Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Women Spotlight: Meet Sacred Walker

Sacred Walker, Founder and Executive Director
Kuumba Health LLC

Sacred Walker hails from Kingston, Jamaica. She credits her loving and supportive family in creating the solid foundation on which she stands. Included in that are her family’s values, healing, spirituality as being central to your professional work. "They instilled that a positive relationship with yourself, positive sense of self, how you care for yourself will all help you to put your best foot forward and help you succeed throughout your day," says Sacred. She is grateful to that part of her formative years and how that has influenced how she shows up in her work and life. Today, Sacred is the Founder and Executive Director of Kuumba Health LLC, a woman-led health and advocacy organization that convenes holistic retreats and workshops for practitioners to exemplify core principles to community members.

How did you find your way to your work / company / community?

Living in Kingston I learned that it is not always accepting and finding safe spaces would be central. I found a place called Oasis and I’m still in touch with the owners. It was a place that I found during my research time in grad school. I had the fortune to partner with other business professionals and create sanctuary spaces for LGBT Jamaicans. Even though the space was not defined as spiritual it had an uplifting spirit to it.  These professionals were doctors, lawyers and paraprofessionals what we called the uptown community. I was fortunate to connect with members of Friends of Jamaican Lesbian and Gays who helped us find sanctuary through poetry, talking, networking in Jamaica as LGBT Jamaicans.

I found that even with the value system that I was raised in, I still had to find the sanctuary spaces of which Oasis was one of them. That has informed what I think of as heart medicine. That’s why I’m called to do this work. It is to create the same sanctuary spaces that were created for me so I can now create it for others who need it.

You hear a lot about the anti-LGBT sentiment in Jamaica, how difficult and how much of a challenge was it for you to identify people who might not seem out or be fully out? To create those communities?

Around the world, I have seen the challenges that are not particular to Kingston. I think that Jamaica gets a reputation because of the music. Often, American dancehall has homophobic lyrics that many LGBT advocates in Jamaica have pushed to shift. Many in the states, across the globe have started to put their foot down and have said, “we are not going to support this." I think it’s about values alignment. We try our best to focus on how the aches we have experienced along the way can be used as medicine in strengthening ourselves.

How easy /challenging was it for you to be out in Jamaica? It is the same as it is everywhere else? How did you find you way to the NGLCC?

I was invited by Mary Blanchett to a meeting last year as her guest. She told me about the chamber. I wasn’t sure if there were going to be other women, if there would be any interest in wellness. I was curious if there would be any aligning missions. My first M3 event was at Slate. At the time, I had just met someone who was doing work in China. I got to the first event and I got into a the most amazing conversation with Steven Warren, Owner of Chinamerica Radio. We talked about culture, issues that come up and for me it was the “A-HA” moment that I had felt in Oasis. The feeling that felt I’m very much in the right place. I attended a few times before joining, now I’m in the process of getting certified and I’m looking forward to growing with the chamber.

What has been your impression of the nglccNY?

This chamber really does value diversity and Inclusion as well as aligning work/life balance by creating spaces that help people connect.

What is the #1 reason someone comes to you?

We really are a relational business. The #1 reason is that an individual is relationship breakdowns. That includes personal and professional.

What is the best way membership can reach you?

The Kuumba Health website, our services and events are listed and we offer the ability to schedule a call or meeting with me.

What is one thing you want the membership to know about you?

I’ll give you two things. 1. I love to dance! I am a wonderful dance partner. 2. My focus is being a soulful professional. We really are about helping individuals tap in to the sense that of … not only am I valuable, how do I continue to find value in the work place, how do I connect to community.

What is your message to the universe?

Its 3-fold. 1. You have a right to be full of joy. Claim it! Claim your joy! 2. Shift your relationship to love, it will change your life. 3. Have your values and your work aligned.

Drop a comment and get connected with Sacred and Kuumba Health:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion and Programming,

Organizational Development Consultant, Strategic Remedy Group

Monday, April 10, 2017

Member Spotlight: Arvelo Architecture & Design

Ruperto Arvelo, owner of Arvelo Architecture & Design, began his journey through inspiration, education, a new place to call home and the desire to open his own business. Born in New Jersey and inspired by his boss to further his graduate studies, Arvelo received his master's degree from Syracuse University. Shortly after graduating he became an in-house architect for Thompson Financial Services and worked for global firms like Robert A.M. Stern, Rockwell Group and Gensler. It was through this experience, and not letting the imminent recession period ruin his hunger for entrepreneurialism, that he decided to try to venture on his own.

Ruperto Arvelo, Owner
Arvelo Architecture & Design

After a year in business, Arvelo decided to take the next step. “After a year of working from my apartment in my pajamas, which I loved, I realized I missed the collaboration of working in a group. So, I decided to rent a space and hire professionals to work with,” said Arvelo. “It was a great decision,” he said.

Today, Arvelo Architecture & Design celebrates a milestone of 10 years in business as a group of licensed architect and interior designers that love to collaborate to create great public and private spaces for clients.

How does Arvelo Architecture & Design remain competitive and flexible to its clients when trying to deliver in three different markets – NYC, Miami and Puerto Rico?

At Arvelo, we create something special and unique for every client which reflects who they are and their needs, while also responding to the programmatic issues that they might have in their new spaces. We start each project by analyzing, brainstorming and qualifying best responses for our clients’ needs and wants and coming up with solutions. We leverage each line of work that we do; office interiors, hospitality and high-end residential work. We might find products, styles and techniques typically used in commercial projects and apply them to residential projects, and vice versa.

As a Certified LGBTBE and a member of nglccNY, how do you leverage your membership and how were you introduced?

nglccNY gave me the opportunity to meet other professionals and exchange ideas, collaborate, learn best practices and just keep the mindset of business development. I was first introduced to the chamber by Richard Oceguera and once I came to the first meeting I decided this was the group for me. The focus is growing our businesses and supporting each other in the process with like-minded people. As time moves on, we all learn more and more about each other and find ways to support and help each other grow. It's a great community.

Innovation is top of mind amongst everyone buying services today, what innovative items are you exploring?

With today’s technology, everybody is exposed to all the new things that are coming out in the market. We of course, must know about all these new innovations to remain competitive and relevant in our industry. However, I feel the most difficult part is putting the entire puzzle together. As architects and interior designers, we are like orchestra directors. It is not just important to design a beautiful, practical and enjoyable space. It is important that we do it in a manner that is within budget and within timeline. Hiring the right professional assures that things will be done right which in the long-run, saves you time and money. I often see that people try to do it on their own, thinking that our services are too expensive and they will save money. Especially with these DIY shows that make things seem so easy. Then weeks, months and sometimes even years go by with an incomplete project – on top of all the headaches. So, I tell people, save yourselves the headaches and the money, and hire a professional. Need a quote? 😁

From a social corporate responsibility perspective, how does Arvelo impact community growth?

For me it’s very important to give back and share with younger generations all the things that I have learned throughout the years. I have taught at different universities; the latest being Parsons in NYC and previously at Berkeley College and Syracuse University. I also love to volunteer and go to high schools and talk about my experiences not only as an architect and as a Latino, but also as a gay person. Currently we are also exploring ways that we can help people that typically feel they cannot afford our services so that they too can be able to enjoy a beautiful environment where to live and work. For this we are offering one or two-hour consultations to help people in their spaces.

I was intrigued to learn that Ruperto is a spiritual person, as I consider to be one myself. He believes that life is for us to grow in every manner; spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally and our souls. Life is about expanding, for him. “For me it's about reaching a balanced life where we can enjoy our work, our relationships and our personal lives. And I feel the environment we live in helps us reach this balance in life,” he said. 

You see in Ruperto’s eyes, our workspaces, our cities and the world influence what we are and all that we hope to become. If this is your life goal, perhaps Ruperto Arvelo’s firm is the right firm for you.

Drop a Comment & Get Connected:
Office: 212 203.7852

Email: ruperto@arvelodesign.com 
Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest 
| Houzz

Interview by 
Gonzo Araya,
Executive Chair, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Cheif Creative Officer, Socio

What's your story? 

Please contact me at Gonzo@NGLCCNY.org.

Socio is a creative, communications and customer experience agency shaping how companies do business. A certified LGBT Business Enterprise.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Chinamerica Radio Invites You to the NYC Small Business Expo

Steve Warren, nglccNY member and certified LGBT Business Enterprise, Chinamerica Radio, would like to invite all members of nglccNY to be their guest to attend the upcoming Small Business EXPO at the Javits Center on Thursday May 11, 2017 from 9am-5pm. 

Steve Warren, Executive Producer
Chinamerica Radio

"It’s an excellent opportunity to discover many resources available to business owners and entrepreneurs. Plenty of free seminars, networking, and vendor booths," said Warren.

Chinamerica Radio will be there in Booth #221 and is encouraging nglccNY colleagues to stop by, say hello, and see them in action. Click here and select Free Badge to register. 

Read more information about this expo here. To learn more about Chinamerica Radio and its staff, please visit here

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

What's your story? 
Please contact me at 

Socio is certified LGBTBE creative and communication agency shaping how companies do business. 

Member Spotlight: Brian Boyd

Abilene, Kansas - Home to President Eisenhower and home to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, also happens to be home to this small town (population of 7K, estimated) gentleman, Brian Boyd.

With initial aspirations to go into the medical field, today he finds himself in the Financial Services Industry. “After realizing the time commitments to go into the medical field were not to my advantage, I was given an opportunity in Tampa, FL to become a mortgage broker,” said Boyd. “I was trained and my income took off,” he said. Freedom and the flexibility to travel is what Boyd always wanted and being self-employed allowed him to do just that. After the mortgage market collapsed, he found himself going into insurance, where he can still be self-employed, maintain his steady income and a healthy work / life balance.

Boyd is an Allstate Agent servicing mostly Manhattan based businesses. “I used to work for State Farm. They are a great company; however, most mutual companies will not allow you to write business for anyone except themselves. Allstate allows their agents to write not just Allstate business, but many, many other carriers as well – I never have to say no to a client,” he said.

After being single, Boyd gave himself permission to make the big jump to the Big Apple and live his love of big cities. He was introduced to NGLCCNY by his good friend Aaron Pratt shortly upon moving. He’s made great personal and professional connections and was also asked to join the Ambassador Committee – “When asked by Phyllis to be an Ambassador, I was honored. I have enjoyed ambassadorship since 2015,” said Boyd.

If you haven’t met Brian Boyd, please do. He’s resourceful, honest, agile, charming and responsive – even through text; that’s how I became a client! He’s helped with acquiring my Errors & Omissions and General Liability insurance for my business and we’ll soon be talking retirement. Brian enjoys doing what others seldom do and that’s educating consumers on – securities, options and how to get started.

When not doing insurance, look to the sky, he loves flying and may be getting a pilot’s license sometime soon.

NGLCCNY Ambassador or Allstate Agent – “You are in good hands,” with Brian.

Drop a Comment & Get connected:
Office: 212 688.1200
Mobile: 212 961.7374
Email: brianboyd@allstate.com
Website | Facebook | TwitterLinkedInYelp 

Interview by 
Gonzo Araya,
Executive Chair, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Cheif Creative Officer, Socio

What's your story? 

Please contact me at Gonzo@NGLCCNY.org.

Socio is a creative, communications and customer experience agency shaping how companies do business. A certified LGBT Business Enterprise.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Non-Profit Spotlight: GLAAD

For over 30 years, GLAAD has been at the forefront of cultural change, accelerating acceptance for the LGBTQ community.

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBT acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.

Working with journalists and news outlets in print, broadcast, and online, GLAAD serves as a resource to newsmakers and works to ensure that the news media is accurately and fairly representing LGBTQ people in its reporting. For Example, in response to reports that the Trump Administration canceled plans to add the LGBTQ community to its upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, a survey conducted every decade by the federal government to help collect data about living Americans and the United States of America.

Sarah Kate Ellis
President & CEO, GLAAD

“By erasing LGBTQ Americans from the 2020 U.S. Census, the Trump Administration is adding a disgusting entry to a long list of tactics they’ve adopted to legally deny services and legitimacy to hard-working LGBTQ Americans. The Trump Administration is trying hard to erase the LGBTQ community from the fabric of America, but visibility has always been one of the LGBTQ community’s greatest strengths.” Sara Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD.

Now more than ever is it important to support the work of an organization that has been accelerating LGBTQ acceptance. The GLAAD Media Awards in New York will take place at the New York Hilton Midtown on Saturday, May 6, 2017. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives. They also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBTQ community that build support for equality. For tickets to this powerful and star studded event please visit here.

Stay in the know with GLAAD through social media: glaad.org, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.

Get involved: Join | Donate 

Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion and Programming, NGLCCNY

Organizational Development Consultant, Strategic Remedy Group