BEQ Today

2020: Building on the Promise

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By Robin Dillard

I am feeling a heightened sense of gratitude at this dawn of a new decade. Our BEQ Pride Family will be celebrating an important milestone in 2020 — our fifth-year of Engaging! Empowering! and Accelerating! LGBTQ+ Business Equality. We are excited about the future, but before we get there, we are rethinking supplier diversity, revisiting old friends, rewarding our young leaders and reinforcing our shared value for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — poised for what’s to come.

We’re starting off the new year with Editor in Chief Melissa Lowery’s interview with Kris Oswold from UPS. After reading Kris’s recent blog post, entitled “Are we doing enough? An insider’s view of business inclusion”, which asked such a timely and important question about the state of supplier diversity, we wanted a deeper understanding of her findings and next steps. What she shares with us is brilliant and insightful — thought-leadership at its best, an opportunity to recalibrate for more impactful results.

We have the magnificent Amber Hikes as our cover feature. Amber, an exemplar of LGBTQ-excellence and part of the inaugural LGBTQ Leaders Under 40 Class of 2018, skyrocketed her career and influence over the past few years. She recently graced the plenary stage at the OUT&EQUAL Workplace Summit in conversation with American screenwriter, producer and actress Lena Waithe. Her introductory remarks were a reminder of what her mother called a “generosity of leadership”.

We wanted to catch up with her since she’s taken on her new role at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as the organization’s first Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. We are proud of her achievements and love her commitment and dedication to Equality.

Tech start-up Loud-Hailer graced the cover of our very first issue of BEQ Pride in 2016, as they set out to revolutionize digital communication. I had the opportunity to catch up with them and wanted to share their recent achievements. Since they first appeared in BEQ, Loud-Hailer was awarded their first U.S. patent for their BLE mesh networking technology. They’ve also successfully launched their iOS and Android app called BUKI and their BUKI platform has been successfully installed in three U.S. cities and several Southeast Asian cities with more coming online in early 2020.

Recently, at my request, Lynn C. Reyes, subject matter expert and long-time friend of BEQ Pride, interviewed one of our favorite leaders and STEM professionals, Dr. Eric Patridge. This is a conversation about talent and the future. Dr. Patridge is another exemplar of LGBTQ-excellence and part of the inaugural LGBTQ Leaders Under 40 Class of 2018. He is an example of what top STEM talent looks like in the new decade, but how did he get here?

Through Lynn’s eyes, we are taking a look at what happens when a person can truly be who they are—without judgment. What brilliance would they choose to bring to the world if they were able to show up and be included as their full selves? I believe Dr. Patridge’s story and his conversation with Lynn hold clues to the answers to these questions.

TurnOut’s first-ever Queer Board Match in the San Francisco Bay Area and the NGLCC’s 17th annual National Dinner awards gala in Washington DC are both covered in this issue. Dr. Steven Yacovelli provides sage advice on positivity in the workplace and Matt Hanzlik talks about Diversity and Inclusion at Nielsen. An interesting note on the strategic value of diversity, David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen N.V. is also its Chief Diversity Officer.

Once again we searched and we found young leaders from across North America. We’re thrilled to share our annual LGBTQ+ Leaders Under 40 list with 41 amazing leaders (we had to add Mayor Pete) for you to get to know. Not only is our Class of 2020 an accomplished and learned group, but each has also shared the impact or intention they hope to create by 2030 through their generative leadership now. Their voices, vocations and leadership styles are unique, but they’re all aligned in mission: Equality for All. We are extremely proud of this group of young leaders in particular for their willingness to be out and proud in turbulent times.

We must stand united in support of equality for all, build on the promise of Stonewall and continue to lead when (or where) others wouldn’t dare.

Thank you for a beautiful 2019 and Happy New Year!

Robin Signature

Business Equality Pride (BEQPride) is the first publication from the BEQ family of national print and digital magazines exclusively addressing the needs of LGBTQ small-to-medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals.