Monday, October 21, 2019

Biz Pitch Spotlight

In our third installation of the 2019 nglccNY Biz Pitch, sponsored by EY on September 24, 2019, we heard from another fantastic round of LGBTBEs. Similar to the first round held in January and the second round held in June, two of the four suppliers were selected to advance to the final round which will be held in December. The grand prize is a full scholarship to attend the “Building a High-Performing Business” program at Dartmouth College’s TuckSchool of Business.

Joining the previous winners (Translator LLC and Five North Chocolate from the first round and PILOT Coaching and Play Out Apparel from the second round) Fabio Pereira and Brandan Keaveny of Data Ethics and Jo Schneier and Doug Krehbiel of will be in the final competition. Both winners talked with Michael Venturiello, a member of the nglccNY Media & Communications Committee, to share their experiences. Dwayne Samuels of DS2 Corporate Relocation Services also competed in the third round of Biz Pitch.

Biz Pitch contestants and EY panel of judges and representatives pose for photo following competition.

Data Ethics, “your professional data partner,” has been certified as an LGBTBE with nglccNY since July of 2019. “The support from the Chamber is great,” Keaveny shared. “It’s the fact that there are these regular events, and not only for opportunities to network but opportunities to grow.” In recapping his experience at the most recent round of the Biz Pitch, Keaveny said that “everyone at EY was incredibly welcoming.” There was also a communal feeling in the audience and from those competing on stage. “From the previous networking events and other opportunities, it felt like you were competing with friends, not against strangers.”
Brandan Keaveny of Data Ethics.

Similarly, has felt the positive impacts of the Chamber within their own business. “Trusty builds health and insurance software for one of the most overlooked markets, the half of Americans that receive their insurance from government-sponsored plans,” and with diversity being a core tenant of his company, Jo Schneier really appreciates the chance to meet other diverse businesses who are committed to this practice. “I met different people who I see future partnerships evolving with through the community.” On sharing his experience with the Biz Pitch, Jo adds, “the Biz Pitch helped frame what we’re doing in a new way. It helped us see a new perspective on the business that we hadn’t seen before, which is a critical component to success.”

Winners of nglccNY Third Round of Biz Pitch pose with TJ Chernick, Executive Director.

A mutual benefit that both businesses shared was the goal of ongoing  learning and growth within their businesses. “Everyone wins just by being there,” Keaveny shared. “There is a continuous learning element, and it is just so powerful to be in a community of learners. We received expert feedback from a team who has expert subject matter knowledge.”

The final contest will be held on December 11, 2019. This event, followed by the last M3 of 2019, is the final Biz Pitch contest with winners from the previous rounds competing for the grand prize. You will not want to miss this event!

Michael Venturiello is the founder of Christopher StreetTours, an LGBTQ walking tour company that focuses on making LGBTQ history accessible to all. He is a proud member of nglccNY and sits on the Media and Communications committee.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Supplier Spotlight: Etcetera Etcetera Restaurant

Etcetera Etcetera Restaurant, a Neighborhood Gem and Community Gift

Imagine getting up every day, happy to go to work! Imagine wanting to do the work that you are doing “as long as I can.”

Etcetera Etcetera Owner Daniele Kucera

Welcome to the world of nglccNY member Daniele Kucera, owner of etcetera etcetera. Daniele first arrived in New York from Italy in 1992 with blue jeans, shirts, and $50. He had been invited by the San Domenico Restaurant to serve as their Italian Ambassador for Food and Wine. Always the student, he left that position in 1996 to join the staff of Jean Georges Restaurant and learn French cooking. He also traveled to 30 states in order to learn the American culture. In 1999 he opened his first restaurant with $15,000 of his own savings and a $120,000 loan; the loan was paid back 18 months later.

In 2005 Daniele and two partners opened etcetera etcetera; today he is the sole owner. The restaurant, located at 352 West 44th Street in Manhattan, is known for its homemade Italian cuisine and welcoming ambiance. Each day, Daniele and his staff of 27 welcome hundreds of friends and strangers to what Anna (Hagigeorgiou) De Chevalier (Events Coordinator, Assistant to the owner and marketing at Etcetera Etcetera) refers to as “an extension of your living room.” Daniele says, “My staff are my kids. Many have been here for a decade or longer.” This attention to the staff and their long-term tenure is reflected in the experience of customers. In discussing etcetera etcetera, Anna said, “Our guests feel comfortable here. They are confident that the quality of the food and the service will be consistent.” The menu includes staples that have remained since the restaurant opened, as well as unique new creations; everything is handmade with quality ingredients.

Daniele started cooking with his mother and grandmother when he was a young boy, “talking and socializing at the same time.” As a teenager he began throwing dinner parties for his friends. In many ways, you will find the same Daniele greeting you at etcetera etcetera today. “Meeting wonderful people helped me to become who I am today,” he says. “I’m happy to go to work, to make people happy. I enjoy talking with people. A smile opens 1,000 doors.” Every day, it is as if Daniele gets to host a huge dinner party and his patrons are his guests.

Behind the scenes, the restaurant business is challenging. In addition to all the usual aspects of business (accounting, customer service, social media, website, marketing, payroll, business development, etc.) comes compliance with the myriad New York City and State agencies that regulate the food and beverage industry. This is where Anna has spent much of her time during her ten years with etcetera etcetera. Describing the restaurant as “a neighborhood gem,” Anna focuses on building relationships, many of which are in the LGBT community. “We are here to support each other, recognize the talent within, and outsource to one another. Community means helping, an open door, being part of something. And don’t forget about the small people. Everybody makes a difference.”

Etcetera Etcetera has always been an active participant in the LGBT community. While the main floor is home to the restaurant, the upstairs is a private space that can accommodate up to 100 seated or 225 for a standing reception. In addition to hosting nglccNY M3 mixers, the private space has been the site of events for Broadway Cares, Modern Exodus, Lambda Legal, SAGE, the LGBT Center, the Generations Project, The Gay Men’s Chorus, the Gay Men’s Orchestra, the Oslo Gay Men’s Chorus, and more. Describing the upstairs Anna said, “The space can be scaled back for more intimate gatherings for smaller parties. Replete with a beautiful baby grand piano, unique lighting fixtures, a skylight, and equipped with wi-fi, Pandora, and a selection of audio-visual solutions, the room is well suited for any event.” In addition to hosting events, the restaurant also caters small office events. As a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise, etcetera etcetera is a welcome home to our community, our businesses, and our allies.

Five years ago, Daniele joined forces with two others (a Ukrainian and a Latino) and established a foundation to help LGBT victims of persecution immigrate to the United States and seek asylum. Unfortunately, under the current administration they have had to suspend their efforts. “It’s a beautiful feeling, a beautiful space in your heart when you help other people,” he said. Today, Daniele continues to share that feeling and that space in his heart through the experience you get when visiting him and his family at etcetera etcetera.

You can connect with Etcetera Etcetera here:
·           Facebook
·           Instagram
·           Twitter 
·           LinkedIn

Written by Brian Gorman, an NGLCC member and an International Coach Federation (ICF) certified professional coach. He brings five decades of change experience and study into every coaching conversation. He has served clients as large as Merck Manufacturing, as well as startups and individual leaders. Brian taps into the core of the matter, helping each person maximize their professional and personal potential. Brian works both one-on-one and with teams. In addition to his writing for nglccNY, Brian is a frequent contributor to Forbes online ( ) and serves as Managing Editor of Change Management Review.
Website: www.TransformingLives.Coach