Friday, December 8, 2017

Corporate Spotlight: Bank of America / Josh Lemke

“Bank of America invests in diverse businesses to drive sustainable economic growth because when diverse suppliers succeed, the diverse communities that Bank of America serves, thrive,” says Josh E. Lemke, Bank of America’s SVP; Procurement Executive, Supplier Diversity & Development.

Josh E. Lemke
Bank of America's SVP

Procurement Executive,
Supplier Diversity & Development

Lemke believes that by having intentional programs focused on supplier diversity they can have a positive impact on our communities. This motivates him every day to continue doing what they do at Bank of America and to constantly try to do better. 

Born and raised in South Dakota, Josh E. Lemke started out at Arizona State University (ASU) and, while his initial thought was to go onto medical or law school, he ultimately landed in ASU's business school, where he majored in Supply Chain Management (SCM).   
“I didn’t even know what SCM really was so I did some more research and learned that ASU had one of the top SCM programs in the country. Upon graduation, Bank of America recruited me into their Supply Chain Management Associate program, which is a two-year rotational program. Twelve years on, I am still with the Bank,” he said.

Bank of America’s supplier diversity program has been in place for 27 years, so he had the opportunity to get involved with the program very early in his career. He was excited to be a part of a team in 2007 – very early in his career – that helped the bank achieve a goal of 15% of their procurement spend with diverse suppliers. Since then, he's been a huge advocate for supplier diversity. 

About five years ago, a Supplier Diversity executive asked Lemke to serve as the bank’s primary contact for the NGLCC. That’s when he started attending supplier diversity conferences and really began to understand the impact that supplier diversity programs have on diverse-owned companies and local communities. After attending conferences, he was always really motivated to come back to work and share what he learned with his team, and do his best to introduce all the great business owners he’d met to the right people.  Now, in his current role as the Procurement executive for Supplier Diversity and Development, he's able to commit all of his time and energy to supplier diversity.

Describe some challenges integrating new diverse suppliers into your current supplier chain.

Keeping our clients’ personal and financial information protected and secure through responsible information collection, processing, and use practices is of utmost importance to the bank, and finding diverse suppliers that meet our very stringent information security requirements can be challenging.    

What are common mistakes that diverse suppliers make when approaching Bank of America?

A common mistake that I experience is when a vendor tells me they can provide whatever I need. What I’d really like to know is what is your "one thing" that you do really well and how is that going to solve a problem that Bank of America is experiencing.

What are three things LGBTBEs can do best to showcase their capabilities to Bank of America?
  1. Be targeted and specific on what product or service you provide and how it will benefit Bank of America.
  2. Have white papers and/or case studies that demonstrate your successes in solving problems for other companies.
  3. Be prepared to show how you could serve in a tier two capacity if serving as a prime vendor is not the right opportunity.
What categories of LGBTBE owned businesses are best suited to do business with Bank of America?
  1. Professional Services
  2. Construction
  3. Print
  4. Technology / Software
What are your greatest successes in supplier diversity (social / economic impact, community growth, diversity in leadership, etc.)?

The work I am most proud of is the social and economic impacts that we’ve made. Our support of diverse-owned companies – whether through our procurement practices or our Supplier Diversity Development program – helps drive economic impact and job growth in our communities. We also help drive changes in policy and raise awareness of the importance of diversity through the work we do every day around supplier diversity and our involvement with the NGLCC and our other partners also has social impact.
Like Bank of America's employee base, they want their vendors to represent the communities in which they serve and that includes LGBT-owned vendors. Bank of America got involved with NGLCC because they give access to quality businesses that are LGBT-certified. 

Starting in 2018, Bank of America will focus more on ways to support local NGLCC chapters. They’re kicking off this work with nglccNY, by hosting their 10-year anniversary event on January 19 at the bank’s New York headquarters. By getting involved at the local level, they believe they will have more opportunities to interact with LGBT business owners and ultimately increase their diverse spend.    

Bank of America, Josh E. Lemke and nglccNY welcomes you to join us on January 19:
  • LGBTBE Workshop, at 3pm – (for lgbtbe only)
  • M3 Monthly Mixer, 6pm – (for members/guests)
Some fun and interesting facts about Josh E. Lemke:
  • Is a health and fitness enthusiast.
  • Has completed 8 marathons.
  • Recently completed the AIDS Lifecycle, a 545-mile charity bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Drop a Comment, Share & Get Connected!

Josh E. Lemke
Bank of America’s SVP; Procurement Executive,
Supplier Diversity & Development
Office: 980.387.7835

Interview by 
Gonzo Araya,
Executive Chair, Media Communications Committee, nglccNY
Chief Creative Officer, Socio

What's your story? 

Please contact me at

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

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December & Upcoming Events

Featuring local, state and national events for NGLCC, nglccNY, our Membership and Community Partners.

See you at our next event!

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

What's your story? 
Please contact me at 

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

Non-Profit Spotlight: Destination Tomorrow

Preparing LGBT Communities today

DESTINATION TOMORROW is a grassroots agency located in the South Bronx that provides services to and for the LGBTQ community led by the passionate and laser focused Executive Director, Sean Coleman.

Mr. Coleman has dedicated himself, up to and including his personal finances to ensure that the youth of the South Bronx do not have to leave their community to search for needed services and support which enables them to strive and thrive in space they can call their own.

As a local, Mr. Coleman knew first hand the challenges of growing up struggling to reconcile his own identity. As Coleman shared, “It was truly a struggle because when I was dealing with issues of gender identity there were no centers that focused on these types of challenges. I am from a Christian upbringing, raised by my grandmother so it never felt like who I was would be understood. I felt like there would be support if only I could articulate what I was feeling. It took a lot of years and soul searching to get the words to define who I was.”

He feels he was one of the lucky ones as he shared the strength and support he received from his grandmother he says, “My grandmother instilled in me that as long as I worked hard I could accomplish any goal I set my mind to.” He carries and shares that message with the young people with whom he works.

When asked about the first place he knew he could turn to for support? Mr. Coleman lights up and shares “Without a doubt, the House and Ballroom community saved my life. This underground social network made up of what society deemed as the “Urban” Gay community became my strength to live in my truth. In that community, I found folks that were whom they wanted to be and didn’t give a damn who didn’t like it. We called each other family and supported one another when our birth family turned their backs, or our community disowned us. We had each other, and it was the best feeling in the world to belong to those who truly understood you.”

Sean Coleman
Founder and Executive Director, Destination Tomorrow

Coleman sharply observes ”Support for Transgender people has almost become trendy in that everyone wants to appear knowledgeable. It has also become more about others writing our narrative and telling our stories. While I am happy that “Trans is trending”, I am sad that there are not more trans led nonprofits or businesses. While our resources and emotional labor is tapped for other’s programs and needs, leadership development is not supported for Transgender folks. We need funding that supports Trans led agencies in order to continue making strides in this movement.”

Coleman has many hopes for the Transgender Community and as he puts it, “My hope for my community is that we are allowed to lead our movement and tell our stories. I hope that the world sees our leadership skills, and life experience as monetarily valuable allowing us to earn a living wage. The average wage for a Trans person of color is $10,000 a year. Who can live on that? We need to begin working to develop the Transgender community into the leaders of tomorrow.”

Coleman started Destination Tomorrow in 2009 out of a frustration that those that are the most at risk were not receiving the care or services needed to improve their overall health outcomes. “When Bronx Community Pride Center closed I recognized that there would be a gap in services. That the LGBT community of color that we had fought so hard to engage would be left without resources. You may think that’s being a bit dramatic since there are other LGBT centers in other boroughs. But when you consider the fact that according to a recent report by Strength in Numbers, the two biggest barriers to care are lack of transportation and food insecurity it makes sense. Many of the clients we served could not afford to travel outside of their neighborhood for services, nor should they have to.”

Seeing the need, Coleman set off to do what he saw fit. “Destination Tomorrow started as a volunteer based services that worked online to assist those looking for competent medical providers. We would make referrals to providers we had relationships with and felt understood what the community needed. In 2012 I took DT offline, cashed out my 401k and set up shop at the Sunshine Incubator located in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. Initially my goal was to continue to provide referrals to those who needed them and create a safe space for LGBT young people, those who had previously been clients of Bronx Pride. We created a drop-in space that allowed the young people to access a safe space while allowing me a chance to really get to know them and their needs. We held focus groups, trainings and workshops around economic empowerment. We learned from our clients that housing and employment were the two most important things in their lives, they needed help finding safe housing and employment that afforded them a living wage. At the same time, we recognized that the Transgender community had a large presence in the Bronx but didn’t have knowledgeable providers engaging them. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of spaces that dealt with “prevention” around HIV/AIDS, but nothing that was working to build support or community. Our goal was to ensure that every member of the LGBT community was supported and had the space to grow into productive members of society. Fast forward, we are now offering: Medical and Mental Health referrals in partnership with Montefiore and NYU, Supportive counseling, support groups, the Haus of Code; a computer coding class, TASC; GED prep course, Financial Literacy in partnership with TD Bank, and Job readiness.”

His hard work and dedication has received attention from Forbes, where Mr. Coleman and Destination Tomorrow are featured as leaders in the community they are lifting up. Click here to read their story

As Mr. Coleman looks to the future he states “The way forward is for all members of the LGBT community to understand that in order to survive we need each other. In the current climate where funding or support from the government is not guaranteed, LGBT businesses will be tasked with helping ensure the lifesaving work done by nonprofits can survive. At the same time, those nonprofits who focus on advocacy and policy will have to work to include protections for small LGBT owned business, speak up about health care and its impact on small businesses. We have to find mutual ground to build sustainable businesses both nonprofit and for profit. I truly believe that happens with the support of nglccNY. You guys set the tone and I am humbled to be a part of something so life changing.”

Coleman is hopeful to help the youth get the support they need to overcome the latest challenge on the horizon. “With the resurgence of Heroin, we have started a syringe exchange program. Clients are allowed to bring their used needles in and are given five new needles and a sharps container for safe disposal. We have applied for our Clia Waiver to be allowed to HIV/STI testing on site or on a mobile unit. To address the housing concerns, we are beginning a supportive housing program for LGBT youth who are aging out of the system. Our goal is to continue to meet our clients where they are, providing them all the skills, tools and support they need to succeed.”

Mr. Coleman was kind enough to answer some intimate questions about the Transgender community and how we can do better to include and lift up the ‘T’ in LGBTQIA+

What are the 3 biggest misconceptions about Transgender persons?

Perhaps the biggest misconception is that Transgender people are confused about who they are, and are mentally unstable. Another is that Transgender people are all sex workers, drug addicted or sexual deviant. Lastly, I’d say that Transgender people are fooling people because they don’t always share their “truth”.

What are things that well-meaning people say that are actually NOT supportive but hurtful or divisive?

One of my favorite is “Wow, I would have never guessed you were born a woman” or allies that want to lead the movement, taking up space that a Trans leader could be in. Creating programs and services thru a lens that is not representative of what Transgender people need or expressed that they wanted. I think we have to redefine what it means to be an ally.

How can LBQTIA/SGL community be Supportive and Active Allies of the Transgender Community? 

Sometimes the best thing well-meaning people can do is just listen, and follow the lead of those who are living this experience.

What are things people CAN do/say that demonstrate support for the Transgender Community?
“What do you need from me/us/ my agency?” Ask that question and then follow up with “how can we create space for you?” In addition, begin sharing the platform that the LGBT community has, raise the questions about violence against Transgender women of color, show up when violence happens to us, invest in our businesses, pay us for our labor, PAY US FOR OUR LABOR. Hire us to meaningful positions, groom us for leadership.

What has been the biggest win for the Transgender community?
In NYC it has been the support from our local politicians. We are more visible than ever and with this visibility should come improved resources and services. My fear is that this support will not benefit those of us who have struggled for a while to bring Trans related issues to the forefront. We need to make sure that this movement is led by Transgender leaders.

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing the Transgender community?
Sometimes the Trans community gets in its own way. It’s like we never had a voice or were seen and finally the veil is removed, and folks begin to see us. At that point, your biggest fear is that this new-found visibility will disappear or be given to someone other than you. So, I would say, infighting is the biggest challenges. Next would be a lack of professional development; our experiences will only get us so far, we need to understand how business works and how we factor in. Lastly, adequate support from our allies.

What can we, as a community, do to be sure we are creating safe and welcoming spaces for all in the community?
Invite Transgender people to the table. Share the resources you find or have found most helpful. Show up when we need you without being prompted. Really show us that our lives matter.

What is your dream or wish for the Destination Tomorrow?
My Dream is to turn DT into a full-service community center in the Bronx. Also, we have just created The Bronx Trans Center (BTC), which is a for profit business that will offer recovery programs and housing for Transgender and Gender non-conforming community members. This recovery will be from either substance abuse/use or after care from Gender Affirming surgery.

How can the membership of the nglccNY support the work of Destination Tomorrow?
We are a small agency; our budget is under $500,000 but we are big in purpose and passion. Support for us would be volunteers who will assist with our GED program or funding to assist with one of our new initiatives.

Considering this climate, ensuring we have the support we need to continue moving forward will be invaluable. Share information about the work we do with your networks and lastly purchase a ticket to our 1st Annual Gala appropriately titled “Dare To Dream”.

Read More

Stay connected socially with Destination Tomorrow

Written by Ingrid Galvez,

Chair, Diversity & Inclusion and Programming,

Organizational Development Consultant, 

Strategic Remedy Group

Strategic Remedy Group is a certified LGBTBE focused on cultivating collaborative communities to propel business success.

Woman Spotlight: Monica Grant

Monica Grant’s company Young Boss Media intentionally creates media that provides positive and meaningful social impact. Her inspiration comes from her sociological and technological observations. Her observations of the rapid decline of the traditional American jobs, inspired her to start Young Boss Economic Club. The Young Boss Economic Club, an action driven mechanism is used to answer the questions of employment in fields where jobs are disappearing for workers being replaced by technology.

Young Boss Media’s keystone program is Master Plan. At Master Plan, Grant interviews entrepreneurs from all industries in minority communities across NYC. The Master Plan offers inspiration, resources and actionable items for creating, sustaining and growing a business in unpredictable times.

Grant understands the challenges of entrepreneurship, the opportunities said challenges present to learn and grow. Her goal is to use the YBM platform and its high-quality program to tackle issues head-on and provide solutions for the next generation of minority entrepreneurs.

Monica Grant
Founder, Young Blood Media

“Young Boss Media uses media as an organizing tool to educate and mobilize millennials in the areas of business, community and politics. As of November 2017, 4 television shows are in production.” Monica Sekhmet Grant

Monica Grant kindly answered a few questions that will enable the nglccNY membership to get to know her and her brands Young Boss Media and Master Plan.

Tell me about Young Boss Media and what prompted you came up with the idea for your business?
Young Boss Media produces business, community and political entertainment television programs for millennials, as well as, filming live events that matter to millennials.

Before becoming a full-time entrepreneur, I was a social justice organizer. I would knock on doors and talk to people about their issues, listen to their stories and envision their hope for the future. Young Boss Media is ultimately a vehicle to examine and promote stories and cultures that are rarely covered in the mainstream media.

In March 2017 we started producing our flagship talk show, Master Plan, which is focused on telling the stories of urban entrepreneurs and community leaders. We now produce several in-studio shows including The Vanguard, covering community issues, As the World Burns, a political satire show, and You Should Know Better, our beloved gameshow.

What sets Young Boss Media apart from others in the same space?
Our passion to tell stories that will empower viewers enough to change their life for the better. From starting a new business to running for office, our goal is to normalize stories of success, passion, wealth creation, power and self-actualization in communities that rarely see positive images of themselves.

I truly believe that what sets us apart the most, is that our desire to fulfill this purpose comes from a raw and authentic place. Every program represents real individuals and not just some grandiose ideas. Our hosts live real lives that connect with other millennials. The goal is not to be famous, just cause, but to tell stories that were once silenced. If this gets us fame, we will still humbly show up to work on the bigger picture each and every day. No gimmicks.

Ideally, who can benefit from your services?
We benefit a few people. Viewers that enjoy our programs, business owners seeking to reach millennials, producers seeking distribution opportunities on our platform and Influencers that want to be in front of the camera.

How did you become aware of nglccNY?
I was interviewing the lovely Sacred Walker of Kuumba Health on Master Plan and she invited me to attend an nglccNY mixer that night. It was history after that.

What was your initial impression? How has that changed over the last few months?
I love to network but initially I felt like this was Sacred's crowd, so I humbled myself, examined the room and followed her lead. If you know anything about Sacred, she is a networking champion. She introduced me to some amazing people that I still keep in contact with today.

My impression has only improved. I'm excited about the LGBT certification for Young Boss Media, being a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and all of the opportunities that emerge at every mixer.

How has Young Boss Media been impacted since joining the nglccNY?
We are a new company but I foresee many members of nglccNY partnering with Young Boss Media in the near future.

How can the membership interested in working with Young Boss Media get started?
Send me an email Let’s set up a time to talk about your ideas and we can see what works.

What special projects are you currently working on and how might nglccNY members support your endeavors?
We have 4 in-house tv programs for 2018, we are always looking for sponsors, cast members, producers, editors, writers, audience members, and interns, as well as businesses in need of a go-to media company that will cover their events and tell their story.

What would you say to anyone shying away from networking as they start their business?
Business is a contact sport, you cannot win if you're not physically and mentally in the game.

As the next generation of media moguls, what is your vision for the future of Young Boss Media?
I want to tell stories that have yet to be explored by mainstream media. Communities of Color, LGBTQI and low-income individuals and families are all connected by pain, trauma and injustices, but I am not here to portray us as victims. That narrative is not empowering, it only perpetuates our stereotypes, keeping us in a cycle of complaining and waiting. I want my people to be viewed as champions and I want to normalize it in a cool way. My sexuality, gender, age, race, income, accent, criminal record and so on...should never overshadow my mind, my intentions and the fruits of my labor.

What is your message to the universe?
Dear God, thank you for allowing me to be free enough to trust you with everything. Young Boss Media was a mustard seed that dug deep roots very quickly. Thank you for allowing me to be crazy enough to believe in myself and believe in you. Thank you for giving me a short attention span where I only have time to learn from my mistakes and move forward.

I’m on this Earth because God wants me to win. So all I can say is Thank You!

Is there is anything I haven't asked that you would like the readership to know about you/Young Boss Media?
Yes, I trust God in all of my decisions and I'm looking forward to filming feature films and expanding my company overseas.

Connect socially with Young Boss Media

Written by Ingrid Galvez,

Chair, Diversity & Inclusion and Programming,

Organizational Development Consultant, 

Strategic Remedy Group

Strategic Remedy Group is a certified LGBTBE focused on cultivating collaborative communities to propel business success.