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BUSINESS April / May 2014


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– Masters of Science in Financial Services – Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy Toler financial group is a certified LgBT Business Enterprise, certified by the ngLcc (national gay and Lesbian chamber of commerce) Toler financial group is not owned or operated by nYLYfE Securities LLc or its affiliates

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frances Toler MSfS, cAp® , registered representative offering securities through nYLifE Securities LLc, Member finrA/Sipc, a Licensed insurance Agency, 301-214-6600. in this regard, this communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of cA, co, Dc, fL, MD, nM, nY, pA, uT, VA, and WA. no offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced. frances Toler MSfS, cAp® is also separately registered as an investment adviser representative under Eagle Strategies LLc, a registered investment Adviser, offering advisory services in the states of cA, co, Dc, fL, MD, nM, nY, pA, uT & VA. As such, these services are strictly intended for individuals residing in the states indicated. frances Toler, MSfS, cAp® is an agent licensed to sell insurance through new York Life insurance company in the states of MD, Dc, VA, fL, pA, nM & uT. no insurance business may be conducted outside these states referenced.

Letter from the publisher As we celebrate victories in LGBT equality across the country, we must not forget that many of our brothers and sisters still cannot partake in the festivities. Even though a number of states have declared the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and we are hopefully only a few short years away from complete equality, we need to join together to help make a difference in the communities that don’t acknowledge same-sex marriage and try to make it harder for LGBT individuals to live and work. This July, I will be attending the annual NGLCC conference in Las Vegas. It will be my third time attending the event, and when I look back over the past few years, it is interesting to see that many of the people I met at my first conference are now familiar faces; some have become great friends. That says a lot about the kind of people NGLCC attracts. Business owners from across the country, and around the world in some instances, convene in one location for a week of networking and business-building opportunities. Even more exciting about this year’s conference, UNITE will participate in the business trade expo for the first time. It will give us an opportunity to shake hands with you, our readers, advertisers, and contributors. It will also give us the opportunity to expand our brand and reach a large group of people who may not have heard of UNITE. photo by William Cory

Each year, the conference grows in attendance, a true testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at NGLCC. If you have not found time in your schedule to attend one of the conferences in the past, I highly encourage you to do so this year, because you will be in for an experience you will never forget. The relationships you build and memories you make will last a lifetime. See you in Vegas! —Joey


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Estella Pan has worked in the music industry since 2001. In addition to writing for UNITE Magazine, she offers social media consulting and virtual personal assistant services to clients through her company, Rock Stellar Relations.

Called the “Simon Cowell of startups,” Michael Burcham, PhD, is the founder and chief executive officer of The Entrepreneur Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where he helps his clients with the best business ideas achieve their goals and coaches others to further develop their aims.

Joey Amato is the founder and publisher of UNITE Magazine. Joey is also the vice-president of emerging media for Relevant Communications, a public relations company based in Boca Raton, Florida, that specializes in promoting art exhibits for celebrity artists across the country.

Scott Span is chief executive officer & lead consultant of Tolero Solutions, an organizational development and strategy firm. Span helps clients facilitate sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing people, performance, and profit to create organizations that are more responsive, productive, and profitable.

Santiago MelliHuber is the associate editor of UNITE Magazine and a freelance reporter for the Washington Blade. He has recently worked in the news gathering department at CNN, where he honed his skills at the news desk, on the field, and on Capitol Hill researching and reporting the news.

Jenn Grace is a self-proclaimed “professional lesbian,” with eight years of experience in LGBT marketing. Grace is the executive director for CABO, Connecticut’s local LGBT chamber of commerce, and currently produces a biweekly podcast educating business owners on how to authentically reach the LGBT community.

As president of Pink Banana Media, Matt Skallerud has worked with companies, large and small, for more than 18 years to reach the LGBT online consumer, beginning with the May 1995 e-launch of, which became one of the top three LGBT websites worldwide.

Paul Collanton is the chief executive officer and founder of P3 Enterprises, where he produces The Gay Ambition Blog. Collanton contributes to Out Front Colorado, covering business, entrepreneurs, and the intersection of work, life, and identity.

Sebastian Fortino is a raconteur, reader, writer, wit, web content manager, and LGBT journalist, who currently resides in Fort Lauderdale. He has contributed to numerous LGBT publications including MetroSource, City Xtra Magazine, and South Florida Gay News.

Author of Blissful Organization: A Guide to Simple Living, Patricia Diesel is the founder and chief executive officer of Keep It Simple Now, a professional organizing and life coaching company, where she helps people restore tranquility and sense to their lives by encouraging release, order, and constructive engagement.

After a diverse and successful 31 year career at IBM, Stan C. Kimer founded Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer, where he offers innovative services in career development and diversity management. Total Engagement Consulting is a certified LGBT Business Enterprise by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Dan Groover is an accountant and business consultant living in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been in business for himself since 2004 serving individuals, small businesses, and corporations throughout Middle Tennessee. Groover is currently beginning a new phase of his life in the realm of family and civil mediation.


We believe that diversity shouldn’t mean _____, but rather the _______ that moves (division)


(right angle)




(point A to point B)

Differences don’t make us _____ or (less than)

______ to one another, instead they (not equal)

promote creativity, new ideas and push innovation through the changing _____. (times)








we serve is not about

reaching a _____ or ______ to make ______, (number)



it’s a pursuit __________ the bottom line. (greater than)

______ (equality)



it just makes good sense { Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

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9/20/13 9:00 AM

table of contents

Joey Amato Managing Editor Ben Rock Creative Director Blake Kniffin Publisher

photo by Scott Henrichsen Photography


22 24


associate editor Business Editor

Santiago Melli-Huber Michael Burcham, PhD

Contributing Writers

Laura Berry, Paul Collanton, Patricia Diesel, Victoria Fulkerson, Jenn Grace, Dan Groover, Stan Kimer, Estella Pan, Jim Schmidt, Matt Skallerud, Scott Span, Chuck Spence Ben Rock Joey Amato (407) 496-8751

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cover photo courtesy of Jonathan D. Lovitz

Campus Pride LAUNCHES NATIONAL LGBT SCHOLARSHIP DATABASE by Estella Pan Campus Pride has recently announced the launch of the National LGBT Scholarship Database in partnership with Point Foundation. The new online dynamic database is free and provides LGBT and ally students with the largest, most comprehensive source of LGBT scholarship and funding resources in the nation. A high number of academically well-qualified students do not apply to colleges because they think they cannot afford tuition and related costs, and the U.S. Department of Education has recently called this problem “a tragic loss of academic opportunity and human potential.” Similarly, many students are also unaware of the various forms of financial aid—including scholarships—available to them. “Everyone has a fundamental right to education. For our LGBT youth, especially those who are first-generation college students and those from low- to middle-income backgrounds, the dream of going to college is still a dream,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “This national database is another step toward creating greater accessibility to higher education for LGBT youth. There is much more work to be done.”

N now Foundation. “While Point is able to help some individuals, we are eager to raise awareness of other diverse higher education scholarships. It is our hope that through discovering opportunities in the National LGBT Scholarship Database, students will realize their dreams of getting a higher education degree.” Point Foundation has been an inaugural partner with Campus Pride’s LGBT-friendly National College Fair program since 2007. Campus Pride annually hosts LGBT-friendly college fairs in six different cities: Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; and Chicago, Illinois. Campus Pride also provides the Campus Pride Index (, the only national online search tool for LGBT-friendly colleges. This scholarship database is a result of a growing collaboration between the organizations and the demand for more resources for LGBT youth in college readiness and preparation. “It gets better when we provide opportunities to our LGBT youth for success beyond high school,” Windmeyer said. “Money to go to college is a starting point.” For more information, visit

According to Campus Pride, the national database is constantly growing with currently over a thousand scholarship opportunities for undergraduate- and graduate-level study. Individuals can find out how to apply and search for scholarships that are available regionally or nationally, that vary state to state, or that are exclusive to certain campuses. New scholarships may be listed by any campus or funding organization by simply logging into the database. There are no charges to view scholarships or to list scholarships. Campus Pride will review and edit scholarship data on an ongoing basis. Campus Pride’s partner, Point Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit. Both organizations plan to improve the site and continue building it to be the nation’s premier source for information on LGBT scholarships. “Every year we receive thousands of applications for our Point Foundation scholarships. These are young people hungry to invest in their future and help society by getting a college degree but are in great need of financial assistance,” said Jorge Valencia, executive director and chief executive officer of Point


N now


The IGLTA Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting LGBT tourism globally, recently added gay travel leaders Richard Gray and Ed Salvato to its board of directors.

Ed Salvato, editor-in-chief of the iPad-based gay travel magazine ManAboutWorld, has spent the past 14 years contributing to the world of LGBT tourism through editorial columns, marketing efforts, communications, product development, sponsorships, and events. Before ManAboutWorld, he served as editor-in-chief for other top LGBT travel content providers, such as Out & About, Out Traveler, and PlanetOut Travel. “We are thrilled to have Ed Salvato and Richard Gray join the IGLTA Foundation Board of Directors,” said Board Chair Charlie Rounds. “They each bring unique skills that will allow us to better educate both travel professionals and the traveling public about the value of LGBT global travel.” Gray and Salvato join a volunteer board of directors made up of veterans in tourism, finance, and philanthropy: Chair Charlie Rounds, Kevin J. Mossier Foundation; Vice Chair Steve Roth, OutThink Partners; Treasurer Brianna Murphy, Trillium Asset Management; Secretary Jeff Guaracino, Atlantic City Alliance; Jody Cole, Wild Rainbow African Safaris; Gregg Kaminsky, R Family Vacations; Charles Lapointe, Tourisme Montreal (retired); Todd Ney, Brendan Vacations; Rebecca Rittgers, Themis Fund; John Tanzella, IGLTA; and Shannon Wentworth. Furthermore, IGLTA also announced its new board of directors, a group that includes three longtime tourism professionals who will serve the association membership for the first time: Michael McDowell, Vice President for


photos courtesy of IGLTA

Richard Gray is the managing director of the LGBT market for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau and has been an advocate for gay travel for more than 20 years. He previously owned The Royal Palms Resort & Spa, which set new standards for LGBT accommodations in Fort Lauderdale and beyond—it was the destination’s first gay guesthouse to achieve a five-star rating.

Richard Gray

Ed Salvato

Arts & Culture and Affinity Markets for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Andy Mosetti, founder of NEXTSKY Ltd., a commercial travel agency based in Switzerland; and Chris Stanley, Corporate and Incentive Sales Account Director for Silversea Cruises. Marta Dalla Chiesa, co-owner and managing director of Brazil Ecojourneys, and Gail Swift, director of association sales for Hilton Worldwide, were re-appointed for additional two-year terms. The new board takes effect at the end of the board meeting prior to IGLTA’s 31st Annual Global Convention in Madrid, May 8—10 May. These five appointees will join the current members: Tanya Churchmuch, Assistant Director of Media and Leisure Markets, Tourisme Montreal; Rika Jean-François, ITB Corporate Social Responsibility, ITBBerlin; Tom Jenkins, Executive Director, European Tour Operators Association; Juan Julia, President of Axel Hotels; Dan Melesurgo, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships for ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership; Ed Salvato, Editor-in-Chief of ManAboutWorld; and John Tanzella, IGLTA President and Chief Executive Officer (ex officio).

t or pp su CC to GL d N ou e Pr th

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chamber chat


by Victoria Fulkerson

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) will return to Las Vegas for the 2014 National Business & Leadership Conference, July 29–August 1, 2014, at Caesars Palace. It is anticipated this will be the best attended conference in NGLCC’s history with over 700 entrepreneurs, corporate decision makers, affiliate chamber leaders, and government officials from across the country and around the world coming to network with each other and experience the latest trends in business development. The connections made by business owners at the conference can be the basis for contracting opportunities and strategic growth for years to come. NGLCC is excited to partner with local affiliate, the Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce of Nevada (GLCCNV). After a successful rebranding, this tremendous affiliate has increased its networking engagement efforts and will work to share its success and community with the national network of affiliate chambers

LGBTBEs receive certification during last year’s conference in Dallas.


that will attend the conference. NGLCC recognizes that the Las Vegas business community is an important force and is excited to welcome increased participation in the region this year. Leading these exemplary efforts is the GLCCNV board chair, Dina Proto of Teazled, LLC. This prominent NGLCC-certified LGBT business enterprise (LGBTBE) has strategically worked to grow business opportunities around the region, finding strong qualified vendors along the way. With the possibility to create more economic impact than ever before, GLCCNV and NGLCC encourage all business owners, chamber members, and corporate partners to explore endless opportunities at the 2014 national conference. The three-day educational conference will deliver innovative leadership programming, networking, and engagement opportunities, all leading to expansive economic impact and more connections than ever before. The cutting-edge programming will include remarkable keynote speakers, business insights sessions, the annual B2B Boot Camp for Certified LGBTBEs, chamber development programming, marketplace expo, one-on-one business matchmaker meetings, and much more. Among the various high caliber keynote speakers this year, NGLCC is excited to welcome Marcus Lemonis, star of CNBC’s The Profit, who will bring his wisdom to attendees during Thursday’s general session. An exceptional businessman, investor, television personality, and philanthropist, Lemonis will light up the stage with expertise for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The B2B Boot Camp for Certified LGBTBEs will maximize the NGLCC conference experience with a skill-building session

photo courtesy of NGLCC

photo courtesy of NGLCC

Wells Fargo presents the NGLCC Foundation with a $1 million check.

specifically designed for LGBT entrepreneurs. The boot camp is designed for certified LGBTBEs who are attending the NGLCC conference for the first time. This unique program transforms the core principles of business development into easy, actionable skills and techniques that result in more business more often. The B2B Boot Camp is a must-attend for business owners seeking to make powerful connections at the NGLCC conference. Chamber leaders attending with multiple board members, volunteers, and staff are encouraged to strategize their navigation of the conference and allocate a team of representatives to attend a variety of activities, including affiliate chamber programming, plenaries, receptions, and special events. All are excellent opportunities to form relationships with other chamber leaders, LGBT businesses, and corporate partners. The marketplace expo is the perfect opportunity to connect with NGLCC corporate partners to seek contracting insights and explore future business opportunities. Always well attended, reserving a space in the exhibition hall is the perfect way to gain brand visibility and increased community exposure. NGLCC’s hallmark events, one-on-one business matchmaker meetings pair LGBTBEs with corporate partners for 15-minute intervals. This valuable time with top corporate procurement and supplier diversity professionals gives suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products or services in hopes of enhanced access to contracting opportunities. The unparalleled strength of our members matched with the immeasurable opportunities at this conference should not go missed. NGLCC is passionate about delivering unmatched programming while promoting economic growth and equality for the LGBT business community. For more information the 2014 National Business & Leadership Conference or NGLCC, visit 888.460.4327

big idea

Building a High-Impact Personal Brand

by Michael R. Burcham, PhD One of the most important things you can work on today is figuring out who you (really) are, what you are passionate about, and how those things should influence and build your personal brand and reputation. Your personal brand is the one thing that will allow you to make the jump from one pursuit to the next. Today, you’re not really judged by your résumé but by what you’ve done and the individuals you know. Your personal brand encapsulates both of these. Whether you realize it or not, you already have your own individual brand. This brand is the combination of your physical appearance, your digital and online presence, and your conversations, relationships, and behaviors. The mixture of these elements leads to a uniquely distinguishable and, hopefully, memorable impression or brand. To the point: are you creating your personal brand or are you simply being “branded” by your behaviors? Individuals who thoughtfully consider how they wish to be seen are quite capable of intentionally creating and living their personal brands. Others seem to simply become branded by their behaviors.

“Be yourself because everyone else is already taken.”—Oscar Wilde

Building Your Personal Brand All strong brands are based on what is true and authentic. Your personal brand will disintegrate if it’s not built on characteristics that are authentically you. Moreover, you’ll also be worn out—it’s exhausting to be inauthentic. If you’re wearing a mask and trying to be something you’re not, you’re also quite likely to be viewed as a shallow person or—even worse—a fraud. New employers will google you before they even invite you to


an interview. Your current employer probably has an eye on what you’re doing, too. When you interact with people, both online and offline, they build an image of who you are and what you stand for over time. You have the ability to control your brand, but you have to actively choose to manage your brand. It doesn’t just happen.

Step 1: Take Inventory of Your Current Brand The first step in creating a memorable personal brand is to reflect on the elements that make you authentic. In conducting a personal inventory, take a long look in the mirror and consider these questions: • What are your strengths; what do you do better than anyone else? • What are your core values, the principles by which you choose to live your life? • What are others frequently praising you or complimenting you for? • What type of advice do others come to you for? • What makes the way you achieve results unique? • What are your passions; what gives you energy?

Step 2: Decide How You Wish to Be Known The key to a powerful brand is to become single minded. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, determine what is the one key personal attribute that would be a game changer for you and your career if you were known for it industry wide. It may be your reliability or your perseverance, your attention to detail, or your strategic-thinking skills. Think broadly about your personality and how it affects the experience someone will have with you. Are you incredibly organized? Do people love your sense of humor? Try to focus on one key trait to get started. This alone will put you way ahead of everyone else.

Step 3: Choose to Become World Class at One Thing Write down what it would take to be the best in the world at one thing, hopefully choosing something you’re already considered “good” at doing. Consider these questions as you work through this trait: • How would you need to behave? • What additional things do you need to learn? • How do you dress for the part? • How would you need to change your routine (or develop new habits) to become the living embodiment of that trait? Spend time developing your answers in detail. The more thoroughly you address these questions, the more likely you are to develop a truly memorable and authentic personal brand.

Step 4: Build Your Transformation Map After you’ve done Steps 1, 2, and 3, you will have a personal brand to-do list. Now, work on executing that list by setting yourself weekly and monthly tasks to help you manifest your key personal attribute and the one thing you wish to be world class at doing. Personal brands can be quickly developed if you are systematic in developing yourself. Develop your brand mantra and elevator speech, the foundation of your personal brand efforts. This is the heart and soul of your brand, a simple, memorable statement describing who you are and what you have to offer.

Step 5: Execute Your Plan People with strong brands are clear about who they are. They know and maximize their strengths. They get feedback from others to validate how others experience them. Once you have your personal brand strategy plan developed, be consistent. Incorporate your brand into your psyche. The best way to build your personal brand is to propagate it consistently, protecting the integrity of your brand message (your mantra). Reflect your brand message every time you tweet, post, pitch, interact, lead, or speak publicly. Just like a magnifying glass intensifies an image, a well-managed personal brand elevates your impact. Some of the ways you have the ability to maximize your brand’s impact is to think about these three dimensions of engagement: (1) the brand message you send before someone meets you, (2) the brand message you send when interacting with others, and (3) the brand message you send after an interaction. Your brand is the collective what you do, what you wear, what you say, and how you behave. It is your consistent self, and you communicate your personal brand every day, all the time.

Advocating for Same Sex Partners Financial and Legal Issues • Estate Protection • Personal Protection • Income Protection • Tax Protection • Investment Protection An industry leader in educating clients, peers, and adult learners in estate planning and wealth transfer, Frank C. Weightman, PH.D., CEP, is a strong advocate for the Nashville LGBT community. His office is located at 341 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067, 615.261.4632. Securities and advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC. Radian Partners is not affiliated with FSC or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor.

big idea

Darden Paves the Way FOR INCLUSIVENESS IN FLORIDA by Joey Amato Darden Restaurants is the world’s largest full-service restaurant company. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, the organization employs more than 200,000 individuals and operates 2,100 restaurants around the globe, including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, and Bahama Breeze. Being one of the country’s largest employers requires a high degree of social responsibility. Between seven and ten percent of Darden’s staff openly identify as LGBT, and the company’s nondiscrimination policy has helped make it one of the top places to work. “Darden was one of the first companies in America to offer domestic partner benefits,” said Samir Gupte, senior vice president of culture. “We are extremely proud

of what we have done as a company, and we think it is extremely important to support LGBT individuals as well as all culturally diverse groups.” The organization has also added health coverage for transgender people to its growing list of LGBT benefits. Boasting a perfect 100 on the HRC Corporate Equality Index, Darden is also one of a group of companies, including Home Shopping Network, Walt Disney World, and Wells Fargo, that has joined the Florida Business Coalition for a Competitive Workforce, with the aim of passing a bipartisan bill to ban anti-gay and gender-based discrimination. “We are proud to see so many of Florida’s largest employers taking a stand to encourage the legislature to pass the Competitive Workforce Act,” said Nadine Smith, chief executive officer of Equality Florida. “Increasingly, we hear from companies that are contemplating relocation or expansion, and they want reassurance that their diverse work force will be able to live in a state where they and their families will be treated fairly. The corporate culture understands that top talent looks not only at a company’s internal policies but also at the community they will call home.”

Darden employees present the panel they made for the AIDS Memorial Quilt.


photo courtesy of Darden Restaurants

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Darden employees participate in Spirit Day.

Darden’s all-inclusive culture was created by its founder, Phil Darden, and expanded on by former CEO Joe Lee, who maintained a philosophy of giving every employee the opportunity to be themselves. It was at this time when the company’s Pride Alliance was formed. Since then, the employee resource group has participated in many national organizations, such as Out & Equal, and local LGBT events, including Come Out with Pride Orlando and the Metropolitan Business Association, Central Florida’s LGBT chamber of commerce. “The main objective of the Pride Alliance is to teach people to bring their true selves to work every day and respect one another,” Gupte said. Pride Alliance is extremely active in the Central Florida community and, in 2013, has led many initiatives, including wearing purple to raise awareness about bullying and creating a quilt in support of AIDS Walk Orlando. The Alliance currently consists of over 200 Darden employees, many of whom do not identify as LGBT but are allies. Due to the company’s large footprint across North America, it is difficult to engage all LGBT employees, but this is something that Gupte and Pride Alliance are currently working on.

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human resources

To engage and attract a group with such influence to your product, service, or workforce, you must think like one: understand what drives them and what they value. To do this, companies need to have them on staff.


Then, why is it so hard to attract, hire, and retain this brain-power?


I’m going to let you in on a little secret—it’s not because they all have ADD; it’s often because companies haven’t changed the processes and mindset in how they attract, recruit, and retain employees. Millennials are the fastest growing segment of the workforce, and that’s not going to change. Employers need to adapt or be left behind. They need to throw out that company manual right now. It’s time to start fresh.

by Scott Span A few weeks ago, Jay Leno said good night one last time as host of The Tonight Show, with Jimmy Fallon taking over in what many assume is an effort to attract a younger crowd to one of late night’s most famous hours. Millennials, or Generation Y as they are also known, make up one of the most sought-after target markets today—from both a marketing and advertising and a recruiting and hiring perspective. This new audience brings with it a large amount of social influence and is a demographic to help grow ratings and profit. Attracting Millennial talent takes a change in mind set.


Here is what you need to know to attract, engage, and retain Generation Y employees. Recruiting. Don’t over promise and under deliver. Millennials expect to be challenged and perform the type of work they have an interest in and want to perform. If an organization can provide these opportunities, it is likely Generation Y employees will stay engaged. If, as an organization, you

can’t provide them with what they think is a fit, then tell them so on day one. If you over promise and under deliver, and they sense incongruence or feel stuck doing work they didn’t sign up for and don’t enjoy, they are likely to leave the organization. • To engage Generation Y, set clear expectations, clearly define goals, implement management development programs, and share organizational values and beliefs from day one. Meritocracy Not Hierarchy. Millennials have a low tolerance for political bureaucracy. They don’t buy the “tenure” or “chain of command” approach. Millennials believe in open and honest communication and feedback in all directions. They believe results, not years of service or level in the organization, drive team success. Traditional role and job progression is seen as too slow and outdated. • To engage Generation Y employees, consider changing the structure of your organization to a flatter model with less hierarchy and more rewards based on merit and performance instead of tenure and title. Outside the Box Benefits. Millennials enjoy flexibility, including flexibility in benefits. Having various programs and options in place and allowing Generation Y employees to choose where and how their benefit dollars will be spent is helpful in keeping them engaged. • To engage Millennials, adopt a variety of rewards and wellness programs, such as flexible spending, paternity leave, adoption assistance, health club discounts, etc. Add some atypical offerings to your benefits mix, such as iTunes gift cards, a rewards points program (based on performance), or an employee-to-employee leave/vacation balance exchange program.

lenges to achieve goals at both home and work. This doesn’t make them any less committed. If Millennials see that the organization is committed to their success both inside and outside of work, they tend to remain engaged. The key is balance! Comfort with Diversity. The days of the “good old boys club” have long since passed for those organizations that wish to remain successful and competitive in today’s global marketplace. Millennials have a comfort with diversity; to keep them engaged, it is important that they see the organization does as well. Take a look at your organizational chart. If they see that only one “type” of person tends to move up the ladder and they don’t fit that description, then it becomes easy for them to take on a ‘so why bother’ mentality, and this has a negative impact on engagement and retention. • To engage Millennials, recognize and embrace all facets of diversity, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Implement enterprise resource groups and affinity groups, put forth diversity initiatives, change up the organizational chart and add diversity to your leadership mix, sponsor events or corporate matching programs, and give back to diverse communities. Corporate Citizenship. A sense of purpose is important to Millennials. More and more Millennials are seeking employment with organizations that have strong civic mindedness. They seek careers that allow opportunity for social significance. To help Millennials be engaged with the organization, they need to know the organization will support them in engaging in working toward the greater good outside of work. Connectedness and sense of purpose are important. • To engage Millennials, go “green,” offer charity matching programs, allow them time to volunteer during work hours, and work on ways to connect the mission and values of the organization to the greater good.

Work-Life Balance. Millennials want, almost demand, something beyond an all-consuming career. To keep them engaged, motivated, and committed, it is necessary to provide true work-life balance. Achieving this can be done through a combination of outsidethe-box benefits and creating opportunities that allow for building meaningful relationships by taking part in social groups—both at work and outside the office. • To engage Generation Y, create team-building or social events, pulse employees for what they would enjoy most. Happy hours and pizza parties are not always the best means of creating team cohesion. Millennials have an “I can have it all” mentality: spend time with their families, engage in social networks, and still meet chal-



LGBTBE in the Spotlight PERLE & CO. by Laura Berry


Harvey Perle

photo couresy of Perle & Co.

After 17 years in business, Harvey Perle, owner of the manufacturers’ representative agency Perle & Co., experienced a cascade of professional and personal challenges in 2007, including divorce, diabetes, and a spiraling economy. Of the many lessons his mother taught him by her own example, one stood out: “When life throws you curve balls, you have two choices: survive or survive. Pick one.”

However, Perle didn’t stop his collaborative efforts there. A year later, certified LGBTBE Paul Turner of Macher Logistics contacted him to inquire if he had a network of businesses that could use a system that would simplify shipping of products and reduce freight costs. By working together, Perle and Macher were able to merge both industries to create a service that benefits both companies and the customer.

Determined to face the unexpected with creative resolve, Perle broke out of his traditional methods, expanded his geographical coverage, diversified his business offerings, and concentrated on developing his own brand of gourmet housewares and gifts.

“It made perfect sense that this was the kind of business that vendors in my industry should appreciate,” Perle said. “My clientele base were no longer retailers; they were now also the vendors I represented and other vendors in the industry, as well.”

By leveraging business relationships in his local chamber, Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CAGLCC), Perle learned more about LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) certification.

Perle introduced Macher to one of the buying groups in the gourmet housewares and gift industries and helped arrange for Macher to be the exclusive freight forwarder for members of that buyer group. Adding Macher to the features of this buying group helped differentiate them from their competition.

“Mark Guenther, executive director of CAGLCC, kept encouraging me to get certified,” Perle said. “I could not understand what the significance of certification would have on my business, but he was determined to get me to apply. After my mother passed away, I moved back to the Twin Cities full-time, and with the additional prodding of Jason Bryan, the QUORUM [Minnesota’s LGBT Affiliate Chamber] administrator, I realized that applying was not as monumental as I had envisioned.” As a newly certified LGBTBE at the 2012 NGLCC National Business & Leadership Conference in Chicago, Perle was open to imaginative business ideas, including potential B2B opportunities. He knew he was on to something when he met Joe Cote of Capsule Pen, a fellow certified LGBTBE who went on to win the entrepreneur-focused Roll the Dice pitch competition event that year. “I was familiar with the kinds of retailers that Joe’s pill container product would best sell in,” he explained. “Joe and I developed a retail strategy to place product, and we are now getting our first orders.”

“When the odds are against you, and what you had become is stripped away, it is your obligation to find creative opportunities to surge ahead.”—Harvey Perle

Recently, Perle was introduced to Dina Proto and her wife, Dina Poist-Proto, of Teazled, another LGBTBE and manufacturer of upscale LGBT-themed greeting cards. He saw not only the obvious connections to consumers in the number of states legalizing samesex marriage but also the potential for independent retailer success. “Greeting cards support both independent retailers as much as a national retail chains,” Perle explained. “Recognizing the importance of the role of the independent retailer strengthens the entire structure of the local economy. Our first account sold cards the first day they were on the sales floor.” Today, more than 10 percent of Perle’s portfolio is connected with certified LGBTBEs. Although he has registered with NGLCC corporate partners and relentlessly pursues corporate contracts, he is an open advocate for B2B team building. “When you attach a business affiliation with a group of people who traditionally have been frowned upon by society, suddenly that minimized group rises in value,” he said. “Our community has a lot to contribute to the national economy. The NGLCC had incredible vision to understand the economic impact of supplier diversity for all groups, including women and people of color. I don’t know what inspired them to make certification their main function, but I am grateful that they did.” A version of this article was originally published on




Buddy Dyer was elected as mayor of Orlando, Florida, for the first time in 2003. He has subsequently been re-elected three times and is currently serving his final term in municipal government. Since the very beginning, Dyer has been a strong advocate for LGBT equality. He was the first mayor in the history of Orlando to participate in the city’s gay pride parade and Disney Gay Days, an annual celebration held at the Walt Disney World Resort. Over the past decade, Dyer has led the effort to diversify Central Florida’s economy and create a new breed of high-tech, high-wage careers for residents in cutting edge industries, such as digital media, life sciences and biotechnology, modeling, simulation and training, and aviation and aerospace. With this comes the issue of attracting a diverse and educated group of talent, including LGBT individuals. Dyer understood that attracting LGBT people to the city would be a great asset for growing companies, and as a result, he implemented Orlando’s Domestic Partner Registry (DPR), the first of its kind in Central Florida. “It’s economically beneficial for the city,” Dyer says of the reason for creating the registry. “Attracting talented people to your community is how you become successful, and our city wants to stress the importance of inclusiveness and equality.” Gay and straight couples that register under the City of Orlando’s DPR will have their relationships recognized countywide and have access to enforceable and vital protections anywhere in Orange County, which passed a similar DPR shortly after Orlando. The ordinance establishes the same domestic partnership registry that Orlando adopted, with the addition of allowing any Orange County citizen to designate a “support person”—living together or not. The ordinance allows the support person the following rights: health care facility visitation, health care decisions, funeral/burial decisions, correctional facility visitation, and emergency notification.


Mayor Buddy Dyer

photo courtesy of the City of Orlando

“Orlando has become somewhat of a model for other municipalities across the state,” Dyer explains. “Ten cities have implemented domestic partner registries after Orlando.” Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg are among those cities. Aside from the realizing the economic benefits of the DPR, Dyer believes it was the right thing to do.

effort and to make Central Florida a more inclusive place for everybody, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. Cultivating an image of diversity and inclusiveness will also serve as an additional economic development tool as our community looks to attract new employers and create jobs for all of our residents.”

In an open letter on the city’s website, Dyer mentions: “The City of Orlando values its diversity. We are incredibly proud to have played a leadership role in this

Cities across the country should look to Orlando as an example of the short- and long-term benefits and advantages passing pro-LGBT legislation can bring.

photo courtesy of the City of Orlando

“People who aren’t from Florida don’t realize that Orlando is a progressive center when compared to the Panhandle and the southwestern part of the state,” he says. “We maintain a progressive view towards a variety of issues and want our city to be welcoming to all people.”

Dyer also offers advice for other progressive city mayors living in traditionally conservative states. “Make the economic case and force other government officials to look at the overall spending power of the LGBT community,” he says. “Gay Days alone brings in tens of millions of dollars to our city, and that’s just one event.”

Mayor Dyer and other Orlando city employees excitedly wait in Orlando’s city hall as the domestic partnership registry goes into effect.




photo by Michael Cinquino

Jonathan D. Lovitz is a born communicator. Having gone to New York after years of touring with some of the biggest hit musicals, he began a career in television hosting work that changed him forever. Along with several seasons as a host and commentator on MTV and Logo TV, he has also been the face of The Red Carpet Network, Broadway TV, and Network Global News and has been a regular contributor to MSNBC, NPR, The Advocate, and Out Magazine, among others. Lovitz began using his public profile to advocate and directly work with the causes he cherishes most. He has spoken, raised funds, and advocated for The Trevor Project, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, GLSEN, Arts for America, and more. Lovitz has traveled the country, speaking everywhere from colleges and universities to the packed ballrooms of business and political leaders, inspiring crowds to make a difference. While LGBT youth causes are his primary focus, he looks for any chance to serve any community in need of a voice and uses his current role as a media director and social media strategist in New York to advise major companies on ways to benefit diverse communities.

“When I joined Logo TV in 2011, I made a promise to myself and my family,” Lovitz said, “knowing that it’s very rare that an openly gay young person is on television, I would only show the very best of our community.” He has been a beacon of hope and pride for the community ever since. “It is an honor and blessing to receive the emails I do each day from gay men and women across the country saying, ‘thank you for just being yourself on TV; it helps me feel like I can be who I am in my small town,’” he shared. Lovitz wasn’t initially sure he had what it took to be a voice our community needed, but after receiving so many emails like that, he knew he had to use his new-found platform for something that mattered. “Michael J. Fox once told a reporter, ‘...I enjoy my work as an actor,’” Lovitz explained, “‘but to make a difference in people’s lives through advocacy and through supporting research—that’s the kind of privilege that few people will get, and it’s certainly bigger than being on TV every Thursday for half an hour.’” Lovitz has held that sentiment closely to his heart, leaving a lucrative and successful career on the Broadway stage and televi-

sion screens to become a full-time advocate for the LGBT community, particularly its youth and its major business allies. Having spoken at nearly 50 events since he began his advocacy work three years ago, Lovitz has traveled the nation reminding the crowds, which range from public school groups to politicians and corporate executives, that even though we often take for granted how we can gather so openly at Pride and diversity events today, it wasn’t always the case. And, for those who Lovitz advocates most ardently, it still isn’t. “There are young people all across America, who are scared, bullied, and made to feel less than the beautiful individuals that they are,” he said. “It’s up to us as a community to help ensure that it does, in fact, get better.” In his first year on television, Lovitz appeared at 11 Pride ceremonies over three months. “That’s a lot of rainbows and glitter,” he joked, “but I got to meet thousands of incredible openly gay people from every corner of America who told me all the reasons they are so dedicated to watching, following, and supporting those who speak out for their community on TV

by Joey Amato


and in the field. It’s not every performer that gets to be so intimate with their audience, and I was forever changed from that.” Knowing and respecting his audience is something Lovitz takes very personally. Even in 2011, he was one of the few openly gay actors on television, and while many people told him that would ruin his career, he never bought in to that way of thinking. When Out Magazine asked him if he was the next gay leading man, he replied, “No, I’m the next leading man; the rest is just icing on the cake.” Lovitz’s time working in collaboration with major companies, many of which would not be expected to be leading voices in diversity and inclusion (like MillerCoors and Microsoft), has taught him that the our community’s fight for inclusion will be carried out not just in the courts and in legislatures but in board rooms across the country. A whole new set of objectives is being established by the private sector that has finally come to recognize embracing our community isn’t just good business, it’s the morally correct thing to do.

Among these objectives are issues that lie at the intersection of commerce and social impact. Currently, LGBT workers earn an average of 20% less than their straight counterparts. In 29 states, a person can be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and, in 33 states, if he or she is transgender. While there have been substantial gains in LGBT representation and visibility in politics, entertainment, journalism, and sports, the corporate closet continues to flourish in too many places, and there are virtually no role models in the senior ranks of the business community. Not a single Fortune 500 company is headed by an openly LGBT person, and few of them have any openly LGBT board members. Lovitz is actively working with groups like NGLCC and StartOut to change that and ensure that every young person in the United States will never be prevented from achieving their dreams just because they’ve chosen to be who they truly are. “A year ago, I was sitting at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce gala dinner,” he said, “having just given

Jonathan D. Lovitz speaks at the NGLCC gala dinner.


my remarks on the state of the community, when Judith Light turned to me and said, ‘You’re the future, kid. I don’t know what you’re going to do, but it’s going to be huge.’” When his eyes stopped watering and the feeling in his hands returned, Lovitz hugged her. He asked her what she meant by that and she told him that she had worked with the gay community since AIDS began taking her closest friends away. She said too many people had been lost that could have made a difference—and that someone had to. At that moment, Lovitz knew he was put here for something so much bigger than he ever had planned as an actor. Serving our community—and all communities in need—is what gets Lovitz out of bed each and every day. It is the reason he has left a very successful career in performing to work as a consultant and media advisor to nonprofit organizations, community groups, and major companies that work to improve the visibility and efficacy of the LGBT community. For more information, visit

photo by Scott Henrichsen Photography

Life &



Comedians “homosensual” Bryan Safi and “feminasty” Erin Gibson are embarking on another nation-wide tour, performing live versions of their podcast Throwing Shade. In their own words, the duo discuss “all the issues important to ladies and gays and treat them with much less respect than they deserve.” The pair have the perfect rapport for dishing out hilarious cultural commentary. Gibson is a sharp, no-nonsense defender of the oppressed, and Safi is a mix of clever insight with brazen bawdiness. As Safi describes, Throwing Shade touches on “anything from gay marriage to heavy flows.” A 2013 episode of the podcast includes an over-the-top interview with Dustin Lance Black in which Safi asks the acclaimed director about his LGBT activism and if he had ever “sat straight down on his Oscar.” As it turned out, Black had not done so, unlike what Safi claims to have done with his Daytime Emmy Award. “We don’t care if we come off as disgusting,” Safi explains. “We just want to be funny and take it to a 10. You listen harder if someone is making you laugh versus when someone is screaming at you.” Interestingly enough, the interview took place before Black and Olympic diver Tom Daley went public with their relationship, and in the interview, Black slyly referred to Daley as cute. A main focus of the live show and the podcast is, as Gibson explains, that the comedians “throw people who make our lives hard,” best exemplified by the segment “Shade or No Shade.” They take stories from the news and decide whether or not to throw shade at the subjects, holding people accountable for their actions. Some recent topics include Alec Baldwin (shade), the


Erin Gibson & Bryan Safi

photo courtesy of Throwing Shade

Sochi Olympics (shade), Vladimir Putin (shade), and the Ped Egg (no shade). However, they also take time to praise people advancing the causes of women and the LGBT community, such as Texas State Senator Wendy Davis and out football player Michael Sam. Both the podcast and the staged version of Throwing Shade create caricatures of figures in popular culture and boil down serious issues to their most trivial extremes. Appreciating the show requires knowledge of current events and the ability to find humor in dark places. No topic is too serious or trivial for the duo. Commenting on drone strikes and the NSA, Safi said, “If Obama saw [Matt Damon] in Behind the Candelabra, none of this would be happening. His eyes would be opened.” Non sequiturs are common for Safi. The live shows, which are mostly impromptu, contain an original, spontaneous song about the host city, and audiences can expect interactions with the comedians, including an R-rated game of Would You Rather? Safi and Gibson will also challenge each other to perform impressions of various celebrities, such as Mel Gibson, Vice President Biden, and Victoria Jackson as part of a running gag, though newcomers will have little difficulty acclimating to the humor. Following the performances, the two take time to meet, speak with, and thank fans who stay behind. They say they feel lucky to have “a passionate and whip-smart audience.” “Bryan’s not excited [about the tour],” Gibson joked, “but I’m excited for the both of us.” The weekly podcast and its live version originate from a former Current TV program called infoMania. Safi’s segment on the show, “That’s Gay,” looked at how LGBT issues were addressed in the media, and Gibson’s “Modern Lady” did the same with women’s issues. Following the cancellation of the show, Safi and Gibson teamed up and developed Throwing Shade, an uncensored version of their previous material. Since then, the pair have increased their reach and have recently begun posting condensed video podcasts on, where they both work, as a teaser for the week’s podcast. Throwing Shade is released every Thursday on iTunes,, and http://maximumfun. org. Ticket information for live shows is available at


Developing Meaningful Partnerships


If you’re a business looking to sell your products or services to the LGBT market, you must do so in a meaningful way. To truly carve out a niche for yourself within the LGBT market, you must be thinking about ways you can truly develop meaningful, authentic relationships and partnerships within the LGBT community. Being completely authentic and transparent is a benefit to everyone you do business with. Doing business with someone who is genuine, authentic, and transparent about the way they conduct business is a marketable quality. I would rather do business with someone that I could trust and that I know is being honest with me. The words authentic and transparent have an even greater meaning when applied to the LGBT market. It’s not a matter of if you would like to be authentic and transparent, you must be. Period. Without following these simple principles, you will not make it. LGBT consumers are ultra aware of what a company is or is not doing for the its LGBT customers, employees, and the community at large. For example, if ExxonMobil were to run a print advertisement here in UNITE Magazine featuring a lesbian couple, the untrained eye might think, Oh wow, I didn’t know ExxonMobil supported the LGBT community. In reality, ExxonMobil does not support the LGBT community, and I’m willing to bet the vast majority of you reading this are very much aware of that fact.

it’s check-writing time); it’s another to be active with that partner throughout the year. The more active you are the more business opportunities will come your way.

How to Identify the Right Partner There are many LGBT nonprofit organizations out there that would be great for you to work with; the key is to find the one that fits your company’s needs. As a company, you need to know what your measurable goals and objectives are for that particular relationship. If you are a bank and your goal is to open more business accounts, then it would make sense to partner with an organization that has access to a large audience of business owners, such as your local LGBT chamber of commerce. Think through who within the LGBT community makes the most sense to partner with and do some research to find the best match for your needs. Remember the LGBT community is not a monolith, so you shouldn’t view your partnerships through that lens. In short, there are many ways of developing meaningful relationships with the LGBT community, and choosing the right one may be difficult at first. Regardless of which organization you partner with, make sure your approach is authentic and transparent and that you remain actively engaged in the partnership you’ve created. The community is watching you.

Let’s breakdown the process of developing meaningful relationships with the LGBT community into two parts: why partnerships matter and how to identify the right partner.

Why Partnerships Matter LGBT customers can be skeptical. With the increase in marriage equality each year, more companies are joining the LGBT marketing train, but here’s the thing—most of them get it wrong.

Proud recipient  of  the  2013  NGLCC  Na8onal   Excellence  in  Community  Impact  Award    

Too often both large and small companies spend vast amounts of money for a marketing campaign without any meat to back it up. You cannot simply put an ad in a magazine without doing anything else. You must proactively create a company that LGBT customers will want to patronize, and to do that, you must be a committed partner within the community. The key to maximizing any partnership is by being engaged. If you are a large financial institution and partner with your local community center, chamber of commerce, or youth organization, you will get the most out of your money by being active. It is one thing to write an organization a large check and never speak to them again (until

More than  100  business  members  working  to  build  a  pro-­‐fairness,     pro-­‐business  community.  Learn  more  at  


Website and Social Media Analytics COME TOGETHER IN 2014

by Matt Skallerud

Remember when the hardest part about having a discussion with a client about website traffic was trying to explain the difference between a visitor and a “hit”? Back in the day, everyone loved to say how many million “hits” their site received, never quite realizing that a hit and a visitor were two totally different things.

The Bounce Rate

Website analytics have grown up a lot since then, and with Google taking the lead in offering free, in-depth website analysis tools, we’re now able to see not only how many visitors our sites receive per day but where they’ve come from and where they are going on our sites.

Thus, a very good content marketing campaign will keep a bounce rate well under 20 percent for the main referring articles. This is typical for content marketing in general. The site traffic referred by one individual article is typically less in one month than what is sent to a site via a banner ad or email campaign. In the longterm, that single article will drive more traffic during its shelf life online (which can last for years), and the quality of that traffic will typically be much higher, with site visitors remaining on the website for a longer period of time and reviewing more pages per visit than the average site visitor.

With content marketing taking such a strong lead in 2014 in terms of where marketing dollars are being spent, being able to analyze and compare the site traffic of a banner ad campaign versus an email campaign versus a social media campaign is imperative as companies continue to fine tune and hone their online marketing strategies. At the end of the day, it seems that the combination of viewing how many site visitors come from which website links, how long they stay, and how many web pages, on average, they view is quickly becoming the top indicator as to what makes a successful online marketing campaign.


On average, a 50 percent bounce rate is typical for most sites. As quoted on Wikipedia, “As a rule of thumb, a 50 percent bounce rate is average. If you surpass 60 percent, you should be concerned. If you’re in excess of 80 percent, you’ve got a major problem.”

Social Media Analytics

When it comes to analyzing the effects of social media in the marketing mix, Google Analytics is providing some nice, initial solutions, as described below.

A company that has taken Google Analytics and social media analytics to an entirely new level, however, is Simply Measured. Simply Measured incorporates and analyzes a company’s Google Analytics for its website, as well as its Facebook Insights and its Twitter, Instagram, Klout, Google Plus, and other social media profiles, bringing it all together in a series of in-depth reports that truly “turn the lights on” in terms of understanding what is working and what needs improvement in a company’s online marketing campaign. By drilling down into the various sources of website traffic measured today, Simply Measured is able to break a website’s traffic patterns down into easy to understand summaries and charts showing how many visitors a website receives, where they are coming from, and what they are doing once they get there. Viewing it another way, site traffic “bubbles” allow a company to quickly and easily visualize the impact of the various sources of site traffic on their website.

All of the traditional website analysis tools available today, including keyword analysis (what search terms were used to find your website), landing page analysis to better understand the impact of that first impression you are making to your website visitors, and paid search analysis to incorporate and measure the impact of your paid search and social media outreach, are incorporated in these Simply Measured reports. Analyzing the various social media channels a company is promoted on and how each of those channels drives traffic to that company’s website is available as well. The power to understand how an individual’s social media reach affects your social media website traffic, including knowing not only who your top influencers are as they interacted with your content but also what your top tweets were that these influencers interacted with, provides a much more comprehensive snapshot to better understand what your marketing strategy’s top performing elements are.


big idea

The Necessity of Business Resource Groups

IN CORPORATE AMERICA by Paul Collanton When you spend 40 hours or more per week in an office, you want to enjoy your time there and make sure that the space is completely accepting and supportive so that you can be yourself and do your best work. Even with all of the progress we have seen in the advancement of same-sex marriage, we are still behind in the workplace and have not yet signed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act into law. In 2014, members of our community can still be fired in 29 states for how they identify or who they love. Though this is unfortunate, there is a silver lining. It puts power in the hands of the corporation and its employees to make diversity a priority and attract LGBT talent instead of discriminate against it. One way to do this is by having groups focused on diversity in the company. If you have kept up with LGBT news and culture over the years, you are probably familiar with the terms employee resource group (ERG) and affinity group. These are groups of like-minded individuals who join together in the workplace based on shared characteristics or life experiences. They serve as a community that can come together for social events, networking, mentorship, professional development, and more. They can exist for employees who are women, members of the LGBT community, veterans, and other minorities and interests. What you may not be familiar with is the term business resource group (BRG). You can think of it as the employee resource group—version 2.0 or the affinity group on steroids. Recently, companies such as IBM and United Airlines have adopted this terminology and renamed their groups as BRGs. BRGs are an evolution of the traditional groups and have a strong focus on value added to the business and return on investment (ROI). With this focus on business, it can prevent the group from turning into a happy hour social club. The ROI is represented by better employee engagement and retention, increased sales, and visibility in the community. Increased sales is a unique way to show the value and happens when the sales and marketing teams partner


with members of the BRG to leverage the relationships that exist in those networks to differentiate the company in competitive situations. Companies that encourage such a high level of collaboration between groups and do it successfully will be well positioned to succeed in the 21st century. Forming a group like this can start with an employee and doesn’t have to come from human resources. Nita Henry, vice president of human resources for Children’s Hospital Colorado, shared in a recent Gay Ambitions interview, “In some cases, HR will lag behind the real needs of an employee base, and that’s where the opportunity is. If you think about the sweet spot in HR, it’s making sure that you’re not lagging behind what your workforce demands.” If you work for a company that has a BRG or want to form one yourself, it is important to partner with human resources and consider three things when integrating this kind of resource into the company successfully, says Tony Tenicela, a business development executive at IBM who is focused on workplace diversity and LGBT markets. 1. Education: How does it fit in with the values and goals of the organization? 2. Executive sponsorship: Does it have the support of someone at the highest level who understands the business case? 3. Encouraging leadership at the employee level: Has the passion of employees who want to make a difference been tapped into? If you are just getting started, the journey will not always be easy. It will require courage and tenacity, but there are so many resources out there to help. Until we have full equality in the workplace, there needs to be people out front and leading. Companies that embrace and invest in BRGs will be competitive in today’s world.


This memoir, by founder of POZ magazine Sean Strub, could be subtitled The Business of HIV since we see how astutely he uses his political and business savvy to fight stigma and foster education. “Most of my life, I have been interested in both business and activism,” Strub writes a little more than halfway through the book, “even when it has been morally and financially tricky navigating between them.” Since he was often failed by the National Health Institute, the Clinton Administration in the 1990s, and the pharmaceutical industry, he often had to strike out on his own. With carefully chosen words, Strub takes readers on an exploration of gay history from the mid-1970s to the present day. Not only do his experiences living within the community and being diagnosed with HIV in 1985 inform this eloquently crafted book, but his work in politics, fundraising, activism, copywriting, business, and publishing also has an equal presence. These skills created an issue of importance for the unaffected or unaware and thus made money. Srtrub learned at a young age what makes particular cities and communities tick, perhaps even before his time operating an elevator in the U.S. Capitol. He then uses that knowledge to further




his agenda and goals. Strub is lucky enough to count the likes of Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Larry Kramer, and Keith Harring among his personal friends, but in this context, they make appearances that are not anecdotal as much as indicative of their own activist roles. The tone of Body Counts does not make any attempt to hide the personality of the writer, nor the gay community, as each evolves from the 1970s until the present day. He compares the early HIV-positive communities in New York and San Francisco as being angry on one coast and compassionate on the other. When discussing condom use in the early days of the epidemic, he is told not to bother but instead to simply clean up after sex like “a good boy scout.” Interestingly enough, that conversation was with a physician who did not believe condoms were useful in curtailing HIV transmission.

Internet. Strub sought to overcome issues of racism and homophobia by engaging the African-American community through the magazine as well. “Nothing we did would matter if we couldn’t get the magazine into people’s hands, so we provided a free subscription to stand in the way of getting much-needed information,” he writes, reminding us that profits must be put aside for the common good. Currently, Strub is the executive director of the Sero Project, an organization that “combats the criminalization of people with HIV.” As we see in Body Counts and in the writer’s life, being an activist doesn’t mean becoming part of a cause and remaining static in that role. Instead, it means evolving with a cause, growing with a cause, learning from and enriching it.

Founded in 1994, POZ magazine was at first considered by some to be a “People magazine” that “glamorized the disease” when in reality it sought to unite and educate prior to the influence of the


The tone of Body Counts does not make any attempt to hide the personality of the writer, nor the gay community...

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Say "I Do" ON MAUI by Chuck Spence


Did you know that Hawaii was the first state to attempt to pass same-sex marriage laws back in 1993? While it took 20 years to evolve into full marriage equality in the state, it is no coincidence that Hawaii led the country in defining commitments of love to one another regardless of sexual orientation. If you did a search for the definition of aloha on the Internet, almost every result contains the word love in it. Here is one such result: “The literal meaning of aloha is ‘the presence of breath’ or the ‘breath of life.’ Alo means ‘presence, front and face.’ Ha translates ‘to breath.’ Aloha is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect. Its deep meaning starts by teaching ourselves to love our own beings first and afterwards to spread the love to others.” Indeed, Hawaiians are one of the most peaceful and loving people in the entire world and hold no judgments on anyone. That is what makes marriages so special on Maui; the presence of spirituality and living in harmony with each other and with the universe is just so powerful on the island. The Hawaiian culture intertwines the beliefs with the physical sharing during

these ceremonies, making them the most unique and memorable experiences. For example, I recently attended an incredible wedding for three same-sex couples simultaneously performed on Maui’s “Secret Beach.” The kahuna (Hawaiian priest) had each couple perform the act of physically exchanging aloha with each other. On that beautiful tropical morning, each couple placed their foreheads together with locked eyes and just exchanged breath with each other for a minute. While it was very symbolic of the couple showing they are now one in being together, it was also a very powerful exchange of love and trust for each other that the couple will carry with them forever. Combined with our tradition of the ‘first kiss’, it provides another bond that seals the relationship forever. Another very important belief is that the land and the water sustain our lives together and must play a prominent role in the marriage ceremony. Because of the consistently beautiful weather, most weddings on Maui are performed outdoors on a beach or in a beautiful garden with very comfortable attire. In the weddings referenced above, the brides and the grooms stood together barefoot in the sand within a circle of tropical flower petals, demonstrating the union of two people that are connected with the land and its beauty. Hawaiians also believe that

leis have very special life-giving powers, so placing the fragrant leis on each other is just as important as placing the ring on the finger in showing the union of two. Because of the tropical rains that fall on the mountains and the vast ocean that surrounds the islands, Hawaiians believe life together is sustained by the many blessings water brings us. Similar to the holy water that is used in Christian services, the Hawaiian kahu or kahuna uses water to bless the couples and their rings when the water sharing ritual occurs in weddings. Understanding the Hawaiian cultures and beliefs is key to performing amazingly beautiful wedding ceremonies. As the Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort and its wedding coordinators cater primarily to same-sex couples, the unique requirements and requests of each couple are melded into the Hawaiian practices and beliefs. Already a top destination for opposite-sex weddings, with last year’s upgrade to full equality, Maui is already proving to be a favorite for same-sex weddings as well. For more information on same-sex weddings on Maui, visit



Manage Your Time

AND GET THINGS DONE by Patricia Diesel, CPC


There are two basic components to organizing: managing your use of space and managing your use of time. Both require mindfulness to optimize their efficient use. However, with the digital distractions we face today, such as email, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon (also known as the “gremlins” of the modern day workplace), all competing for our precious time and attention, it’s easy to lose focus on our tasks at hand. In the workplace, distractions play a critical role in productivity. IT research and consulting firm Bassex estimated that $1 trillion was lost in productivity in 2010 due to information overload and distractions. The data accounted for time spent managing email and other content and the lengthy recovery time once a worker is sidetracked. Here are some simple but effective ways to help keep you on track and defeat those distractions.

Set aside “me time” Compartmentalizing your time gives you the ability to create and absorb instead of forcing you to react to communication stimuli. It’s probably a good idea to schedule “me time” in the morning when you are freshest and most alert. These quiet moments can ease you into your day, making you fully engaged and ready to accomplish great things.

Create a clean workspace If you want to be most efficient, you need to be aware of your work environment. Organized files and neat desks go a long way toward a work-conducive environment. Perhaps soft background music will help you focus and limit outside noise. Also, something as simple as shutting the office door or holding all calls for a specific amount of time will sharpen your focus, enhance your creative thinking, and help you get your work done quicker.

Delegate and let it go For those of us with a highly developed sense of responsibility, it can be easy to over-manage every task and project that comes within our radar. Perhaps you fit into this category and easily find yourself adding more and more to your workload throughout the day, by convincing yourself, “This shouldn’t take long.” Eventually, the sheer number of these tasks will overwhelm even the most productive person. Trust that your coworkers are competent and capable of handling projects and meeting crucial deadlines without your constant monitoring or micromanaging.

Prioritize tasks When overwhelmed with projects and communications, try to prioritize tasks using two types of lists: urgent tasks to be

completed that day and future work to be completed that week. With this game plan, projects on a strict deadline will get your immediate attention, while any time left over will be put toward achieving the goals you’ve made for a later date. In this same vein, if you make lists on a weekly, monthly, and yearly timeline, you will have a bigger picture of what needs to be done, taking baby steps to accomplish future goals.

Block out time for correspondence If you have an overabundance of daily work emails and phone calls, it may be best to set aside a regular time dedicated to responding to those communications perhaps an hour or two out of the day. This way you can respond to everyone effectively, without having your entire day peppered with hastily answered calls and emails in between other job responsibilities and deadlines. It is probable that your work environment will be somewhat chaotic at times; dealing with coworkers and clients and others make constant stimulation and distractions inevitable. Being aware of the entire process, taking it all in, prioritizing time, and enhancing the quality of your environment will help you become more productive and effective without going crazy in the process!



Florida Representative Dave Richardson

photo courtesy of Florida House of Representatives

the first in florida by Jim Schmidt

When Florida elected two openly gay House members in 2012, it made a big stride forward in equality. One of those members, Representative Dave Richardson of Miami Beach recently took some time to discuss his stint in the Florida House and what it has been like breaking down a barrier in his state. Richardson is a Democrat and represents District 113 in South Florida including beautiful Miami Beach. His district is very diverse with a 66% Hispanic population and sizable LGBT and Jewish communities. Richardson, while not Hispanic, does speak some Spanish, which he credits as helping him reach out to that community. He believes that one of the things that set him apart from his other primary opponents was going out and focusing on the Spanish-speaking parts of the district that actually tended to be Republican. Between that and his background as an accountant and auditor, they appreciated his fiscal experience over everything else and helped carry him to victory. As far as running as an openly gay candidate, Richardson says it really was a non-factor in his race. He never ran as a “gay candidate” and would actually recommend against anyone running under that banner. “I ran as a candidate who happened to be gay, but I’d never ask for someone’s vote just because I am gay; your qualifications and experience matter more,” he says. One of the few times the issue did pop up was in one of the first days of early voting. “Like any candidate, I was out working the polls and approached an older gentleman to ask for his vote. The conversation was cordial and then the man asked me, ‘How do you feel about gay rights?’ After wondering for a minute where this was going, I told him it was pretty significant to me since I am gay.” After a quick chuckle, the voter shared that he was gay too hence the question,

but it demonstrates how little an issue his sexual orientation was in the race. Once Richardson won his Democratic primary, he faced no Republican opposition so he was off to Tallahassee. Since arriving at the capitol building, he has lived by a good rule of thumb for freshman legislators—learn the ropes and build relationships before trying to be too noisy on issues. Richardson says he’s made friends on both sides of the aisle and being one of the first openly gay legislators hasn’t been a problem. It has even become something to joke about with some of his more conservative friends in the legislature. In a skillfully planned legislative tactic, Richardson made an attempt on the House floor to attach an amendment to major legislation to overhaul the foster care system in Florida. The amendment would have provided some additional protections for LGBT youth, but it was an issue that never would have seen a hearing in the conservative House committee. Unfortunately, after the 20 minutes of debate on the floor, the amendment failed on a voice vote, but Richardson maintains a working relationship with some of the very colleagues who voted against him. One of those Republican legislators and Richardson now have a running joke to see if he’s “going to gay-up bills.” Richardson has faith that one day the relationships he is building will in time help advance LGBT-friendly legislation, even in a conservative legislature. At this point, Richardson appears to be heading to a second term with no announced opponent, but he is wisely running a full campaign by raising money and getting out his message to voters. Perhaps one of the eight remaining states to have never had an openly LGBT legislator, such as Tennessee and Indiana, can take a page out of Florida’s playbook and have their own “first” in 2014.




Michael Sam

Major League Sports MEETS DIVERSITY by Stan C. Kimer It seems that many LGBT people, especially gay men, are not into major spectator sports. Since I grew up in a very athletically oriented family, sports have been an integral part of my life. As a gay man and a consultant whose practice includes diversity consulting with a specialization in the LGBT marketplace and workplace, I closely follow recent developments around LGBT diversity and sports. It seems that sports is now finally experiencing the growing pains and struggles that corporate America went through 10–20 years ago. Over the past few years, visible activity around LGBT diversity and major pro sports has hits the news. •

In 2011, the Atlanta Braves baseball team was embarrassed when pitching coach Roger McDowell berated fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco with gay slurs. In 2012, when Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s support of Maryland’s marriage equality initiative was criticized by a Maryland legislator, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe eloquently came to his defense. In 2013, the first active player in an American major sport, long time NBA (National Basketball Association) player Jason Collins publicly came out.

This year has already had its own developments.

Beginning with bad: First, the Olympics always bring extra attention to the sport of figure skating. When the Associated Press published a great article about the showdown between top American male skaters at the U.S. Nationals in January, the posted comments online were disgusting. Nearly half the comments speculated about the sexual orientation of the male figure skaters, using derogatory and vulgar terms. Second, the bullying incident within the Miami Dolphins football team between guard Richie Incognito and tackle Jonathan Martin involving rape threats and homophobic slurs has now grown to involve additional personnel and racial epithets.

Now the good: The year 2014 begins with very significant news of University of Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam’s coming out as an “openly proud gay man.” This pronouncement was met with a standing ovation from the University of Missouri student body, and since that time, Sam has received accolades for his candid and dignified handling of reporters’ questions. What is most significant about this announcement is that Sam is not an already retired pro athlete (several pros in the major sports shared their sexual orientation only after retiring), nor at the end of his career, but instead is about to be drafted onto a pro football team. Some football industry pundits have written that this move may hurt Sam’s ranking in the football lottery, since some teams may view having the new out gay player on their team as a distraction, but I strongly disagree. Pro sports now needs to learn what most businesses learned 10 or 20 years ago: leveraging diversity can be a huge organizational advantage. Instead, a pro football team will be very fortunate to obtain Michael Sam for three reasons: 1. Economics. A creative NFL team could market to a whole new segment. The LGBT market segment in the United States has over $830 billion in disposable income, according to Witeck Communications. Along with spending millions of dollars on theatre, opera, and WNBA season tickets, this segment can be purchasing NFL season tickets. 2. Community Relations. Having the first out gay active NFL player on the team can greatly enhance community outreach programs, including anti-bullying campaigns. As NFL teams routinely visit children in hospitals and inner-city school programs, they can deliver the message that all children can pursue any area where they have passion and talent. Gay teens do not need to join the drama club if they have the talent and interest to play football or basketball instead. 3. Team Success. The football team that drafts Sam can leverage the new addition by valuing the diversity and unique attributes of each team member and providing an affirming environment where each person can contribute his very best. I bet the team that drafts Sam will get an extra boost by welcoming the NFL’s first out gay player and will coalesce into a championship team.



LGBT Business Incubator



The LGBT Technology Institute has recently launched its Gay and Lesbian Incubator, located in the Lost River Valley of West Virginia. The Incubator will work with new and emerging start-up businesses and nonprofit organizations while studying the economic impact that LGBT communities have on fostering sustainable, long-term economic development. “We are truly excited about the development of the LGBT Technology Incubator, which will identify funding opportunities, provide business start-up tools, and offer a physical space for new startups,” said Christopher Wood, executive director of the LGBT Technology Partnership. The Incubator will focus on a variety of start-up industries including hi-tech, renewable energy technologies, small-scale manufacturing, and green and farm-totable agriculture technologies. In addition, the Incubator will provide resources and services for new nonprofit startups and

Blackwater River Canyon, West Virginia.


will work to develop apps for the LGBT communities.

and professor of entrepreneurship at Eastern West Virginia Community College.

“We welcome the LGBT Technology Incubator to our region and see its mission dovetailing with the development of our forthcoming Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (IREED) at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College,” said Chuck Terrell, president of Eastern.

“We are locating the Incubator in a rural community to spotlight the power technology has to spur growth and economic development regardless of geographic location. From small scale manufacturing to hi-tech app development and renewable green technologies to farm to table sustainable agriculture, we encourage all people to bring us your creative ideas. We will help you launch your business ideas into a viable business,” added Wood.

The Incubator will provide support and assistance to new and serial entrepreneurs and provide space for all entrepreneurs to grow and help start-ups prosper. “LGBT communities across the [United States] have long been a cornerstone of creativity, entrepreneurship, and economic development. Studies show that communities with high concentrations of LGBT populations exhibit strong and sustainable economic growth,” said Joseph Kapp, chief of New Business Creation at the Incubator

With its sweeping views of the Appalachian Mountains, the creative ecosystem of Lost River Valley was recently highlighted by the New York Times. A low cost of living, lower start-up costs, high-speed broadband connections, and close proximity to major U.S. markets like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., are just a few of the benefits to starting a new business in West Virginia.

“Our brand is the collective what we do, what we wear, what we say and how we behave. It is our consistent self – and we communicate our personal brand every day, all the time.” - Michael Burcham

find your authentic self at the nashville entrepreneur center.

Apr may biz web  

Unite Business is the only LGBT-owned publication focusing on LGBT business and corporate allies.

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