Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Craig de Thomas: A Philanthropic Spirit with an Infectious Passion

Craig de Thomas, Chief Executive Officer
Insignia-BNT National Title Agency

“We have this unwritten social contract and obligation to tell the generations coming up behind us that we are making things better for you…but we have to prove it,” stated born and bred New Yorker, Craig de Thomas.
Craig de Thomas is the Chief Executive Officer at Insignia-BNT National Title Agency, a company that he founded after years of building a name for himself in both the title insurance and real estate industries: “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” Craig stated.  
Craig said he learned from the people who he was exposed to from the time he started in 1986.  He wanted to run a company with a comfortable and diverse environment for his employees: “They are safe and they want to work hard because they see their leaders working hard…and it’s not just about the buck.”
Insignia opened in 2008 and Craig said that their goal is to continue growing with the pace of the economy and the market. Boston National Title recently merged with Insignia National Title Agency, creating a stronger presence for the company in the in both the New York and national market place.

Craig with business partner Scott Kupfermand attending office holiday party.

“I wanted success and I want to give back…I want to be a trailblazer.” Craig said that he came from a working class family with little money growing up. This is part of the reason why his passion for philanthropy in the LGBT community is just as strong as his desire to maintain financial success: “I am paying it forward. Philanthropy is not just writing a check; it’s really believing in a cause and staying committed to that cause until the end,” he stated.
Since 2003, Craig has raised over one hundred thousand dollars for Aids Walk NY, which benefits the Gay Men’s Health Crisis: “It was very important for me to know that I was helping other people.” His involvement with GMHC expanded to multiple sponsored events and a spot on the board of directors. Craig said fundraising and charitable work are simultaneously be difficult and fun.  He said you must be passionate in talking to and about the people affected by the cause you are raising money for, and those passions will become infectious: “You will not see results unless your passions show through.”
Craig with bookkeeper Ann Calderone and Sales Rep. Jay Di Frietus attending office holiday party.

In 2010, Craig was looking for a professional networking community within the LGBT community. After attending a retreat hosted by the NGLCCNY and a Members Monthly Mixer, Craig was invested: “I loved the social aspect of it, decided to hit more M3s, and it turned out that I knew a lot of people already. I quickly became engaged to elevate my company’s visibility within my community. I prove to people that I am committed to allowing my company to be part of the change that we are moving fast toward.”
Not only did Craig participate in NGLCCNY events, he also became a Premiere Sponsor at their annual Rising Star Fundraiser and worked with the chamber to provide them affordable office space.
Through the NGLCCNY, Craig created a group of real estate, finance and banking professionals called Community Lynx; which he describes as an organic spin-off from the chamber: “It’s all about utilizing ourselves through the LBGT community with the goal of helping each one of us prosper and grow.”
Craig said he will continue to work with the chamber’s leadership to help their organization grow. Last year Craig went to the chamber’s National dinner, and he will be attending the national conference this month.
Craig and Izzy celebrating the holidays!

When Craig has a moment to spare for himself, he takes advantage of everything New York City has to offer. You may see him biking up and down Chelsea Piers, or checking out the latest restaurants. If you live in the Chelsea neighborhood, you may know him as Izzy’s dad. Craig’s adorable King Charles Spaniel is often referred to as Lady Isabella Von Craig: The Duchess of Chelsea. She even has her own following on Social Media.

To learn more about Insignia, check out their website or find them on Facebook.

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

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