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bands, brands, & broadway

CYNDI LAUPER TALKS BRAND DIVERSIFICATION


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

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Letter from the publisher It is with great pleasure that I present the premier issue of UNITE Business, the only national print publication created for LGBT business owners by an LGBT business owner. After the success of UNITE Nashville, we received notes from community leaders across the country asking us to create a publication for their city. Being a small business ourselves, we found creating multiple publications a bit challenging at the moment and decided a national business magazine targeting LGBT business owners would be the best approach. Our controlled distribution method is quite revolutionary and efficient. Time is an extremely valuable asset for many business owners, and to save you time, we will distribute UNITE directly to your office. This will be more costly initially, but it ensures our advertisers will reach the exact demographic they are targeting, providing them the best return on investment. This issue features a variety of business and lifestyle editorial content, including prominent features with NGLCC’s Justin Nelson, Virgin’s Richard Branson, Out on the Street’s Todd Sears, and the ever-influential Cyndi Lauper. The publication aims to become the go-to magazine for fast companies and entrepreneurs in the LGBT community, offering readers informative content that can be used in day-to-day business. Since we will be distributed nationally, we highly encourage editorial ideas from our readers, affiliate chamber directors, and corporate partners. UNITE wishes to feature YOUR success stories, so please feel free to contact us. Thank you for your readership and support, and please enjoy the first issue of UNITE Business. -Joey

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table of contents

Joey Amato Managing Editor Ben Rock Creative Director Blake Kniffin Publisher

associate editor Business Editor

FEATURE CYNDI LAUPER SPOTLIGHT RICHARD BRANSON FRANCIS TOUMBAKARIS

Santiago Melli-Huber Michael Burcham, PhD

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Contributing Writers

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Mark Dawson, Sebastian Fortino, Laurel Gnagey, Brian Hooper MDiv, PsyD, Stan Kimer, Michael Linardi, Matt Madlock, Monica Maglaris, Gavin McKay, Justin Nelson, Frank Weightman PhD, CEP

CHAMBER CHAT NEW AT THE NGLCC 8 BIG IDEA WORK-LIFE INTEGRATION    12 SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE 18 GIVING BACK TIME TO THRIVE 14 OUT ON THE STREET 26 POLITICS ANTI-BULLYING BILL 16 CULTURE DIVERSITY OF AGINIG 22 MONEY CREDIT SUISSE 30 SAME-SEX PARTNERS 34 PROBLEMS WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION  32 ZEN THE MYSTERY OF TRAVEL 36 OUT DESTINATION DALLAS 40 BOOX REVIEW DAVID SEDARIS 42 FITNESS TRICKS TO TRIM TRAVEL 44 INSIDER TIP LOGO DATING 46

Ben Rock Joey Amato (407) 496-8751

content manger Sales manager

national advertising

Rivendell Media (908) 232-2021 Contact

Unite Magazine (615) 852-6660 joey@unitemag.com stay connected

www.unitemag.com @UNITELGBTMAG UNITELGBTMAG


chamber chat

NEW AT THE by Justin Nelson

Starting a business can be a huge task, but with good planning you can make it manageable. Ask yourself a few questions: Why do you want to start a business? What is the competition in your market and what makes you stand out? How can you price your product competitively? What sort of funding and resources do you need to get your business off the ground? Answers to these questions will ensure that you’re in the know when you approach investors and lenders to help start your business. Make sure you understand all the business laws and regulations related to your field—compliance is expected from day one. You’ll need to make sure to get your tax identification number, to register for state and local taxes, and to apply for any business permits or licenses required by your business. Once your business is established, get certified with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. As the only certifying body for LGBT businesses, NGLCC works to connect business owners with opportunities at the local, national, and global levels. Once certified, these business owners become LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs).

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With more than 140 corporate partners, the three big ways to develop as a business owner with NGLCC are through our Supplier Innovation Center, our Mentorship Program, and our executive leadership Scholarship Program. The NGLCC Supplier Innovation Center, a dynamic space in the heart of our nation’s capitol, debuted in November 2012 and is dedicated to groundbreaking education and networking opportunities for certified LGBTBEs. The SIC captures the spirit of what it means to be an entrepreneur: innovation, leadership, drive, creativity, and vision. LGBTBEs benefit from innovative educational offerings and programs that establish certification as an indispensable designation for LGBTowned companies. In the year since we’ve opened, we’ve hosted in-person interactive activities including trainings, seminars, strategic leadership meetings, webinars, and networking receptions. LGBTBEs have used the space for shared workspace, and we’ve even had organizational allies bring their events to the space to share with the LGBT supplier community. As we expand the programming in the Supplier Innova-

tion Center, NGLCC’s local affiliate chambers will have exciting access to leadership training and program development counseling aimed at strengthening local LGBT business communities served by the NGLCC’s network of domestic US and international affiliates. NGLCC corporate partners will have unprecedented access to education and training for supplier diversity professionals, diversity and inclusion leaders, and LGBT employee resource groups. The SIC will provide a permanent platform for connecting corporate America with certified LGBT suppliers in meaningful ways and will provide an innovative incubator for entrepreneurial success for the LGBT business community. During this first year, most programs have been free through the sponsorship of our Founding Champions of Innovation, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Wells Fargo, Mark T. Bertolini, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, OutSmart Office Solutions, MillerCoors, John D. Evans and Steven Wozencraft, and American Airlines as well as specific program sponsors. The inaugural LGBTBE Strategic Growth & Development Institute is a three-day program that will be offered in March 2014, sponsored by Wells Fargo, Southern California Edison, and Pfizer. Top management teams of LGBT-owned businesses, under the teaching of Dartmouth College Professors Leonard Greenhalgh and Kathleen McGahran, will produce a revitalized business plan intended to substantially grow

their companies. The program is custom-designed to fit the selected companies and will address their unique challenges in order to optimize business performance. The NGLCC Mentor Program was successfully piloted 2011– 2012 and is now in its second group of mentors and protégés with the 2013–2014 class. The Mentorship Program connects LGBTBEs with experienced and committed mentors to fuel the growth and sharpen the competitive edges of LGBT companies. By matching LGBTBEs with corporate representatives from leading NGLCC corporate partners and successful LGBT business owners, protégés receive expert guidance and industry insights focused directly on the individual needs of each participating business.

Justin Nelson is the cofounder and president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He has used his background in small business and issues advocacy to help build a national organization that has given a much-needed economic identity to the LGBT community. Since its inception in 2002, the NGLCC has grown to be the largest LGBT economic-advocacy and business-development organization in the world.


LGBTBEs certified by the NGLCC have an exclusive opportunity to apply for the NGLCC Mentor Program. LGBT suppliers will have the opportunity to submit their applications beginning April 2014 to be considered for the 2014–2015 class of mentors and protégés. The current class of LGBT supplier protégés will graduate from the program at the 2014 NGLCC National Business and Leadership Conference in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace from July 29 to August 1, 2014, where we will also welcome the new participants of the 2014–2015 program. Each class has had an average of 10 to 12 LGBT supplier protégés being mentored by at least one primary mentor each. The mentorship subcommittee of the NGLCC Procurement Council also serves as a group of corporate and experienced LGBTBE mentors that collaborate to bring programming and insights to the cohort at meetings and on teleconferences. NGLCC is looking to expand participation of both mentors and protégés as the program grows in future years. The NGLCC Scholarship Program was created in 2010 as a project of the NGLCC Procurement Council, which consists of all NGLCC corporate partners that work with us in the Supplier Diversity Initiative.

photo courtesy of NGLCC

Including the inaugural Strategic Growth & Development Institute, which will provide education for 21 business leaders from 14 companies, more than 40 LGBT business leaders have received NGLCC scholarships.

NGLCC Cofounder & President Justin Nelson with NGLCC Cofounder & CEO Chance Mitchell

Initially the scholarships were exclusively for Tuck Execu-

tive Education’s two minority business courses. We have since expanded the program to allow LGBTBEs to apply for three types of scholarships: 1. General • Scholarships of varying amounts (not to exceed $5,000) that can be applied to tuition and book fees of a business development course of the applicant’s choice at an accredited college/university • Vetting of course or program is at the sole discretion of the Scholarship Subcommittee 2. Tuck • $4,800 exclusively applicable to the Building a High-Performing Minority Business course that is part of Tuck’s School of Business Executive Education Program • This covers tuition, books, materials, accommodations, and most meals. To learn more about this program and eligibility requirements, please visit www.tuck. dartmouth.edu/exec/targeted_audiences/mbep.html 3. LGBTBE Strategic Growth & Development Institute • An annual program for top LGBTBEs and their business teams • This institute is custom-designed to fit the selected companies and will address their unique challenges in order to optimize business performance For more information on the NGLCC and its initiatives, visit www.nglcc.org.

UNITE BUSINESS | 9


spotlight

richard branson THE VIRGIN ENTREPRENEUR

Sir Richard Branson is arguably one of the most eccentric, gregarious, and successful entrepreneurs in the world. As founder and chair of the Virgin Group, Branson oversees an umbrella of over 400 companies, most notably Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America. His success began in the early 1970s with the creation of a mail-order record business, which rapidly grew into a chain of record stores and a record label that eventually launched the careers of the Sex Pistols and Culture Club. In the years that followed, Branson branched out into the airline business and added many high-profile ventures to his name, including Virgin Mobile, Virgin Galactic—a joint-venture with Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen—Virgin Racing, and Virgin Trains. At one point, he even owned a gay nightclub called Heaven. Branson will be the first to admit that not every venture he started has been successful, but he believes in giving each business one year to succeed. Branson is always striving to help budding entrepreneurs develop and grow their own businesses and describes a business as simply creating something that is going to make a difference in people’s lives and make their lives better. “That should be your purpose, because if you’re not going to make people’s lives better, then there is no point in creating a business,” he said. “The second thing is, having coming up

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with an idea be willing to surround yourself with people who believe in your idea. However, in the end, the best advice I can give any entrepreneur is screw it and just do it!” Starting a business is never easy, and many businesses fail within the first year of creation. “If you are starting a business from scratch, there is only one word that really matters, and that is survival,” Branson explained. “There’s a very thin dividing line between success and failure, and it’s very easy to go on the wrong side of that line. So, you just have to fight to survive.” The Virgin empire currently employs 7,000 people worldwide, but there were times when Branson had to fight for the company’s survival. “One day, I sat my young children down and said that at the end of that particular week I might have to take them out of school and might have to sell the apartment,” he said, “but we managed to stay on the right side of that thin dividing line. So survival is pretty critical.” People help build a business and—ultimately—a brand, and as a result, Branson cannot emphasize enough the importance of appreciating people. “You’ve got to be a good motivator, be able to praise people and bring out their best,” he said. “Never criticize somebody. People know when they have done something wrong, so they don’t need to be told. The more you can look at the best in people, the more they’ll give back.

by Matt Madlock


“If it’s not in your natural instinct to do that, you have to teach yourself to do it,” he continued, “and you’ll soon realize it’s like a flower, if they aren’t watered, they die. If people aren’t praised, they shrivel up. To genuinely be praised will always bring out the best in people. Make sure you create a really happy atmosphere for people to work in and make sure you look after the cleaning lady as much as your deputy managing director.” Forming your initial team can always be a challenge and may require thinking outside the box. “People asked, ‘How can somebody in the record business end up running an airline?’ If you can run one business well and you find the right people to runit, you can run any business,’” Branson said. “When I moved from the music business to the airline business, I knew the most important person was the person who headed up maintenance because if you have a crash, there’s no point in being in existence. So, I got the head of maintenance from my rival airline to come run Virgin. “From that point, I knew our airline was going to be properly run, and it’s going to be a safe airline,” he said. “Make sure the thing that matters most about your company is that your key person is really solid.” Branson has been a supporter of LGBT rights since the late 1960s and has, most recently, taped an Out4Marriage campaign video in which he states, “Getting married myself and giving my daughter away were two of the proudest days of my life. Everybody should be able to experience those moments if they wish to do so, regardless of their sexuality.” photo courtesy of Virgin Group

www.dbpequipment.com 888.460.4327


big idea

Tired of failing at Work-Life Balance?

Try Work-Life Integration Instead! by Michael Burcham, PhD

I suppose somewhere on our planet there is a successful entrepreneur who spends as much time on his or her personal life as on the professional life, but I have yet to meet one. Having worked with (and coached) start-up entrepreneurs now for over a decade, I’m totally convinced these men and women will never achieve the “balance” that we so often read about. I know I won’t achieve it either. Having been an entrepreneur most of my life, I have often become totally consumed by my work. Every time I try to put “balance” back into my life, I found myself “out of sync.” Then, I discovered something really powerful, the fusion of the work and life was a much better option for me. For many people, work has two primary purposes: it is a source of income, and it is a source of “meaning” for their lives. I have found that many people consider the income-generating aspect of their work to be the most important, leaving the meaning part to become optional. When meaning is absent from our work, the only place we can find purpose and meaning is likely in our personal lives, so we look forward to evenings and weekends to fill the void that cannot be found at work. Howard Stevenson, a professor

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who started the entrepreneurship program at the Harvard Business School adds this twist. He says we all struggle to live at least seven lives: the family self, the social self, the spiritual self, the physical self, the material self, the avocational self, and the career self. How does one possibly juggle all that without burning out? Add to those the pressure of starting a company—and you’re toast!

A New Paradigm: Work-Life Integration After spending a few days with me, several people have guessed that I have no work-life balance. And they’re right. I have completely abandoned the notion that work and life are two distinctly different things that need to be put on a scale and weighed out in some distinct proportion. Instead, I now use the term work-life integration. I’ve tended to follow this thought from Alain de Botton: “There is no such thing as worklife balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” Over the past several years, I focused on the parts of my work that give me the greatest joy: teaching, helping someone start a business, coaching young CEOs, and investing. I enjoy my work so much I don’t even

consider it work. As a result, it’s easy to sacrifice some income, a hobby, or time when I’m doing what I love and finding meaning at the same time. I’ve learned to let go of the things I do not enjoy. I’ve purposefully integrated work and life in these ways. Time with Friends. I spend time with friends who have similar goals and aspirations that I have. We talk for hours about business models, the economy, and new ventures. I get lost in time. The work part of the conversation and the life part of the conversation become beautifully fused together because I thoroughly enjoy their company. The Causes I Believe In. I now support causes that help lift people out of their current situations, giving them a shot at creating meaning in their own lives through entrepreneurial endeavors. The fusion of the two allows me to give not just money but time and expertise as well. That’s far more gratifying than simply writing a check at another rubber-chicken dinner. Travel. I’ve found a way to fuse work and life with travel as well. Currently, I’m in Abu Dhabi for work, but I’m having an awesome time talking about entrepreneurship, seeing this beautiful part of the world, and making new friends.

My Family. Even my family is embracing the fusion of my work-life. I have purposely engaged my now-grown children in thinking about what makes them happy and their own paths toward a vocation—doing work they love—rather than simply finding a job. These are some of our best moments together. I use a tool I call my transformation map—a personal planning process that I’ve created to help me make good choices with my time while I work to further integrate my work-life. I’ve set quarterly goals for myself in what are the most important dimensions of my life. I purposefully work to see how I can link these activities to create as much meaning in my life as possible.

Interested in Your Own Work-Life Integration Plan? If the notion of integrating your work and life sounds somewhat appealing to you, here are a few good thoughts to get you started. Ask yourself if you really want the same things today that you wanted last year? Is the reason you started doing “this” (whatever this is) still valid? Most of us get into a routine, and we keep doing things that no longer have meaning. Michael Burcham, PhD, has been called the “Simon Cowell of startups.” As the founder and CEO of The Entrepreneur Center in Nashville, he screens dozens of new business ideas each week and has worked with everyone from a 10-yearold with a briefcase to a single mother with a dream, helping those with the best ideas achieve their goals while coaching others to further develop their aims.


2nd Qtr  

3rd Qtr  

4th Qtr  

My 2014  Goal  

Family &  Friends  

Bucket List  

Spiritual  Life  

1st Qtr  

Professional Skill  –Knowledge  

Causes I  Believe  In  

Work Goals  

Transformation Map

Start thinking about how your life will be perceived after it is over. What will be your legacy? Once you discover what’s truly meaningful and satisfying to you, letting go of the rest gets very easy. Build into your schedule time for the really important stuff—a family night, a date night, a course you want to take. If you don’t build it in, you’ll certainly fill the time with something. Spend some time asking yourself this question: What would you be doing with your life right now if you knew you wouldn’t fail? It’s a tough one, but it will get you thinking about making meaning. I honestly believe that life begins at the end of our comfort zone. Look at the past few years of accomplishments. Think about what you are most proud of getting done. Also, think about the things you wish you’d spent more time doing. Cut out the things that don’t add value to your life. You’ll find they were just noise, and

you won’t miss them at all. Try to work on your own transformation map for 2014. Mine is divided into six dimensions of my life; use it as an example. For the year, I set a measurable goal for each of these 6 areas. It gives me 6 very specific things I need to work on to continue to create meaning. I try to make these as complimentary as possible, all moving me toward my larger goal for the year. It doesn’t have to be perfect— the tool is simply a guide to allow you to infuse purpose into your work, meaning into your life, and start thinking about your own legacy.

Last Thoughts Finding meaning is a deeply personal quest. By linking how we gain fulfillment and purpose in our lives from our work and how we gain meaning and happiness from other parts of our lives, we can begin to understand ourselves a bit better. We are all different, so make your own path.

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.


giving back

helping youth thrive HRC, NEA, & ACA PARTNER ON NATIONAL CONFERENCE by Ben Rock

As managing editor of UNITE Magazine, Ben Rock brings over ten years of experience in the publications industry to the magazine. He is a communications consultant with expertise in content strategy, event marketing, and brand development for small businesses, national retailers, and nonprofit organizations.

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The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) have become co-presenting conference partners at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s inaugural Time to THRIVE Conference, which will support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Taking place in February 2014, this national conference for educators and other youth-serving professionals will build awareness and cultural competency, offer best practices, and deliver resources from leading experts working on behalf of LGBTQ youth. The NEA is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3 million members in education, and the ACA is the largest association representing professional counselors in various practice settings. “Our partnership with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation comes at a critical time in the struggle for the rights of LGBTQ people in our country,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of NEA. “We’ve come a long way on the road to legal equality, but we have many miles still to go.” “Time to THRIVE was created to address an is-

sue head on. That’s the approach our counseling professionals encourage, and that’s the approach we support as a strong, unified counseling community. By sharing knowledge, tools, insights, and techniques, we can better serve this invaluable population,” said Cirecie West Olatunji, PhD, president of ACA. The NEA has long been an advocate for LGBTQ rights. Partnering with the HRC Foundation will help the organization’s leaders provide members with the tools they need to better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth. Participating in the first annual Time to THRIVE conference will give NEA members an opportunity to develop partnerships and share what they have learned with other professionals who are also serving America’s youth. The ACA and its diverse professional membership embrace a humanistic approach to mental health, focusing on empowerment, engagement, and support as integral components of health and well-being for each individual. HRC and the Time to Thrive conference also embody this approach by striving to provide relevant, timely, powerful education and resources, which will


Betty Degeneres

LZ Grander son

Dennis Van Roek el

Vinnie Pompei

Cirecie West O

latunji

photos courtesy of HRC

help youth-serving professionals address the realities of one of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. A shared vision of focused care and prevention made this partnership a natural progression for ACA. Special guests at the Time to THRIVE conference will include Betty DeGeneres, national LGBT activist and mother of Ellen DeGeneres, and LZ Granderson, ESPN columnist and CNN contributor, among others. Workshops will include presentations from the Trevor Project, Trans Youth Family Allies, PFLAG National, Faith in America, and many more. According to the HRC Foundation’s groundbreaking 2012 survey “Growing Up LGBT in America,” 33 percent of LGBTQ youth say their family is not accepting; LGBT youth are more than twice as likely to be verbally harassed at school; and 63 percent of LGBTQ youth say they will need to move to another part of the country to feel accepted. “HRC’s research into the everyday lives of

LGBT youth was a stark wakeup call,” said Chad Griffin, president of HRC, elaborating that the organization wanted to offer parents, educators, counselors, health care professionals and other service providers the resources necessary to ensure the same opportunities for LGBT young people as their straight peers. While LGBTQ youth worry about grades, finances, and college applications—the “normal teenage stuff”—the issues tied to their identity that weigh on them the most: unsupportive families, bullying in school, and fear of coming out. Because of these differences, the HRC Foundation decided to launch the Youth Well-Being Project to promote safety, inclusion, and well-being for those who are LGBTQ. The organization hired Vincent “Vinnie” Pompei to head the project. A former middle school teacher and high school counselor as well as the president of the California Association of School Counselors, Pompei’s passion for creating safe spaces for LGBTQ youth lends itself well to

educating others on how to better the lives of the most vulnerable of our community. “All young people should be provided with a safe place to learn and an equitable chance to thrive,” Pompei said of the upcoming conference. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen automatically for those who identify or are perceived to be LGBTQ. Educators and other youth-service providers are thirsty for training and resources. I am thrilled that Time to THRIVE will provide these professionals with a ‘one-stop-shop’ opportunity to become emerging experts and change agents in their communities.”

Time to THRIVE will take place February 14–16, 2014, at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Learn more and register at www. timetothrive.org.

UNITE BUSINESS | 15


politics While the fight for LGBT rights is gaining ground at both the state and federal levels, LGBT youths remain vulnerable to harassment in school.

Anti-Bullying Bill FACES A HOUSE FIGHT by Santiago Melli-Huber

In 2010, following a prominent string of suicides by gay, bullied teens, Representative Jared Polis (D-Colo) and Senator Al Franken (D-Minn) introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) in the House and Senate, respectively. At the time, the bill failed to make it out of committee, but the two have reintroduced the SNDA during the current legislative session. Modeled after Title IX, the SNDA would add gender identity to federal education nondiscrimination law. Specifically, it would protect students from violence, bullying, and harassment and prevent exclusion from federally assisted educational programs. It would also offer remedies to such discrimination, including a loss of federal funding and a legal cause of action for victims. Despite the bill’s previous failure and opposition by a Republican-controlled House, Brian Branton, Polis’s chief of staff, is optimistic for its passage. He is focused on attaching the SNDA to a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

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“With the help of Senator Franken,” said Branton, “we have been successful in attaching it to the Senate version of the bill. As ESEA

reauthorization continues to move through Congress, we will continue to ensure that SNDA remains a part of this legislation.” When the bill was first introduced in 2010, Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, said it was “a violation of those kids who want to express opposition to LGBT opinions or behavior.” “It does not violate religious freedom or freedom of expression,” said Branton. He emphasized that the bill “would provide protections for LGBT students and ensure that all students have access to public education in a safe environment.” The bill has over 150 cosponsors in the House and 37 cosponsors in the Senate. President Obama endorsed the SNDA in 2012. “We have to do everything we can to eliminate bullying and harassment,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, echoing Obama’s sentiments. “We have to create climates that are free of fear where our young children grow up safe...and I will continue to support [Polis’s] efforts.” Though the bill does not protect against bullying outside of school or online, Duncan went on to emphasize the importance of the role parents have in monitoring their children’s behavior. “It’s so important that we, as


Representative Jared Polis

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

parents, adults, and educators, are aware of what our children are doing,” said Duncan.

Santiago Melli-Huber 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 reearching and reporting the news.

“It’s not just physical bullying; it’s cyber bullying,” he said. “When you’re seeing things on the Internet that are so damaging, so harmful, that folks reach a level of depression and, frankly, desperation, they’re willing to hurt themselves, that’s way beyond anything that begins to be acceptable. So we, as parents, have to hold ourselves responsible.” The SNDA has received sup-

port from dozens of organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, the NAACP, and the Human Rights Campaign. It also has bipartisan support, notably from Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). Ros-Lehtinen is a vocal supporter of LGBT rights and is currently the only Republican member of the LGBT Equality Congress. “It’s frightening that so many kids feel let down by the very adults who are there to educate and to protect them,” she said, speaking before a

House Rules Committee hearing. “We have federal law that prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, gender, or religion, but...we don’t do anything to curb discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, so the federal law is failing LGBT students.” The future of the SNDA is anything but certain. It faces a steep battle against the GOP-controlled House. However, public support for LGBT rights continues to rise, giving supporters hope for the SNDA’s passage.

UNITE BUSINESS | 17


big idea

4 Critical Steps TO CREATING A SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE IN YOUR BUSINESS by Michael Linardi

In today’s challenging business environment, how do business owners achieve harmony in their businesses and their lives in order to achieve success?

along by co-workers who are doing all of the work. As a leader in your business, the question to ask yourself is “Am I the captain of my boat?”

During the tough, economic uncertainty of the last four years, many of us learned, both personally and professionally, how to do more with less, where to spend the reduced income we have, and how to get new customers, keep them, and exceed their expectations. With this new-found creativity, we have opened our minds to new possibilities and developed expectations for greatness. However, when we share this vision with our employees, does the entire team embrace it?

Recently, I met with the president of a company and the two executives who oversee the two divisions of his company. We discussed the importance of the leadership team sharing a common vision for excellence. One of the division executives embraced the concept, while the other executive took a mediocre approach, settling for less for his division. The president embraced my statement, “People who live above mediocrity and strive for excellence are those who become extraordinary. Those who live at or below mediocrity are those who settle.” In preferring the former, he engaged me to help develop solidarity in his team.

I like to use the analogy of a boat when discussing a team. For a team to be excellent, everybody needs to be in the boat, picking up an oar and rowing towards the common vision. Sometimes employees are in the boat, but they’re not picking up an oar. Some employees are swimming along the side of the boat and are not really connected to the team or the vision of the business. Occasionally, there are even employees who are sitting back in a dinghy behind the boat being pulled

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There is no need today to ever “settle” for less. Through adversity, we have found a creative spirit of excellence within us that can literally move mountains. By managing simple everyday tasks with excellence in mind, success in business is not only possible, but it is assured.

Michael Linardi, business and executive coach, is the chief executive officer of Halcyon Coaching and has been a coach for 15 years. With 22 years of experience in the field of health promotion and behavior change, he founded Halcyon Coaching. Linardi is a frequent speaker and leads workshops, seminars, and retreats nationwide. For further information, visit www.michaellinardi.com.


4 Steps for Excellence Every Day 1. Set the intention for your day. Successful people create and plan their day by taking 10 to 12 minutes each morning to establish their priorities of the day. This brief time of planning can save you two hours in execution. 2. Manage around your core values. The core values in a business represent the foundation for how we want to do business. Your company’s values may include integrity, honesty, exceeding client’s expectations, respect and teamwork, or producing high-quality work. These core values become the operating platform for your business every day. All employees must understand and embrace these values in order to move your business forward. 3. Build a brilliant team. Building the right team is critical to a business’s success. This starts with knowing the characteristics you want in your employees. Don’t overlook the people skills (i.e., emotional intelligence, communications skills, values, etc.) for the technical skills (education, job skills, employee accomplishments, etc.). Developing a team that understands and embraces your vision for the company is critical to reaching success. Surrounding yourself with employees who will support you and encourage you can make all of the difference. 4. Become a strategic thinker. Anticipating changes in the business world and looking to the future are key elements to achieving and maintaining success. We cannot afford to put our heads in the sand to avoid change in the industries in which we work. Change is coming regardless if we are ready or not. Shifting our thinking and looking at the opportunities change presents helps us to visualize a new future. By acting on these opportunities for change, you can move your company’s vision forward.

“For a team to be excellent, everybody needs to be in the boat, picking up an oar and rowing towards the common vision.”

By taking these four simple steps every day, you can move your business from a mediocre player in today’s marketplace to a leader in excellence, blazing the trail ahead of the rest.

UNITE BUSINESS | 19


FEATURE

bands, brands & broadway CYNDI LAUPER TALKS BRAND DIVERSIFCATION by Joey Amato

Cyndi Lauper is undoubtedly one of the most successful women in the music industry. She has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and holds a countless number of awards, including Grammys, Tonys, and Emmys. Now, with a hit Broadway musical, Lauper is on top of the world...again! It’s somewhat hard to imagine that the bubbly young woman who only wanted to have fun in the 1980s has become a media titan, earning respect from industry peers and critics alike. Lauper’s debut album, She’s So Unusual, spawned five top 10 singles and earned her the two top female vocalist awards presented at the American Music Awards in 1985 along with Best New Artist at the Grammys that year. In the years to follow, Lauper collaborated with international superstars, including Sarah McLachlan, Shaggy, and Jeff Beck, and toured the country with Cher. In March 2010, Lauper appeared on Celebrity Apprentice, ultimately coming in sixth in the competition. During this time, she was also promoting her Memphis Blues album, which remained in the number one spot on the Billboard Blues Album charts for 14 consecutive weeks. Given her busy schedule, Lauper said her biggest challenge has always been time. “That’s my biggest struggle...not having enough of it. I work and travel so much, I just don’t get to be

20 | UNITE BUSINESS

with my family as much as I want to,” she explains, referring to her marriage with David Thornton and their son, Declyn Wallace Thornton. Having always been a strong advocate for LGBT equality, Lauper cofounded True Colors Tour for Human Rights in 2007, sponsored by Logo. Attendees received purple “Erase Hate” wristbands from the Matthew Shepard Foundation and enjoyed performances by Deborah Harry, Erasure, and Margaret Cho. A dollar from every ticket sold was donated to the Human Rights Campaign. The following year the tour grew and featured more of Lauper’s friends and LGBT allies,

including The B-52s, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the Indigo Girls, and Deborah Cox. In April 2010, Lauper’s True Colors Fund launched the Give a Damn Campaign to encourage straight people and the LGBT community to stand up together against discrimination and to highlight the problems that LGBT students face in school from verbal and physical bullying and harassment. “Be yourself first and foremost. Be proud of who you are,” she says, offering strong words of encouragement for those experiencing any form of bullying. “If you are struggling, seek out someone that you trust, be it a family member, a teacher, a guidance counselor—someone you feel comfortable with. If there is not anyone like that in your life, then you can call the National Runaway Safeline at 1 (800) RUNAWAY or the Trevor Lifeline at (866) 488-7386 if you need immediate help. There are people here to help you. You are not alone.” After she learned that up to 40 percent of all homeless youth are gay or transgender, Lauper and the True Colors Fund launched the Forty to None Project. “I was shocked and pretty furious. These


kids are getting kicked or forced out of their homes at an alarming rate,” she says. “After really examining the problem, we learned how we can hopefully fix it, so we started the Forty to None Project, the first national organization whose sole focus is to help bring an end to this epidemic. From helping to get the Runaway and Homeless Youth Inclusion Act introduced in Congress to helping homeless youth providers across the country provide safe and affirming care for gay and transgender youth, we are working to shake things up and really help these kids. We need all of the help we can get, and people should check out fortytonone.org to learn how they can get involved.” Lauper has been re-imagining her Give a Damn Campaign, which has been helping people, especially those in the straight community, become informed and involved in advancing equality. The campaign just passed the 100,000 member mark this summer and is preparing to relaunch this winter. Along with writing her simply titled book A Memoir, Lauper has also expanded her brand by experimenting in different media. “I have been very fortunate that I have been able to act, write a book, and score a musical,” she says. “I never set out to diversify my brand, but I always set out to test my boundaries and go after things I really am passionate about doing.” Based on the motion picture and co-written with Harvey Fierstein, Lauper’s musical, Kinky Boots, is about a struggling shoemaker and his drag queen business partner. The original production of Kinky Boots opened in Chicago in October 2012 and made its Broadway debut on April 4, 2013. The musical garnered 13 Tony nominations and earned 6 awards. “Harvey Fierstein got in touch with me, and I was in after just one phone call,” Lauper explains. “I have always wanted to work with Harvey but never thought it would be something as big as a Broaway musical. We felt pretty good about it when we first started on the project. We were hoping it would do well and are just over the moon on how the audiences have responded.” After 30 years in the business, most artists become stagnant, but Lauper has no plans of slowing down. In the early stages of a new music project slated for release later next year, she has found ways to reinvent herself and reach out to new audiences while maintaining her close relationship with her fans that grew up listening to her music.

photo courtesy of Fly-Life Inc.

“I can’t believe, after all these years, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ is still an anthem...” she says. For more on Lauper’s projects, visit www.cyndilauper.com.


c culture

Two Issues around the Diversity of Aging: IN THE WORKPLACE & INTERSECTION WITH LGBT by Stan Kimer

At a Sunday church service I recently attended, “Miss Mildred,” a 93-year-old woman, was very slowly assisted to the keyboard to play two hymns that the congregation sang. After the songs, the pastor remarked how so often society simply discards or disregards our older citizens, even when they still have gifts and talents to share with us. Miss Mildred did a wonderful job of playing, and she simply glowed as she enjoyed ministering to us through her musical talent.

Stan Kimer is the president and owner of Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer. In his work, he combines his passion for personal growth with worldclass business knowledge to propel enterprises to gain efficiencies and grow profit through total engagement. Kimer has been recognized as an internal and external consultant with unique skills in employee development, career road mapping, LGBT diversity management, organizational effectiveness, and project management.

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One very interesting dynamic in the United States, most European countries, and Japan is the rapidly growing percentage of the older population. Two of the main contributing factors in these regions of the world are the declining birthrate and the improved health care and lifestyle choices leading to longer lives. Shouldn’t we as individuals, companies, and societies seek to see the value and treat with dignity the aging adults in our communities? For the first time in history, as mature workers stay on the job longer, there are four generations in the work place. In 2002, 14% of the workforce was 55 and older, in 2012 that rose to 19%. While there is now a decrease in the workforce aged 24–44, the highest growth rate is among 45–54-year-olds. Over 50% of workers 45–70 years old state that they plan to work into their 70s. An article in the May 2013

issue of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) magazine highlighted the growing trend of women to work well into their 60s and beyond. Now that there is a smaller pipeline of new talent coming into the workforce, many companies are facing shortages of critical skills. Perhaps the answer is better utilization of mature workers as we address two questions: 1. Are the talents and expertise of older employees being fully leveraged? 2. Are companies building the required pipeline of new leaders as older employees retire? In terms of fully leveraging the talents and expertise of older, experienced employees, here are some ideas: • Now with the four generations of workers on the job, are you providing solid training so that the diverse groups can work together in a respectful and productive way? • Are you introducing innovative programs for mature employees such as parttime work as a bridge to full retirement? AARP (An Ally for Real Possibilities) provides a

>>>


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wide range of resources for the experienced worker. The current experienced workforce is now one of the largest segments in the United States due to the increased birthrate from 1945 to 1964. This generation, often referred to as the “baby boomers,” is retiring at an increasing rate, and many companies are experiencing a critical talent shortage. Ideas for addressing the need to grow a leadership talent pipeline include the following: • Having a robust program in place to engage younger employees in meaningful career development and growth. Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer offers an innovative program using career maps of successful professionals to provide ideas and guidance to all employees. • Taking full advantage of senior employees by asking them to mentor junior employees. This can be a great way to foster institutional knowledge transfer and to make the senior employees feel good about their work and accomplishments. • Including leadership elements in your diversity programs so that your future leadership pipeline is as broad as possible and includes a full mix of gender, race, LGBT, and other aspects of diversity. Proper treatment and leveraging of the aging worker population can indeed be built into a business advantage instead of becoming a major issue.

Intersection with LGBT Diversity Since LGBT diversity is my deepest area of expertise, I always like to focus on the unique perspective and intersection of LGBT diversity with other diversity areas. I appreciate the work of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), which provides many of the below points. First, some general facts about the aging LGBT population: 1. It is increasing rapidly and with the shift in culture as more older LGBT people are “coming out.” Recent estimates suggest that there are over 1.5 million LGBT people over age 65 in the United States and that will double by the year 2030. 2. A higher percentage of LGBT elders face financial hardships due to job benefit and social security inequities, and fewer family members to help care for them. 3. LGBT elders deal with a significantly higher rate of mental and physical health disparities. 39% of LGBT elders have contemplated suicide, and 53% feel isolated from others, over double the general population. 4. Many LGBT elderly people face discrimination and stigma in the lives for our country’s systems that supportthe aging.

c culture

“Shouldn’t we as individuals, companies, and societies seek to see the value and treat with dignity the aging adults in our communities?” Many of these issues are even amplified for the aging transgender population. Many of these issues arise from the fact that many of today’s aging services providers are ill-equipped to provide competent and nondiscriminatory services to address the unique needs to transgender elders, and some health issues remain from barriers faced to receiving quality health care earlier in their life spans. However, I see some encouraging signs that there is much more focus now on the intersection of aging and LGBT, and this emphasis must continue to develop.

UNITE BUSINESS | 25


giving back

Takin' It to the Street TODD SEARS ON EQUALITY & WALL STREET by Joey Amato Recently, Out on the Street, a leadership organization that brings together senior executives from across the financial services industry to expand LGBT equality, held the first summit in Asia to focus on LGBT equality in the workplace. Hosted by Barclays at the Conrad Hotel, the conference welcomed senior-level executives from Out on the Street member companies as well as other Asian business, community and political leaders. “Out on the Street is a model for industry-wide collaboration to advance LGBT equality that helps our members maximize this return,” said Todd Sears, the organization’s founder. “LGBT equality is a global issue, and as a global company, we understand the value of inclusion and diversity to our business and our colleagues,” said Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays Group. “Today we have an opportunity to work together with like-minded organizations and commit to fostering an environment where all of our people are respected for their talents and contributions, in an environment that offers everyone—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity— the same opportunities to be successful.” Barclays was proud to be host the inaugural Out on the Street: Asia summit. The participation of so many global companies at the summit

26 | UNITE BUSINESS

demonstrated that there is a new paradigm for what constitutes a “workplace issue” and companies are now expected to be active on a broad range of topics, including LGBT equality and inclusion. In the past, many of these topics were seen as external concerns that were not relevant in the corporate world. Financial services companies were among the first to recognize the opportunity in this sphere. Organizing any summit for the first time always presents a world of challenges, and Sears found the cultural and familial differences present in parts of Asia to be quite unique. “The family structure, especially in China is not very LGBT supportive,” he said. “The single child policy in particular has certainly enforced that because the concept of passing down the family name is very important to the Chinese culture. If your one child turns out to be gay or lesbian, that’s not a good thing for them.” He also noted he encountered more people who were open about their sexuality within the workplace than outside the workplace, a reverse of what is found in the United States. One of the highlights of the Asia summit occurred during the pre-summit dinner when HSBC Holdings changed the lights of its Hong Kong skyscraper to resemble the colors of

the rainbow, marking the first time in the building’s 32-year history this had happened. Though commonplace in the United States, this act proved integral to HSBC Hong Kong’s involvement and commitment to LGBT inclusion.

officer of Community Business, a nonprofit organization specializing in corporate responsibility and a recognized thought leader in diversity and inclusion (D&I). “Companies have a lead role to play in facilitating greater understanding and openness.”

Notable speakers and panelists during the Out on the Street: Asia summit included Anita Fung, chief executive officer of HSBC Hong Kong; Andrew Morgan, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Credit Suisse Asia Pacific; Robert Morrice, chairman and chief executive officer of Barclays Asia Pacific; and Robert Vogtle, managing director and chief financial officer of Deutsche Bank Asia Pacific.

The Out on the Street model demonstrates how companies within an industry can come together to create progress on a larger scale that is not possible by themselves. From LGBT workplace protections to

>>>

“Our extensive research into LGBT issues in Asia highlights that LGBT professionals in this region face significant challenges— many stemming from a cultural context that means the subject continues to be shrouded in stigma and taboo,”

said Fern Ngai, chief executive

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giving back equality, the financial services industry with Out on the Street has been at the forefront and has shown what companies can achieve when they leverage their combined strengths.

Research by the Williams Institute shows companies with positive LGBT policies also experience a positive bottom line, proving a direct correlation between diversity and profitability.

“Even though we are competitors in the business sphere, there are certain areas, such as LGBT equality, where it makes sense to share best practice and truly make a difference,” said Stuart Gulliver, group chief executive of HSBC.

“Out on the Street is a model for industry-wide collaboration to advance LGBT equality that helps our members maximize this return,” Sears said. “The fact that all of the firms in every other way are competitors but are willing to come together to share best practices as an industry says a lot.”

The next US summit will take place in New York City on May 1, 2014, and will also include an emerging leaders’ summit the day prior, titled Next on the Street, which will focus on the next generation of LGBT talent on Wall Street. All of Sears’s events, which have been commonly referred to as the gay Davos, are invitation-only through one of the 19 sponsoring firms and cater to director-level or higher senior management. Each summit focuses on regional differences depending on its location. Most recently, the European summit last November focused on the challenges in places like Russia and Africa and the progress that has been made in the past few years. Since Sears began the organization in 2011, he can see the change in the corporate culture of many Wall Street firms. “I think there are clear ramifications,” he said. “In the first year, four of the six firms who were part of the organization had CEOs who signed on to support marriage equality in New York State and referenced Out on the Street as part of the reason for their support.” Prior to the organization, there had never been a gathering where more than one chief executive officer had discussed LGBT issues and opportunities at the same time. Currently, Sears has interacted with 22 top executives, proving Out on the Street’s goals and practices are in demand and that LGBT inclusion is top of mind for many corporate leaders. “If you think how that trickles down into the companies themselves, it’s amazing,” he said. “When your senior-most leaders are interested in learning about LGBT issues, it shows their peers and the world at large. It’s hard to define the impact that makes.”

When meeting with executives, Sears sets out to give the firms the best return on their investment, not just through capital but also resources and engagement. Each firm has a goal it wants to achieve, whether to expand or build an ally program, help increase inclusion and understanding outside the United States, build LGBT initiatives for private banks, or create the next generation of talent. “By keeping them collaborative while still letting them compete with each other, everybody sets the bar higher,” he explained. Like a successful entrepreneur, Sears is taking the Out on the Street model and replicating it into other industries. In 2014, he will launch both Out in Law and Out in Insurance. Sears credits the success of the organization to the industry verticals they are focused in. “We created summits that are by the industry for the industry,” he said. “If we opened it up to anybody, I don’t think people would feel as comfortable sharing and discussing because a lot of the topics aren’t always positive. For senior leaders to be comfortable speaking about certain issues, we need to keep that sort of safe space.” When Sears first started Out on the Street, his goal was to connect senior leaders to each other, to challenge Wall Street to continue to push the envelope, and to continue to uncover opportunities for LGBT business. “I think we accomplished all of that in spades,” he said. “By design, in terms of being collaborative, I think that is what has contributed to our growth, and with the Asia summit, Out on the Street is the first global LGBT organization.” Even though Sears did not initially plan the organization’s rapid success, he feels overwhelmed by the support of the corporations who are involved.

photo courtesy of Out on the Street

“I’m like the quarterback bringing smart people together, but each of the firms are really the ones helping drive this forward,” he said. “Unlike other organizations, we rely on one senior leader in each firm in each region to determine what the goals and objectives will be at each summit and what initiatives need to be built between the summits. We then discuss how to leverage and implement what we spoke about, so people really feel like they have a stake in the organization.” To learn more, visit http://outonthestreet.org.

Todd Sears speaks during a Hong Kong Seminar.

UNITE BUSINESS | 29


M money

by Joey Amato

Eric Berger

photo courtesy of Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse REVOLUTIONIZING WALL STREET 30 | UNITE BUSINESS


Recently, Credit Suisse became the first financial institution to launch an index to track the equity performance of companies with LGBT-friendly policies. The Credit Suisse LGBT Equality Index is a capitalization-weighted equity index that measures the performance of US companies recognized for supporting and promoting equality for members of the LGBT community. Index inclusion requires a score of 80 or above on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI.) The HRC Corporate Equality Index is the national benchmark for corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees. The initial concept for the index is the result of conversations between Credit Suisse and LGBT Capital, a thought leader in the field of LGBT-related socially responsible investment activity. Furthermore, the company launched an associated investable portfolio, the Credit Suisse LGBT Equality Portfolio, powered by HOLT, a Credit Suisse proprietary valuation framework with a disciplined cash flow approach to company analysis and stock selection. This new Portfolio is available exclusively to Credit Suisse Private Banking USA clients. It is currently the only investable instrument associated with the index and contains blue chip companies with progressive LGBT policy and strong capital appreciation potential. “Wall Street, and Credit Suisse in particular, has a strong track record of providing leadership and support for LGBT-related issues,” said Timothy O’Hara, global head of equities with Credit Suisse. “We are very pleased to be launching an index that tracks the economic impact of LGBT-supportive policies.” “For now, the LGBT Equality Portfolio is only available to Credit Suisse Private Banking USA clients. However, we do anticipate in 2014 having a more widely distributed ETF or mutual fund,” said

Eric Berger, head of Credit Suisse’s private banking practice. Berger and his team created the portfolio for two main reasons. First, Credit Suisse, as a company, has always been a leader in LGBT equality. Secondly, Berger believes there is a business case for the portfolio. “Our investment thesis is that companies that engage in proactive LGBT policy may have stronger bottom line performance.” Credit Suisse has also sponsored research conducted by the Williams Institute of UCLA law. “We want to further explore the correlation between a company’s LGBT-related policies and its bottom line economic performance,” Berger said. The portfolio is being marketed to three distinct demographic targets: members of the LGBT community and LGBT business owners, socially minded individuals and families, and institutional money consisting of pensions, endowments, foundations, and insurance companies, which Berger explains has been among the most interested.

“[Credit Suisse is] very pleased to be launching an index that tracks the economic impact of LGBTsupportive policies.”

“The portfolio is a large-cap US equity solution, which has a similar expected return and risk profile as that of other largecap options, but we think it can potentially outperform given our investment thesis,” he said. “Many of our socially and politically minded clients are more apt to choose this investment product over another based on its social responsibility focus.” The portfolio is actively managed and consists of between 20 and 30 blue-chip US companies. The LGBT Portfolio offers a balance of capital appreciation and sustainable dividend income, with a focus on LGBT equality. The portfolio focuses on quality US stocks, with top holdings including Thompson Reuters, Chevron, Merck, Darden Restaurants, Viacom, and Google. For more information, visit to http://customindices.spindices.com/custom-index-calculations/credit-suisse/all.

Joey Amato is the founder and publisher of UNITE Magazine. He has previously worked as managing editor for South Florida Gay News, Orlando Style Magazine, and TravelHost Orlando as well as OMG! 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.

UNITE BUSINESS | 31


problems

workplace discrimination COMPROMISES HEALTH OF SEXUAL MINORITIES by Laurel Gnagey As Congress debates a bill that would end employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers offer further evidence of workplace discrimination and its impact on the health of young sexual minorities. José Bauermeister, the John G. Searle assistant professor of health behavior and health education and director of the UM Center for Sexuality & Health Disparities, led an academic and community partnership that surveyed a diverse group of men who have sex with other men, ages 18–29. He and his research team wanted to find out if the men had faced discrimination at work and if it had an association with self-reported health status and health-related quality of life. “What our study found was that young men had not only reported diverse events of work discrimination due to their sexuality but also were more likely to report having poorer health outcomes than peers who had not experienced work discrimination in the prior year,” Bauermeister said. As part of an initiative funded by the Ford Foundation and

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the MAC AIDS Fund, Bauermeister and colleagues found that 15 percent of the nearly 400 Detroit-area men reported at least one experience of work discrimination based on their sexuality. Incidents included not getting hired in the first place, being fired, having been denied a promotion or salary increase, or getting an unfavorable evaluation. Using validated measures used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the researchers asked respondents to describe their overall health, indicate how often in the last 30 days their physical or mental health was not good, and whether their health had kept them from usual activities. Participants reported having a number of days when physical or mental health was not good, averaging one and one-half days when they were kept from their normal activities. Nine percent reported limited problems with functionality based on impairment or a health problem. “Our findings, although specific to the Detroit area, suggest that work discrimination has both civil right and public health implications,” Bauermeister said.

José Bauermeister

photo courtesy of U-M School of Public Health

“The absence of these work protections may also have economic implications for the community, as we are seeing that a group of young men who are ready and able to work may not be employed because of their sexual orientation or may have poorer health if they are experiencing discrimination at work.” While neither the state of Michigan nor the federal government offer protection to sexual minorities, the city of Detroit prohibits discrimination. The U-M School of Public Health study was presented at the 2013 American Public Health Association meeting in Boston and will appear online in the publication Sexual Research and Social Policy.

Laurel Thomas Gnagey is a senior public relations strategist with the University of Michigan and has been at the school for 12 years, the last two of them in the Michigan News office. She has held faculty positions in broadcast journalism, journalism and public relations.


M money

Advocating for Same-Sex Partners

All five areas need to be integrated and coordinated so they work together. For example take your income need: taxation, investment, and income source are all bound together like a rope; touching one means touching all three. An independent financial advisor, one with fiduciary responsibility for putting your interest ahead of his or her own, should be able to guide you. Ask about licensing, experience, how he or she is paid, any complaints or violations, conflicts of interest, etc., as you interview.

FINANCIAL & LEGAL ISSUES

Areas of Vulnerability

by Franklin C. Weightman, PhD, CEP If you are part of a same-sex couple, you may lack many of the legal protections and advantages that married couples automatically receive. You might face many issues involving money, insurance, property ownership, parental rights, estate planning, and taxes. If you are a part of a gay or lesbian couple, you could face additional issues in all these areas. Although opposite-sex couples may be unmarried by choice, gay or lesbian couples have no alternative since marriage for same-sex couples is not yet legal in most states. Because of the many issues you may face as unmarried partners, you need to take extra steps to secure a solid financial future for your partner and yourself. You must create your own legal safeguards through domestic partner agreements, property ownership as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, wills, living trusts, powers of attorney for health care and finances, and documents to safeguard your parental rights. In this regard, a team of financial and legal professionals may be of real value in guiding you.

Your Financial Life You have five areas in your financial life: • Estate Protection: wills, trusts, other legal documents to clarify relationships and protect your assets • Personal Protection: life insurance, long-term care, disability insurance • Income Protection: projected to and through retirement to keep from running out of money • Tax Protection: staying current on tax law changes and not paying more than your fair share • Investment protection: insuring that you are not taking more investment risk that your risk tolerance and time horizon indicate

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Here are the areas in which same sex couples may experience difficulties: • Money Issues: separate or combined assets? • Life Insurance: how will one partner be cared for after the other dies? • Health Insurance: through employer, cost benefit analysis needed? • Property Ownership: property documented, income as property, untitled property? • Estate Planning: wills, trusts, taxation, gifting, power of attorney (general durable and for healthcare), avoiding probate? • Tax Issues: filing status, head of household, property transfer implications for gift and estate taxes?

Tips to Reduce Confusion • Consult a financial advisor who has established relationships with estate attorneys. • Go to visit together and be prepared to discuss how you think and feel about the five areas of your financial life. • Do NOT procrastinate. If you do, procrastination wins by default and your loved ones may be left in the lurch. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Franklin C. Weightman, PhD, CEP, is an investment advisor representative with Radian Partners, LLC. He has been in the financial services industry since 2001 after 19 years of teaching at the university level in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.


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zen

Embracing the Mystery of Travel HOW TAKING A TRIP CAN BECOME A SACRED JOURNEY by Brian Hooper, MDiv, PsyD

Brian Hooper, MDiv, PsyD, is a licensed pastoral psychotherapist with a private practice in the Belle Meade area of Nashville, Tennessee. He invites you to visit his website www. drbrianhooper.com.

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On the cusp of high school, I experienced my first adventure abroad. The Ambassador’s Chorale was bound for two weeks of singing our way across Switzerland. Singers ranged in age from those, like me, who had just finished middle school to those about to complete high school. Besides taking me to a foreign country, this trip was to be the beginning of my journey of self-discovery, because among those teenaged singers was a bass whom I fell for—hard! Although I had a passport to enter a foreign country friendly to visitors, the territory of my own inner experience seemed dangerous. It’s been a long journey from those youthful days when I was hardly at home in my own body until today. Now I can feel at home no matter where I am, and that sense of inner hospitality empowered me to pick up my roots in San Diego and venture to Nashville in 2011. As the journey inward can prepare us to pick up and go to a new location, travel can invite us to find our way to new vistas within. Here are some thoughts for your travels—around the neighborhood and world, in and around your own heart. Be mindful of the journey as well as the destination. In the days when religions encouraged pilgrimages to holy sites, not everyone could afford the necessary travel. Instead they could fulfill the quest by slowly and mindfully traversing a labyrinth, the maze-like design on the floors of many cathedrals, while contemplating their own lives in view of the light that shone from a distant shrine. This experience underscored the idea that what takes place along the way is as important as arriving somewhere. Likewise, a trip to the market for daily groceries can provide opportunity to notice our own inner life. Are we in a state of anxiety? Do we notice the beauty in the ordinary? Do we have a sense of gratitude for daily food? Are we open to chance and not-sochance encounters along the way? Maps are a good investment, but they are not the journey. And they most certainly are not the territory. We all have maps by which to navigate new territory; we plan our lives in many ways. Although such maps are helpful, each of us has an inner compass that also must be respected. When

the needle of that compass quivers with intuitive warning that we are going in the wrong direction or about to heed the advice of those whose certainty may simply be self-serving, do we pause and reflect? We all know that even MapQuest and Siri are not always to be believed. At times, we have to call on our inner compass to verify or challenge the directions on our maps. Before we pass judgment on new places, it’s best to be present with respectful non-judgment, open to developing understanding of others. This reflection often leads to deeper understanding of self. Sightseeing can be fun, but seeing with the mind and heart can be insightful. While visiting a friend who lives in the ex-pat village of Ajijic, Mexico, I let the amateur anthropologist and sociologist in me do the looking and asking. I was fortunate to learn the backstories of some of the locals—native-born peoples and resident guests. The whole scene took on new and deeper meaning than what would have met the eye alone. Alone, my eyes would have projected my interpretation onto the scene, but new understanding came with these backstories. Enlightening my appreciation for the people provided an opportunity to learn about myself. Accepting mystery enriches life’s experiences. Successful people are agenda-led people; they plan their work and work their plan. True, we all need to be clear about where we are going or at least where we clearly intend to be going, but mystery has a way of stepping into our well-ordered plans, diverting us from our course. Taken as frustration to our itinerary, mystery leaves us in the dark; however, when we invite the true meaning of mystery into the experience (from the Greek mysterion, a secret being revealed), we have an opportunity to get back into our bodies and inner lives. We are not, after all, human doings but human beings. The ability to truly “be” with oneself is the most necessary preparation for the adventure with others along the way. So, here’s to the trails, paths, flights, cruises, adventures, trips, and sojourns before us. May they thrill, inspire, educate, renew, and refresh us. Most of all, may they lead us to know more fully the territory of our own souls and of those we encounter along the way.

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S

uphill battle.” He has been financially independentsince he was 15, when he left his Athens home on scholarship to attend the prestigious Rudra Béjart dance school in Switzerland. The same year Toumbakaris entered high school, he signed a lease on his own studio apartment.

spotlight

“It was a bit scary,” Toumbakaris said. “I was a boy living in a very grown-up world.”

Francis Toumbakaris CRAFTS HIS OWN STAGE by Mark Dawson

HGTV’s newest renovation stud, Francis Toumbakaris, is as comfortable in a pair of tights and slippers as he is in boots and overalls. Having trained in classical ballet since he was 12 years old, Toumbakaris has high kicked his way onto the national tours of Fosse and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and on Broadway in the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, starring Alfred Molina and later Harvey Fierstein and Rosie O’Donnell. Toumakaris’s other theatrical career highlights include the award-winning Susan Stroman dance musical Contact and Candid at the New York City Opera. “Drama is in my blood,” he said. “I am Greek, after all.

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Drama was born in my country.” His animation shines in Brother Vs. Brother, HGTV’s latest competition show where home renovators are split into two teams—Team Drew and Team Jonathan—to compete for a $50,000 cash prize. “I’m out and loud,” he continued. “I’m not afraid to get dirty, and I thrive on making decisions on the fly. “I want to think I am a likable character, but it’s a show where, even within our own teams, we are pitted against one another. The show is filled with conflict.” Conflict is nothing new to Toumbakaris. “My whole professional career has been an

To make the tiny studio a home away from home, he painted, decorated and, with the help of his stepfather, constructed customized furniture for it. “I designed a dual-purpose kitchen island that would allow me extra counter space and storage. What 15-year-old thinks of that?” he asked, laughing. “But, I loved it. I felt the same thrill handling tools as I did pointing my toes and trying to leap higher than anyone else in my ballet class.” In 2000, on a tourist visa, he set out for New York City, where he landed the occasional theater and film job. He had only $2000 in his pocket, money he had saved from being a backup dancer for a pop singer in Greece, but he was young, driven, and ambitious. Along with his stage work, Toumbakaris appeared on the big screen with speaking parts in two major motion pictures: We Own the Night with Joaquin Phoenix and Noise with Tim Robbins. Still, he needed another job to see him through the lean months in-between showbiz gigs. After returning from touring with Scoundrels, he placed an ad on the Internet looking for small painting projects, repair work, and other odd jobs. “I would ride around the city on my bicycle and a backpack full of tools,” he explained with a laugh.

Toumbakaris was surprised when his survival job began to take on a life of its own. One satisfied client referred another, which led to another and so on. Within a year, he went from completing simple jobs to doing full-scale renovations in Manhattan apartments. He hired an assistant, filed for insurance, and established his contracting and design company, Greek&Handy, in 2007. Toumbakaris believes his years as a dancer helped prepare him for design. The stage taught him to be fearless, to perform under tremendous stress, and to make the job work even when all appears to be going wrong. It taught him to trust his gut instinct, and dance, most importantly, taught him about the art of space. “Dancers learn to appreciate how bodies and objects flow through space. I bring that philosophy into my renovations, striving to find the perfect balance in a room through smart design and efficient layout.” According to Toumbakaris, good design is not simply about pretty colors, fabrics, and accessories. It is an art that requires precise and intricate problem solving. “I am constantly calculating new ways to improve my clients’ work and living environments.” Toumbakaris describes his style as comfortable luxury with a classic urban feel. “I like to think of myself as the orchestra conductor,” he said. “Although I may not play all the instruments, I direct all the moving pieces to create one beautiful harmony.” His theatrical training even helped him to land Brother Vs. Brother. “I auditioned three times for the network, hoping


to compete on season four of HGTV’s Design Star,” he said. However, producers felt his background in home construction was better suited for Drew and Jonathan Scott’s new show. Toumbakaris is excited that Brother Vs. Brother is giving him the opportunity to combine his love of show biz with his passion for renovation. “I never thought wearing a tool belt would give me the chance to perform on a new stage,” he said. “But, why not? I’m an artist. I’m always looking to create something new.”

photos courtesy of Francis Toumbakaris

His ambition extends beyond the show. A Greek&Handy line of tools, paints, and home goods is in the works. Toumbakaris also aims to find a husband and build a family. Yes, the dancer-turned-handyman-turned-interior renovator admits he is anxious for his next big role, that of “Daddy.”

UNITE BUSINESS | 39


out

DESTINATION

DALLAS

by Joey Amato

Dallas is one of the largest cities in the southern United States. Those visiting the Big D will quickly see that, even though it has all the makings of a major cosmopolitan city, it has somehow managed to maintain its Southern charm. Best known for its legendary BBQ, Dallas has also emerged as a culinary capital of the South, offering a variety of options for every budget and taste. Most surprising about Dallas’s culinary scene is the abundance of Asian restaurants to choose from. I even visited an all-you-can-eat dim sum restaurant, which was

really exciting as I have not seen this kind of restaurant outside of a Chinatown neighborhood. The majority of LGBT activity in Dallas is centered on Cedar Springs Road. Just a short taxi ride from downtown, CSR, as the locals call it, is a mix of LGBT-friendly retail, restaurant, and nightlife venues that could rival those of Chicago or San Francisco. To many people’s surprise, Dallas is a very progressive city with a thriving LGBT scene and business community. The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce is one of the fastest growing and most active in the country. Round-Up Saloon is the place to go if you are looking to

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embrace your inner cowboy. The venue offers three distinct rooms and a large dance floor where patrons can two-step and line dance to their hearts content. Across the street is J.R.’s Bar & Grill, an extremely popular destination and a great place to meet the locals. Its sister club, Sue Ellen’s, is a hot spot for women, open seven nights a week and offers a laidback sports bar vibe as well as a dance floor. After a night of partying Texas-style, head to the Warwick Melrose Hotel, just a brief five-minute walk from the heart of Cedar Springs Road. The 200-room luxury hotel is one of the finest in the city offering a mix of traditional design with

contemporary amenities, including 37-inch flat-screen televisions, iPod docking stations, and 300-thread count sheets.


For an amazing dining experience, head to the hotel’s Landmark Restaurant, recipient of the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Award. For something a bit more quirky, stay at the Belmont Hotel, a converted motor lodge that offers many amenities of a major hotel chain, including a full-service restaurant, fitness-center access, and outdoor pool. The retro-chic property also offers complimentary shuttle service within three miles of the hotel and hosts many LGBT events throughout the year. Dallas is also a shopper’s para-

dise. With large department stores, such as Neiman Marcus, calling the city home, it would be hard to leave without spending a few dollars. For those who would rather invest in small boutiques, head to Outlines Menswear or Union Jack, one of the oldest LGBT-owned and operated clothing stores in the nation. Union Jack is the place to find that perfect pair of Andrew Christian underwear along with other brands.

The Belmont Hotel

To catch up on local news and events, grab a copy of the Dallas Voice, the local LGBT newspaper, or for more information check out www.visitdallas.com.

Warwick Melrose Hotel

photos courtesy of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau

UNITE BUSINESS | 41


REVIEW book

Let's Explore

Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris reviewed by Sebastian Fortino

The last book published in 2010 by David Sedaris was a whimsical collection of modern-day fables titled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. This was quite a departure from his usual short stories, essays, and commentary about his life; a fairly ordinary life beautifully elevated through his keen wit. The title of the latest book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, is a little misleading as it’s a return to his standard method—no more fables. His wit, worldview, and philosophy about the types of people he likes to know, meet, and thus write about can be summed up in one quote: “Someone who lives in a mansion spun of golden floss, forget it, but someone who lives in an old refrigerator beside a drainage ditch— by all means, call me! Collect, even.” In this collection, we see Sedaris interact with his father, invent a Tea Party supporter totally tricked by a closeted gay son, dreamily reflect upon his Southern childhood, visit a London shop specializing in antique taxidermy, experience the 2008 election of President Obama in Europe, dine in China, and even visit the dentist in France. Of course, he again recounts interactions with his father, a highlight of his work. He weaves tales somewhere between fiction and memoir, between the “movie version” and “real life.” It’s not because he embellishes; it’s because of how clearly he shares his vision. It’s not that someone could recall their widowed grandmother this way... “Bringing her to the [country] club would have depressed people. The mournful black dresses, the long gray hair pinned into an Old Country bun, she was the human equivalent of a storm cloud.”

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photos courtesy of David Sedaris

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.

...it’s because he does that makes him such a delight to read! It’s also a vaguely political book, because we see a lot of his ethics and his beliefs related to society and the world at large. Sedaris, is openly gay, but rather private about it, candidly discusses his support of gay marriage, the intricacies of getting residency in the United Kindom, his self-aggrandized relationship with an African-American classmate in high school, and the delightfully twisted holiday gifts he exchanges with his partner, Hugh. He also richly discusses his experiences traveling throughout the globe on his many book tours and speaking appearances.

In this collection of verse—with one chapter of prose, about dogs— the author easily returned to his traditional form. This is not a bad thing, instead it’s a return to something we all have come to love about hiss writing. It is a delightful collection that is meant to be read aloud, either back to yourself or to loved ones who might not know Sedaris but will want to after a few candid readings. Now, fans of Sedaris only have to do one thing: wait another two or three years for the next installment or be lucky enough to get tickets to his celebrated appearances.

UNITE BUSINESS | 43


fitness

train better while traveling 8 TRICKS TO TRIM TRAVEL by Gavin McKay I find vacationing and business travel to be a fun time to train because I am forced out of my normal routine to find new and exciting places to work out, creative ways to work exercise into my schedule, and great local foods to sample. However, most people make the mistake of shutting down when off their routines and assuming they are off from exercising and eating well for a couple days. Keeping fit can be a real challenge depending on your line of work, but it can also be super rewarding and smooth.

8 Tricks to Trim Travel 1. Bring Super Mobile Training Equipment Whether you are staying at the Ritz or a campsite, there are a few key pieces of mobile equipment that will fit nicely in your bag yet allow you to get a kick-ass workout anywhere. No weights? No problem with the suspension trainer that uses your own body weight for totally adjustable resistance. I recommend the Jungle Gym Suspension Trainer, a simpler, lower-cost version than TRX that you can just throw over a pull-up bar, fence, or tree. I used mine in Spain and Shenandoah with equal ease! Other items would be a speed rope and resistance bands for some quick, effective high intensity. 2. Run, Bike, Swim, Walk, or Hike across Whatever Town You Find Yourself When staying in a hotel, ask the concierge where the best places to go are or call a friend who lives there and catch up while doing something healthy instead of always doing food and drinks. If you are on vacation, then you are going to be a little more indulgent, so make sure

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I find the morning run is my favorite way to really get a feel for the layout of a new city or park when it’s brighter, fresher, and quieter. Just bring a map or smart phone! 3. Pack & Find Healthy Snacks Transportation stations are getting a little better with healthier options, but even some so-called “healthy” bars and shakes are loaded with sugar and chemicals. I like to get a high-nutrient drink, such as a Naked smoothie, or a good old bottle of water to stay hydrated; skip the other beverages as most are just sugar.

Gavin McKay is the founder and president of Unite Fitness, a fitness and nutrition program offered online and through fitness studios in the Philadelphia area that provide a unique brand of group and personal training. Visit his website at www. unitefitnessonline.com.

While you cannot take liquids through most security terminals, you can pack food; nuts, apples, jerky, and steel-cut oatmeal are easy to throw in a ziplock baggie. KIND, Larabar, and PROBAR are good options, too. 4. Subscribe to Unite Fitness’s WIM (Workout, Inspiration, Meal) of the Week Newsletter You’ll get free weekly workout programs and meals emailed to you so you can just follow Unite’s programming even when you are out on the road and not knowing what to do. They are usually simple enough to do in most hotel gyms, but you might want a suspension trainer or band. 5. Hit Up The Best Local Studios and Gyms I love to see what different gyms and studios are doing and feed off the energy of new people and a new environment. Never taken spin? Curious about the bar method? Heard everyone talking about some trainer? Do some research and sign up for some fresh local motivation. 6. Stretch and Meditate in the Plane, Train, or Automobile Too much seated time can be exhausting and get your body all knotted up, so be sure to do a half-time stretch routine with folds, twists, reaches, arching, rounding, and of course, breathing. If you are going to be still and locked in place, you might as well do some mental training so meditate. To focus yourself, I recommend using some of the great guided meditation tracks available on SoundsTrue. 7. Alternate Alcohol with Water to Avoid the Hangover The most common reason for missing a morning workout while traveling for work or vacation is that extra drink or two at dinner the night before. Socializing is great, but those couple of hours after dinner can be toxic. You stay up later and ingest sugar and alcohol right before bed, making you sleep poorly and feel like crap when you wake up missing your workouts.

Naked smoothies are great, high-nutrition snacks.

Alternate every drink or every other drink with water to slow down the process, keep your wits, and stay hydrated. I find sticking to beer and wine 90% of the time with a no shot rule keeps me level. 8. Be a Leader and Choose Meals Wisely While exercise will keep you fit and feeling good, the diet is what can really set people back in terms of body composition goals. Don’t check out when you eat out, especially when on business travel. Be a leader and choose healthier restaurants, get the healthier dishes, and turn down all the appetizers and desserts. Look for fish and veggies over the heavy stuff. What is really gained by falling to food peer pressure? A big belly and heart problems if my project partners from my old consulting days are any example.

The Jungle Gym Suspension Trainer offers a great workout on the go.

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insider's tip

by Monica Maglaris Your logo may be the most important purchase or decision you will ever make in business. Yet, many try to design them on their own or— even worse—go online and type “your business name here” to a stock design. You know who you are! Why is it a mistake? It shows no involvement in the meaning of your business. A good designer is really more of a fantastic listener. They should spend more time listening to what your business is about and who you are than showing you all the work they have done for others. Not that their past isn’t important, but picking a designer nowadays is much like online dating, unfortunately. You need to do some investigating. Visiting websites and looking through their portfolios is important, but getting to know each other in the old-fashioned way will always win out. Often I get an email asking for a price on a logo. I never answer that question off the bat. I can say what the minimum is to retain me, but until I talk to you and feel as if I have been told truthfully who and what you and your business are, you and I are both in the dark. You are paying for time and thoughtful consideration of your future not to mention design time. Your logo is the visual manifestation of your mission statement, so when interviewing a graphic artist/ designer, while looking through their portfolio, tell them about you and your business. Pay attention to if they are paying attention. Are they taking notes? Have they already started sketching before you even told them what you are about? Are they taking in what you are saying? Are they asking questions about you and what you do? I tend to ask questions. Lots of them, and they are pointed—so be prepared. We need to be compatible if this relationship is going to last. Think of your logo as a second skin. It should accurately reflect who you and your business are at the time it’s created and be updated accordingly. Yes, updated—I said it, but we will talk about that some other time. You are going to be wearing this second skin every day, plastering it everywhere you can and literally wearing it if you purchase promotional merchandise. So being comfortable in this second skin can make or break you. When you pay someone to design or update your logo, you are paying them to interpret your intentions and gestures to the public and then create the design. It’s an intimate process. Put down any fantasies about your business and get down and dirty with your designer. At first, it will feel like dating, getting to know each other clumsily, but when the right designer comes along, you will know it. You will click and things will fall into place. The proverbial U-Haul will pull up and that second skin will appear. Crawl in, get comfy, rock it, and make sure it looks damn good in your wallet.

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Monica Maglaris is president of Liberty Screen Print Co. in Naugatuck, Connecticut, where she lives and works with her partner of 18 years and their three rescue mutts. Her work can be seen at www.libertyprintco. com.


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

communities Differences

(right angle)

forward, don’t

from

make

us

_______.

(point A to point B)

_____ (less than)

or

______ to one another, instead they (not equal)

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

In

business,

truly

communities

embracing

all

the

we serve is not about

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

(percentage)

(money)

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

______ (equality)

{

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it just makes good sense {

www.53.com Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

UNITE BUSINESS PREMIER ISSUE  

UNITE Business is a national business magazine catering to the LGBT business community. Our premier issue features Cyndi Lauper, Richard Bra...

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