BEQ Today

What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?

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by Robin Dillard

Six months before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia. I was still a twinkle in my mother’s eye when Dr. King shared his wisdom with the students, but I believe his message is at the core of every issue of BEQ Pride.

Dr. King began his talk by asking this simple but profound question, “What is your life’s blueprint?”

He went on to tell the students that “whenever a building is constructed, you usually have an architect who draws a blueprint, and that blueprint serves as the pattern, as the guide, and a building is not well erected without a good, solid blueprint.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps Americans start, build and grow businesses and was recently recognized by Harvard University for its outreach to the LGBTQ community. In this issue, learn how their innovative approach will be used in reaching other diverse business communities beginning with helping Disability Owned Business Enterprises (DOBEs) start, build or grow their businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration can help with your business blueprint.

Dr. King goes on to say that “number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness.” Our feature of Melissa Thomas of Sam & Abe as well as Yale student Molly Williams are brilliant examples of owning and using your “somebodiness” to make a difference.

Melissa’s smile on our cover is evidence of her ownership of her “somebodiness.” This former Montessori teacher turned her interest in computers into a full-fledged information technology solutions and services company focused on the public sector and healthcare IT service.

While Molly is co-editor-in-chief of Yale Literary Magazine, she is also a senior with dual majors in psychology with a focus on neuroscience and History of Science, Medicine and Public Health. This millennial, queer, woman of color has created a global Instagram following @FeministThoughtBubble that clearly demonstrates her deep belief in her voice and her talent and most of all her “somebodiness.”

“Secondly, in your life’s blueprint you must have as the basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor.” Dr. King’s words seemed to float from his lips to Sky Kelley’s heart. Avisare, Sky Kelley’s technology firm, has not only reduced the administrative burden on small businesses with a one-stop shop for registering and showcasing their businesses, but it provides the same information to member corporations so they can easily find the vendors they need. When a small business on the Avisare network updates their certification information or adds services to their profile, for example, this information is electronically fed to the registration systems of their corporate clients through the Avisare Network — efficiencies abound!

We also hear from Jessica Rosman and Gwen Migita on Caesars Entertainment’s industry-leading excellence in supplier diversity and sustainability as we approach the NGLCC’s International Business and Leadership Conference, hosted at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas later this summer.

David Casey’s perspective takes on the myth that diversity practitioners are supposed to be bipartisan and middle of the road, by revealing that these professionals have committed to “not letting their filters get in the way of making quality decisions” for the companies they represent. David is a thought leader, frequent speaker on diversity and Chief Diversity Officer of a Fortune 10 company.

Dr. King ends his talk with the students by asking them to “sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, …like Beethoven composed music, …like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera,…like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

I leave you with his final thought and the one I aspire to every day: “Be the best of whatever you are.”

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.