BEQ Today

Publisher’s Note: #LeadBoldly

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By Robin Dillard

Looking back, we can say 2017 was certainly unforgettable and a call to action for all who value inclusion. In terms of business equality, I am determined to keep moving onward and upward. We will maintain focus on our shared outcome to economically empower the LGBTQ and ally community through strategic engagement of the supply chain, marketplace, workplace and philanthropy of corporate America.

In this issue, we profile Bob Witeck, a pioneer of the business equality movement and a prominent LGBTQ leader who was one of the earliest LGBTQ business owners to become a certified LGBT Business Enterprise. We also speak with corporate vice presidents, Angela Daniels-Lewis, LGBT and women’s marketing expert, and Joy Wong, supplier diversity/procurement —I think of them as New York Life’s dynamic duo for diversity —who are leading from the inside out. Our industry focus areas are Aerospace & Defense and Telecommunications. LaTonia Pouncey, L3 Technologies’ corporate manager and head of diversity & inclusion, shares their “greatest asset” is their people, and we take a deep dive into telecommunications giant AT&T’s LGBTQ inclusion scene, courtesy of Corey Anthony, vice president human resources and chief diversity officer.

We are honoring 156 of America’s largest employers with our 2018 Business Equality Excellence Award — these are our corporate leaders in LGBTQ Business Equality. Together, these organizations are on the front lines of the equality movement: 16 are members of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and 45 are officially advocating for Congress to pass the Equality Act. We are also reminding corporate diversity professionals from our list that the application period for the 2018 Corporate Eminence Award will open April 2, and close May 15, 2018.

We also highlight NGLCC’s name change to NGLCC: National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and new branding unveiled at the National Dinner in Washington, D.C. at the National Building Museum. Congratulations to AT&T, corporation of the year, Melissa Poli, advocate of the year and special shout out to American Greetings and their adorable Junior executives on their recognition as supplier of the year. It is only fitting that this year’s NGLCC dinner theme #LEADBOLDLY will carry us into 2018 strong and determined.

Our big feature and special section sponsored by New York Life, the inaugural 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40 list, represents the tip of the iceberg when it comes to LGBTQ leaders across the country. Although not by design, we are very proud that our list is ethnically, politically and racially diverse — with cisgender and non-binary individuals from across the LGBTQ community. Finally, our national search for young leaders revealed 8 individuals, mostly Millennials and very young Gen X folks, who we are presenting as our Next Gen Pioneers for business equality. They are disruptors who have looked adversity in the eye and defied the status quo in their respective endeavors.

Today, we are lifting up our leaders and the future of the movement for business equality. Our call to action is to continue to #LeadBoldly in 2018 and beyond.

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.