Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Topher Scott Photography Helping Brands Bring Life & Fun to Images

Fascinated by the art that surrounded him growing up in New Orleans, Topher Scott saw life through a rose colored lens, giving him a perspective that he has turned into a business. As founder and principal photographer of Topher Scott Photography in New York City, Topher produces commercial imagery for fashion advertising and luxury interior brands: “I am determined to reveal that best shot for every person and I have confidence that I will get that shot,” he said.

Topher got his start with documentary filmmaking while pursing a Bachelor’s degree in Film + Communication Arts. After working with film director and mentor Julie Gustafson, Topher released a 15-minute documentary called “Drag Family Inn” in 2007. The film explored the lives of three LGBT entertainers in a post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans: “They are entertaining and charismatic, barely surviving financially, but they perform, and they just want to be happy. They went through the storm. You identify with them because we all went through that together,” Topher stated.

Topher later obtained a master’s degree in still photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco before moving to New York City in 2010: “I moved into this place where people hired me for my vision,” Topher said. “They hire me to help them direct creative campaign quality visual assets that fully realize their brand spirit and produce concrete marketing results.”

Topher Scott, Founder and Principle Photographer
Topher Scott Photography

Some of Topher’s recent clients include Nike, Elle, Shopstyle, Laundry Service, Bloomingdale’s, and Bluefy; and his work has been published in Elle, Brazilian Vogue, and Women’s Wear Daily. Topher said he owes his success to his love for partnering with brands and connecting with people. That, and the fact that he is a self proclaimed “digital nerd.”

“I have speed on my side,” Topher said. “Everyone is fast now because everything is digital; but that’s not enough — photographers really have to have an extra edge. I offer that extra edge by partnering with innovative tech brands like Phase One, who makes the leading capture tethering software. Using this software, we are able to see our assets in real time on a screen as I shoot them and instantly critique them. In other words, the client gets to actively engage and curate the direction of the shoot with me, reducing retouching time and making final implementation that much faster and smoother.”

Image by Topher Scott Photography©

Image by Topher Scott Photography©

Topher recently became a member at of the NGLCCNY, is in the process of becoming a Certified LGBTBE, and has joined the MediaComs Committee, led by Gonzo Araya, where he hopes to help implement more social engagement: “I want to help brands and NGLCCNY members understand the power of digital assets and how to maximize capturing assets that really are worth their time and money.” He said he wants to educate members how to get the most out of any photoshoot, and potentially offer discounted photo rates to members to help boost their brands. “Images do have power, and because of all the technology, a lot of the rules have changed.” For that reason, Topher said it is essential to bring life and fun to his photo sessions to ensure capturing authenticity in his subjects. He recently shot the NGLCCNY Executive Committee for the rollout of the new rebrand. 

Image by Topher Scott Photography©

Shifting our focus to Topher Scott on a more personal level, the photographer has a passion for music and travel; but don’t expect to see him snapping photos on his trips: “I like to be immersed in travel experiences — I think it’s very important for me as an artist to be present when I am not working so I get inspired and recharged. It enriches my perspective when I am behind a camera for a client.” That being said, it is also one of Topher’s dreams to do more work in foreign settings like China or Japan and connect with brands that are not necessarily from the US to add a unique cultural diversification to his art.

To learn more about Topher, see some of his work, or to set up a photoshoot, head to topherscott.nyc. To see his work in action click here!

You can follow Topher on 

Instagram: @topherscottnyc
Facebook: @topherscott
Twitter: @topherscottnyc

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.

NextWorks Monthly LGBT Networking Event

Next Magazine & Voss Events invite you to NextWorks. The return of New York's monthly LGBT networking event. Music by DJ Lady Bunny.


November 5th, 2015
 6:00pm to 9:00pm

This event is free by RSVP. To RSVP please click here

For more information about Next Magazine or it's parent company contact Kevin Hopper at kevinhopper@mmplgbt.com or visit them by clicking here

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

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

Leading the Conversation. Shaping the Media Narrative. Changing the Culture. That's GLAAD at Work.

NGLCCNY is honored to have GLAAD as our October 2015 Non-Profit Spotlight. For 30 years GLAAD has been stepping in and standing up for the LGBT community by documenting how the community has been treated as well as re-writing the narrative of the LGBT community as part of the fabric that makes up this country.

While advances towards equality have been made over the last 30 years, including marriage equality his past June, there continue to be barriers for full equality. LGBT persons still struggle to be treated with dignity and respect as human beings.

GLAAD continues to lead the way in developing programming to establish dialogues for greater understanding and accelerated acceptance of LGBT persons in communities across the country. In 2014 GLAAD commissioned a Harris Poll surveying America’s acceptance of LGBT people. The spectrum goes from accepting and supportive to hostile and uncomfortable and those in the middle. To that end it is clear that full acceptance, and full equality are a ways away.

GLAAD is actively changing the culture of acceptance across the board via their daily work which includes educating news media on delivering fair and accurate information about those living with HIV in the United States, researching and reporting on LGBT representation in TV and film, and GLAAD’s Southern Stories initiative tells the stories of LGBT people and their allies in the South to create a cultural shift towards LGBT acceptance and understanding in the region.

Recently, GLAAD released "The Papal Visit: A journalist’s guide to reporting on Pope Francis and the LGBT Community”. The guide became a resource for both English and Spanish speaking media to gain understanding of the Pope’s actions and statements about the LGBT Community. The guide offers resources for anyone interested in learning more about LGBT Catholics, LGBT supportive Catholics and LGBT Catholic organizations. The Guide also includes the opposition among Catholics and some Catholic organizations and those who have invoked Catholicism in opposition of the LGBT community.

As experts in Media Communications, GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project has been instrumental in stopping the spread of harmful misinformation about the LGBT community and objectively reporting on the country’s anti-gay activist.

Each year GLAAD recognizes Spirit Day, a national rally against bullying. Since its inception in 2010 a growing number of schools, and prominent firms, celebrities and organizations band together and go purple to show support for LGBT youth.

Take a stand against bullying. Pledge to go purple for Spirit Day.

With all the great work and accomplishments at and by GLAAD. “Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBT people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Accelerating acceptance will require the help of not just LGBT people, but also their allies – everyday Americans who feel strongly and take an active role to make sure that their LGBT friends and family are fully accepted members of society.”

For resources or to learn more about accelerating acceptance at home in the workplace or in faith based organizations contact GLAAD.org

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

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

Monday, October 5, 2015

Think Socio

An innovative consulting firm for Procurement, Socio Experiences changes the "administrative function" mindset to one of "business partner," through shared experiences: “It is a development, accountability and sustainability platform to help procurement align with stakeholders and suppliers,” according to Socio partners Gonzo Araya and Jeremy Bellman.

Gonzo and Jeremy are no strangers to the business world. Since 2008, the two have been successfully running L7z Group: a digital strategy firm focused on helping senior marketing stakeholders humanize their brands.

“With the L7z model, Procurement was our conduit to the Stakeholder. Aligning as partners, L7z and Procurement, more often than not, was the only way to get to the stakeholder quicker and with a more aligned offering. This also meant understanding struggles that Procurement goes through internally. We began to quickly see them as our business partners. We also began to realize that nobody is servicing Procurement to help them with their struggles. Inspiration began...Socio in Spanish means ‘Partner,’” Gonzo said.

Socio targets the Chief Procurement Officers and Senior Vice Presidents at global 500 brands, and Gonzo said that the conversations have already started. “People are the root of all challenges.” He referenced a study done by Ardent Partners in 2014: “59% of CPOs feel they don’t have enough resources to manage procurement operations effectively; another 59% of CPOs feel their isn’t a sufficient pool of trained procurement talent available to hire; and 70% of companies feel they have a shortage of skilled staff. The struggle is real and we understand that. Not only from the lens as a supplier but also as someone who’s sourced marketing and technology services during my corporate years.”

"With Socio, Stakeholders get what they need, Procurement gets what they value and Suppliers get what they want," Gonzo said.

Gonzo Araya, Partner
Socio Experiences

Jeremy and Gonzo are not only partners in work, but also in life. Knowing both of them on a familial level, I have observed symmetry between the men that harmoniously translates into their professional world. Their mutual motivation along with their natural knack for networking is a formula for achievement. 

Jeremy Bellman, Partner
Socio Experiences

Gonzo and Jeremy both lived in Fort Lauderdale, and despite their social propensities, the two did not cross paths for 13 years. Gonzo lived in Fort Lauderdale for 16 years, Jeremy for 14; and they both attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Fate finally brought them together a year before they took their business and lives to New York City in 2009. Shortly after relocating, the two overheard a conversation about the NGLCCNY at a restaurant in Chelsea: “The table next to us was pitching the restaurant owner. This was the first time we ever heard of the chamber. We were intrigued, asked, and shortly became one of the few first certified LGBTBEs,” Gonzo stated.

Like L7z, Socio is LGBTE Certified and will potentially become NMSDC certified as well. “We wouldn’t have it any other way,” stated Gonzo, who has volunteered at the NGLCCNY since 2009 and currently serves as Media Communications Chair. His responsibilities include overseeing all event communications throughout the year, managing the chamber’s digital platforms, video production, and photography, and ensuring consistent brand integrity. “I’m also engaged in creating local community partnerships and leading vision forward conversations with my fellow Executive Chairs,” Gonzo stated. “It’s a lot of responsibility and I could not do this without the help of my fellow Executive Chairs and my committee team,” which includes Sean Franklin, Jamon Lyons, Topher Scott and myself.

If NGLCC has done anything for me, it has opened my eyes to opportunity, allowed me to be inspired and helped me be inspirational to others. This is all about business and personal growth and we all need it…just like most of us need a little therapy; it’s ok!”

As for the immediate future of the chamber, Gonzo said to expect greater alignment with the national branch NGLCC: “There will be a quarterly mini-conference and a new identity rollout that is a direct extension from NGLCC, as the official New York local office of the national.”  Plus, Gonzo stressed the benefits of attending the mini-conference on October 14th, hosted by JPMorgan & Chase: “If you are a certified LGBTBE, you will want to attend the NYC fall event to leverage opportunities to fuel your business growth.” To learn more and to register please click here

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.

Tony Winner Jeanine Tesori and Fun Home Discount

Fun Home based on comic strip writer Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir. The show is multi layered and plays out in 3 stages as it weaves the story of a young girl's view of her life, her family and how she comes to terms with certain aspects of her life that have shaped the person she becomes and accepts. It demonstrates how far the LGBT community has come and how it has affected the ways we see ourselves and the world around us. It has been on Broadway for about a year and really made its mark regarding the beauty, originality and the difficulty we all experience as part of our families, coming out and finding ourselves and the ways in which we fit with our families and community.

There has never been a play or musical like this on Broadway especially one that is so beautifully crafted that it captures both critics and audiences attention, admiration and praise.

While many associated with this production were nominated for a Tony Award for their contribution. The Fun Home family won in their 3 of their nominated categories including the writer & lyricist, music and director.

Lisa Kron (L) and Jeanine Tesori (R)
Tony Award Winners for Best Original Score
for Fun Home

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeanine Tesori, who alongside Lisa Kron, made Broadway history by being the first female duo to win Tony for their work music and book and lyrics respectively.

Jeanine Tesori is an American composer and musical arranger. She is the most prolific and honored female theatrical composer in history, with five Broadway musicals, four Tony nominations. She won the 1999 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play for Nicholas Hytner's production of Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center and the 2004 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music for Caroline, or Change, and the 2015 Tony Award for Best Original Score for Fun Home.

She shared her thoughts on her inspiration for the show, its acclaim and her Tony win.

Would you share with us what it took for you to get to this Tony award winning place, particularly around this show, what inspired or what drew you  to this story how did you come about getting involved?

Lisa Kron actually brought it to my attention. I didn’t know the book I’m sorry to say or in a way I’m glad to say because the way that I first read it, I read it was with a musical in mind and that was helpful. Not knowing it and seeing it immediately as source material I think was helpful.

What did you think of the memoir?

I think you have to be a pretty hard-boiled egg to not be moved by that story and the way it’s told. She is such a complicated and wonderful person. She is so insistent upon being so open and yet she is completely private. There are these parts of her that don’t align that I think make her story even more compelling. She so compelling when you put her on stage and there aren’t that many authors that you could do that with.

How did you find the process of approaching someone like Alison to do this? Was Alison on board right away?

She’s been pretty candid about thinking she didn’t know why anyone would want to or how it could be done? She’s said in the past she thought it would be some light hearted – I wouldn’t say a romp, but something very light. It’s interesting that she would think that. I remember thinking...did you read your book? So I think when you have an objective eye –
Lisa and I had enough in common with Sam, I feel that we are fully represented for many, many reasons for being able to tell that story.

Alison didn’t allow the movie rights because she thought she couldn’t live with it being a bad movie but could live with it being a bad musical. That really made me laugh. Because of course a bad musical would just close and a bad movie would be around forever.

Did you find it a challenge to bring to Broadway or to stage?

A challenge is definitely the word. It felt impossible at many, many points and I just thought this is never going to happen and it’s because we weren’t a talented group of people but, it was such a reach to write this kind of show. That feeling of being in the woods and in the weeds a lot was not my favorite feeling and I often do everything to avoid that and that means procrastinating, fleeing and wrestling with it and because it’s nonlinear story – really difficult to tell.

It’s unwieldy because you’re dealing with memory, so in a way it means that people can fly, they can turn green because memories are limitless, in a way. They are mixed up with a character revising what happened or it opens up a whole landscape of thought and putting things together. A musical is built by inevitability and what made these 3 things, these 3 strands, the present and 2 in the past inevitable and why would one be presented 20 minutes in and not 23 minutes it was absolutely maddening. So we just stuck with it and it was definitely difficult.

What would you say to anyone working to make their Broadway dreams a reality?

I think they would have to keep putting in front of an audience and learn. There is no other way than to put it in front of an audience that’s what I think is most difficult about this art. It’s not that you can hand a book to your friends and have them give you feedback, it exists in time and space through using actors and then it has to be lit and in a proscenium or black box or in the round. There’s no other way to understand a theater piece until you create it in front of an audience.

Who were you biggest supporters while making the show?

I would say first of all Allison. She got on board as soon as she heard the demo. She was a fantastic supporter, the number one, her wife, Holly, my agent John Pesetti, Lisa’s agent Patrick Harold and of course Sam Gold he was with us. Then when we got to the public theater, all of the people at the public theater were really incredible, the commercial producers, anyone who signed on to make this became a huge supporter.

Personally, how has this entire experience been for you? Did you ever think I’m going to make Broadway history?

No, the helpful thing about me was that I started out at 19. I was just a gigging musician. That mindset, I wouldn’t say is not a lofty one it’s a very solid one. It was just about making a living and learning and expanding what it is that I can do. I was really trained to constantly be a student. That has really been helpful. My feet are always on ground and often in shoes covered in mud. I mean they just are and I’m thrilled beyond measure how this has happened. The way it was made, that’s it was made and how it’s been received. The people that I’ve made it with, that is a dream come true. and yet it’s another show out of  the 8 that I’ve written and I’m the 9th one. So it’s both and it’s a balance. I couldn’t be prouder and every time someone emails me about it or says it has affected them it just re-energizes me. Not just in an ego way but in a way that reminds you the next time you’re in the weeds, in the woods which is what happens when you write a show, you have to stay with that and figure out your mess.  Not to get out of the mess, but that doing the work is going to lead you out of the that darkness and then you’ll’ make another piece of work. That has been another profound lesson of going ahead anyway when you are so unsure about what you’re doing.

I so love the open table of critics sitting down with artists and actors sitting down with directors and just seeing what it’s like on both sides of the table. This is one that is really helpful to understand on both sides that is why I so appreciate when people call and tell me if they were moved and what it like to see it and if they’re interested I can regale them endlessly.

There is a spectrum to the acceptance of the show. Some folks love being a place of going to see a show that resonates with them and they are moved beyond words and at the same time there are those that are moved in a visceral way because it resonates too much. How has it been to hear that your piece moved someone to tears?

I think it is more evidence that we are much more alike than we are different. That anything that makes a room of 700 people make it a collective. It’s very powerful. And in a day and age where there is more and more isolation, it is so important to be in the room.

There’s that great song in Hamilton about being in the room when it happens. I attribute that to theater, you want to be in the room when that happens. That’s the power of story-telling. The power of radio - hearing a disembodied voice causes then you begin to use your imagination and what the rest is like. There is a power of sitting and witnessing theater and seeing yourself on stage and coming out just a little transformed. I have always believed in the power of the musical. I have never felt any kind cynicism or a condescension to the form.
It is such a beautiful form, there are so many things you can do with it. It’s like a master mix, it’s an American master mix. Musicals can accept so many different kinds of artists and I think we are in this stage where we’re seeing that right now. The brain trust is coming back to musicals. So it’s very exciting to be part of that. I feel it’s why I’ve been studying musicals all along without knowing what I was studying for.

What’s next?

Right now, I’m putting my final season together for City Center. I do the off-Center Encores that we do off-Broadway Season. This is my fourth season coming and my final one. Basically, we produce 13 shows in about 3 weeks. It requires an intense amount of planning that happens right now. I’m writing a new piece with David Lindsay-Abaire and a movie musical and I’m working on a piece about Liberia that I love very much. There’s a lot and they are just bubbling. I’m back in development!

What inspires you? What are you listening and reading?

I love classical musical more than anything. There a lot of bands I love like talking heads and the pretenders.  Dan Savage, the Podcast on being, memoirs and biographies, I’m a fiend for all that. Agnes De Mille book on Martha Graham. I love going to hear things that students have written. I love to go hear plays. My imagination really catches fire. Musicals are hard for me, I work, my ear and mind start working and I quite can’t free myself. Anything by Sondheim and Lin-Manuel. Anything new and under the radar festivals. Anything that my students at Yale are doing. My daughter is 18 and she was working at Spring Awakening. She’s practically fluent in sign language and got a job as assistant there. Watching whatever she’s doing is really inspiring.

Any message you’d like to send out to the universe, what would it be?

I would say probably inspiration, to keep it going because it’s so much easier to stop. In everything, it’s so much easier to stop. I think life has so many complications. At my age I’m seeing them all of them. I think that at middle age is such a time of wisdom. You look forward and back as much as one can. I’m noticing the patterns. In the mess, to know the only way out is through, not over and under. The wisdom is always in kids’ songs…you have to go through it and know that you will come on the other side. You don’t know what you’re going to find there as you through it and that’s the adventure.

The Fun Home family has graciously extended a promotional discount to experience this brilliant show.
It is valid for $75 tickets now through November 1 for performances 10/27-11/1.

To get the special discount enter code: FHSTAFF14 when clicking here.

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

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

Accelerate.LGBT in NYC!

The afternoon of November 2nd 2015

Google New York (9th Ave Entrance)

A FREE afternoon event featuring speakers and hands on help from Google and Automattic, the makers of WordPress and more

Automattic and Google are partnering with local LGBT based nonprofits and businesses to support the LGBT community. NGLCCNY Members are encouraged to not miss this opportunity. All events are free and focused on helping these nonprofits and businesses accelerate their web presence through sessions related to the following:

  • Managing and developing your AdWords account
  • Google’s Small Business Supplier Diversity Program
  • Website creation and development
  • Information architecture to strengthen the UX of your site
  • Learning how to engage younger audiences with your brand
  • Important considerations for your eCommerce website
  • Navigating SEO
  • Integration of Google products into your WordPress.com site
  • Optimizing your site for today’s mobile-first world

To RSVP for this event, 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 Sean@NGLCCNY.org.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tony Winning Play "FUN HOME" offering Special Discount to Chamber Members

FUN HOME, winner of 5 Tony Awards including Best Musical, is offering a 20% discount for all NGLCCNY Chamber members. The show is currently running at the Circle in the Square Theater locates at 235 West 50th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue).

FUN HOME is based on comic strip writer Alison Blechdel's graphic memoir. The show is multi-layered and plays out in 3 stages as it weaves the story of a young girl's view of her life, her family and how she comes to terms with certain aspects of her life that have shaped the person she becomes and accepts. It demonstrates how far the LGBT community has come and how it has affected the ways LGBT see ourselves and the world around us. It has been on Broadway for about a year and really made its mark regarding the beauty, originality and the difficulty we all experience as part of our families, coming out and finding our selves and the ways in which we fit with our families.

There has never been a play or musical like this on Broadway especially one that is so beautifully crafted that captures both critics and audiences attention, admiration and praise.

FUN HOME features music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, and direction by Sam Gold, all of whom won 2015 Tony Awards for their work on this production. Don't miss your opportunity to see such a profound show.

Writer Alison Blechdel is also known for the long running comic strip "Dykes To Watch Out For"

For discount seats use Code FHSTAFF14 and click here. The code is valid for $75 tickets on sale now through November 1. Tickets are for performances between October 27 - November 1. 

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

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