NGLCC Celebrates 20 Years
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 20 years
By KJ Ward
Las Vegas was the destination for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s (NGLCC) 2022 International Business Leadership Conference (#NGLCC22). NGLCC is the largest advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBTQ people, and this year’s convening of LGBTQ+ and allied entrepreneurs, corporate supplier diversity leaders, and business experts was also a celebration of NGLCC’s 20th anniversary.
With close to 1500 attendees, the conference was a chance for leaders to connect, explore potential business partnerships, and share ideas and information across a variety of topics.
Conference participants had several opportunities to learn how to better access the existing avenues toward business equality. Sessions on best practices in certification, support in RFPs, and others were geared toward understanding the evolving landscape of becoming certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE®) and then how to best leverage that designation.
The power of storytelling figured prominently in the set of more than two dozen plenary and breakout sessions across the 3-day event. Workshops presented by Cox Communications, Jonathan Yeo (founder of Potential Space), and Tee White of Simply Tee Poetry and a panel moderated by Jennifer Brown emphasized the necessity of being able to develop and share a clear and compelling story in business success.
At the sector level, attendees got a glimpse of the advocacy and public policy work NGLCC is doing in the Legal, Retail and Merchandising, Food and Beverage, Financial Services, Tech, Marketing, and Energy and Utilities sectors.
#NGLCC22 was also a platform to recognize individuals and organizations that are doing exceptional work and moving the entire LGBTQ+ business community toward equality of access and opportunity.
Tom Roth of Community Marketing, Inc.
LGBTBE® Legacy Award
Gulf South Chamber
Supplier Diversity Champion of the Year
Desert Business Association
Rising Star Chamber
Roxanna Daniel, President of LGBTBE® Taj Development
CoCi Excellence Award
Ashley Brundage, Founder and President of LGBTBE® Empowering Differences
TGX Excellence Award
Global Affiliate Rising Star
Denise Merritt, Merritt Business Solutions
Mentee of the Year
Debra Quade, Kellogg’s
Mentor of the Year
NGLCC Corporate Partners Legacy Award
NGLCC is already looking forward to the 2023 International Business & Leadership Conference. Denver, Colorado is the destination, and more educational programs, inspiring keynote speakers, and the annual B2B Boot Camp for certified LGBT Business Enterprises, and fun social events are set for the agenda.
KJ Ward is a freedom fighter with a love of language and an appreciation of the power of the written word. Earlier in his career he worked as a case manager for the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services and as the director of Boston GLASS, a supportive services and advocacy program for LGBTQ youth. KJ also worked for several years as a communications specialist for McKinsey & Company in Germany.
Today, KJ partners with a small group of clients in service of their communications strategy and organizational development needs. He is a proud and active member of both the board of directors of Gender Spectrum and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, and from time to time he publishes his own writing. KJ is also a registered yoga teacher, committed to bringing this practice of individual and community liberation to those whose access to it has been limited.
KJ earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in developmental psychology from Harvard University.