Thursday, April 4, 2013

What I Learned at NGLCCNY

As the days of my tenure wind down, I can’t help but reflect on the lessons learned over these past five years. When I agreed to take on the Membership Director role in March 2008, there was no way I could foresee the Chamber would grow so fast. So quickly, in fact, that it was necessary to create a more formal structure for the leadership of the Chamber to ensure its continued development on an upward trajectory. Thus my position as President of NGLCCNY was born. The experience of creating this organization has taught me many lessons and has provided ongoing opportunities to fail, succeed and grow. Here are some of the biggest lessons learned.

People Want Community – The very first M3: Members’ Monthly Mixer took place in May 2008 and 36 people attended, including a guest appearance by George Takei. That evening we unwittingly laid the foundation for what would become our flagship event. M3 was conceived as different from all the other networking options out there because it was designed to build community. M3 was a new place for LGBT and allied business professionals to come together, cultivating real relationships while furthering the financial, economic and social capital of our community. This spirit lives on at every M3 and it proves month after month that people want a professional place to connect in a meaningful way with like-minded souls.

People Want to Lead – Without a doubt, the building of NGLCCNY has been a collaboration of many, many people over the time. Our initial core leadership group consisting of Robyn Streisand, Bari Zahn, Jennifer Brown, Nick Cowan, David Ricciardi and Thomas Koveleskie worked tirelessly to put the Chamber on the map. Today we have more than 40 volunteers serving on and leading committees across the Chamber. Recently we've seen an explosion of members stepping up to contribute their time and treasure to support NGLCCNY. Because of these incredibly talented and generous individuals (and often times the staff at their respective companies) the Chamber has blossomed into a world-class organization. When people are aligned around a common cause that they believe in, they will do whatever it takes to have it succeed.

People Want Value – There were countless late nights and early mornings during which the Executive Committee and I spent hours deliberating what would be valuable to you. Every program and initiative we've ever produced was carefully examined to determine if it would, in fact, be worth your time. Would you want more and would you walk away feeling like you moved the needle forward? Whether you are a member or a follower of the Chamber, we have been obsessed with providing you with an experience that makes you proud to be part of the NGLCCNY family. We have always been committed to you and your success.

People Want to Win – To build an organization with 200 plus business, non-profit, corporate, individual and student members is no small feat. I believe the Chamber is such a success because our members want to win. They want to win at building quality relationships. They want to win at developing new business. And most importantly they want to see the Chamber win. It’s this spirit of goodwill and reciprocity that has become contagious, so much so that when new people attend our events they are surprised by the welcoming and energetic spirit that is palpable in the air. Our members generate such a winning attitude that it naturally inspires others to want to be part of what we have. And that is, by all means, a win for all.

I want to acknowledge every leader of the Chamber (past and present) including the Executive Committee, Industry Councils and all committee volunteers. Thank you for the extraordinary work you do and for being willing to carry the torch forward! And Chance Mitchell and Justin Nelson, thank you for endowing me with the great gift of shepherding NGLCCNY from your idea into our award-winning organization. Henry Jones and Curtis Williamson deserve massive recognition for the extraordinary work they do behind the scenes to support the day-to-day running of the Chamber. You’ll never know just how important they have been to ensuring your success. Lastly, Thomas Koveleskie, my partner in life and best friend, is the unsung hero of the Chamber. He has been an unstoppable force and source of ideas, innovation and leadership from the beginning. 

Co-creating NGLCCNY with all of you has been the greatest joy and I couldn't be more proud of this beautiful, thriving community. 

The future of NGLCCNY is yours to shape and I look forward to seeing you take the Chamber to soaring new heights.


NGLCCNY Founding President
2008 - 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment