalez, COO

3421 Thorndyke Ave W
Seattle, WA 98119

@TomboyExchange – Twitter
@tomboyxstyle - Instagram
@tomboyx – Facebook

Look forward to seeing you at the NGLCC National Dinner!!!

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

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

NGLCC Targets New York State for Full LGBTBE Inclusion

November 3rd, 2015
Washington, DC - The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community, is proud to announce New York as the next targeted state following recent executive order issued in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Under the leadership of Governor Charlie Baker, as the first state in the nation to issue an executive order including certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) in contracting and procurement opportunities alongside women and minority owned businesses. For LGBT citizens in Massachusetts, this policy provides fair and equal access to business contracting opportunities that cultivate innovation, create jobs, and drive economic growth throughout the Commonwealth.
“Governor Cuomo, as well as Mayor DeBlasio, and Speaker Mark-Viverito, have the power to create the greatest economic advancement for LGBT citizens by welcoming LGBT-owned business at both the state and city level,” says NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. “LGBT-inclusive supplier diversity means that there will be greater LGBT business visibility across New York. Economic visibility, just like social visibility, is essential in building a diverse and inclusive society. Nothing says ‘The Spirit of America’ like an equal seat at the table for every business owner who wants one, as we just achieved in Massachusetts. The NGLCC will next focus on creating identical opportunities for LGBT business owners in New York. And nothing says ‘Ever Upward’ like allowing New York to live up to its motto, always leading the way to equality by creating greater access to the American Dream.”

“Expanding New York’s supplier diversity pool would create huge economic opportunities for small lesbian-owned companies like ours. As a certified LGBTBE in New York, we welcome the chance to do business with the state that we love and to bring our authentic selves to the negotiating table as we vie for contracts here. A victory like this in New York would be a great boon to our company and allow us to contribute to maintaining and growing a vibrant economy in the Empire State.”
Cindi Creager and Rainie Cole, Co-Founders
Creager Communications LLC,
A New York based public relations firm

Just as marriage equality quickly spread throughout the northeast, NGLCC is now focusing on shaping a similar executive order in New York. For LGBT business owners, this kind of intentional inclusion policy provides fair and equal access to business contracting opportunities that cultivate innovation, create jobs, and drive economic growth throughout the state.
The NGLCC looks forward to working closely with the Cuomo administration to ensure that LGBT business enterprises are added to the administration’s increased commitments to minority-owned businesses. In October of 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated, “"We exceeded our goal of state contracts going to MWBE contractors, from 20 percent to 25 percent – that's $2 billion and the highest in the nation. New York has done many things but we still have more to do, and that is why we are proud to announce a goal of 30 percent, the highest in the United States, to continue this progression and momentum and ensure that MWBEs are fully represented in this state."
An executive action adding LGBT businesses to the existing women and minority-owned business enterprise pool (W/MBE) will directly impact the estimated 86,000 LGBT-owned businesses in New York State. One of those businesses that will greatly benefit from this executive action is CreagerCole Communications, a lesbian-owned NGLCC certified LGBTBE.
“Expanding New York’s supplier diversity pool would create huge economic opportunities for small lesbian-owned companies like ours,” said Cindi Creager and Rainie Cole, Co-Founders of CreagerCole Communications LLC, a New York based public relations firm. “As a certified LGBTBE in New York, we welcome the chance to do business with the state that we love and to bring our authentic selves to the negotiating table as we vie for contracts here. A victory like this in New York would be a great boon to our company and allow us to contribute to maintaining and growing a vibrant economy in the Empire State.”
Before this executive action was signed in Massachusetts, only the California Public Utilities Commission and several municipal governments—including Essex County, NJ and Cleveland, OH— touted the intentional inclusion of certified LGBT business enterprises.  This executive action is the only statewide initiative of its kind, and an easily replicable model for other states to follow and reflects the highly successful, market-driven supplier diversity programs that are standard throughout corporate America. 
The NGLCC serves as the exclusive third-party certification body for LGBT-owned businesses in America.  Currently over 1/3 of the Fortune 500 recognize this certification and seek these innovative businesses nationwide.
“This historic precedent in Massachusetts offers other states—and the entire federal government—a replicable framework to promote the intentional inclusion of certified LGBT Business Enterprises into their procurement and contracting codes,” says NGLCC Co-Founder & CEO Chance Mitchell.  “As we saw with the over 200% increase in LGBTBE certifications following California’s AB1678 mandate, we expect a major increase in applications for job-creating, economy-innovating LGBT businesses throughout the State of New York.”
The NGLCC Supplier Diversity Initiative was inspired by the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, the nation's largest certifying bodies for minority- and women-owned businesses, respectively, and their mission to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses to gain development and procurement opportunities with major corporations and government agencies. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) formally announced that demonstrated use of certified LGBT suppliers became a formally scored piece of the Corporate Equality Index as of 2012.
LGBT business owners wishing to begin the certification process to eventually contract with the City and State of New York can find information and an application at 
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses.

Adam Shapiro

To Take Action please click here.
For more information please click here.

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

Interested in being featured? Please contact me at