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BUSINESS Vol. 1, Iss. 2

bob witeck

A Pioneer in LGBT Marketing

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

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The Nashville Entrepreneur Center 41 Peabody Street, Nashville, TN • 615.873.1267 •

Letter from the Editor Stress has been the downfall of many an entrepreneur, and that’s why I love this issue! With the rigorous efforts we put in to sustaining our businesses, we can often forget that taking care of ourselves and our spaces outside of the workplace is just as important in ensuring our companies thrive. That’s why I’m glad to have Jay Michael and Patricia Diesel sharing their less-is-more ideals, Chris Walling teaching us how to incorporate yoga into the workday, and Philip Fusco encouraging us to start getting in shape now for a better future. This issue also features Bob Witeck, one of the pioneers in advocating for LGBT inclusiveness in the business world. Be sure to read his story before you take a look at Michael Burcham’s insights on how to be an effective leader and Matt Skallerud’s excellent tips on content marketing strategy. After editing this issue, I’ve already begun integrating a lot of their advice into my work (and home) life and will be putting more of their tips into action soon. I encourage you to do the same and turn your stressed life around. Trust me, the desserts are so much sweeter. —Ben



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

Jason Rae is executive director of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. As part of his other advocacy work, Rae serves as chair for the Milwaukee County Human Rights Commission and for the board of directors at Fair Wisconsin.

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

Chris Walling, MBA, is a speaker, consultant, and former academic medical executive. With expertise in both biomedical research and health care administration, Walling helps his clients create innovative solutions for today’s complex and chaotic business environment.

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

Jay Michael is a lifestyle architect and real estate developer in Chicago with a keen eye for form, function, and just the right touch of unique personality. He is the chief operating officer and cofounder of FLATS Chicago and is also a star of Bravo’s 100 Days of Summer, a reality show that follows a group of young, driven Chicagoans in their professional and personal lives.

Since beginning his career at age 17, Philip Fusco has quickly become one of the blogging community’s most talked about male models, having appeared in numerous underwear campaigns and on the covers of five magazines. Visit his YouTube channel and his blog at PhilCity. com for more of his fitness tips and advice.

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

As senior research director at Community Marketing & Insights (CMI), David Paisley coordinates over one hundred LGBT-specific research initiatives while personally moderating CMI’s LGBT focus groups.

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


table of contents

Joey Amato Managing Editor Ben Rock Creative Director Blake Kniffin Publisher


associate editor

20 24


Business Editor

Santiago Melli-Huber Michael Burcham, PhD

Contributing Writers

Paul Collanton, Patricia Diesel, Philip Fusco, Jay Michael, David Paisley, Estella Pan, Daryl Presgraves, Paige Presley, Jason Rae, Matt Skallerud, Chris Walling, Noel Wiley Ben Rock Joey Amato (407) 496-8751

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national advertising

Rivendell Media (908) 232-2021 Contact

Unite Magazine (615) 852-6660



big idea

G.R.I.T.S. by Michael Burcham, PhD


hen you screen as many new startup ideas a week as I do, you have to have a system to stay focused and keep the ball moving. My system is simple. There are three groups of ideas: A, B, and C (notice I said groups of ideas, not people). I have to persuade those with ideas in Group C not to quit their day jobs—just yet… Our mentors educate Group B on where improvements can be made before they are ready take their ideas into prime time. But, it is those in Group A that have something special. It’s a combination of a great business idea, an identified market, a willingness to learn, and most importantly, a particular character trait that I can see a mile away. And it has nothing to do with whom their daddy knows, where they went to school, how outgoing they are, or how much money they have. This unique trait that distinguishes the real entrepreneurial leader is grit. Grit is what makes an entrepreneur successful, and it’s what Thomas Edison referred to when he said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Grit is the quality that allows people to accomplish their goals, to actualize their dreams, to create a legacy. Because I’m in the South, I have to make a slight adjustment: to

be a leader not only do you have to have grit but also GRITS. GRITS are the five things that that make a leader—and an entrepreneur—truly remarkable.

G for Goal. Successful entrepreneurial leaders typically have a well-articulated goal. They have real clarity of purpose and work toward that singular goal with a zest that, for most, is unimaginable. I was reminded of the importance of a strong goal when I stumbled across this quote: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much!”

R for Resilience. Great leaders and great entrepreneurs are able to deal with stress and uncertainty. They know how to develop enough mental “hardness” to persevere, and they take on the challenges instead of running from them. The really great entrepreneurial leaders are often the ones at the back of the room, but they are successful today because of their ability to persevere.

I for Innovation. Entrepreneurial leaders are innovative. The entrepreneurs I admire most have learned to think through possibilities and practicalities. They have a sharp distaste for the status quo and a drive to think beyond yesterday’s solutions for tomorrow’s problems. They

embrace their curiosity.

T for Trust. Entrepreneurs trust the people around them. This trust is rooted in a confident expectation of something, in optimism, and in hope. The truly successful ones learn to trust others to help execute the vision and turn their idea into something real. Entrepreneurs wear multiple hats in the early days of their business—they simply do whatever it takes for the business to succeed. As the business grows, this unilateral decision-making style must change. Plenty of businesses, ideas, and campaigns have failed because of a leader’s inability to trust.

S for Sharing the Success. The one trait that I admire more than anything is that entrepreneurs share their success, or as we say in entrepreneurial and leadership circles, they “pay it forward.” Great entrepreneurs understand that doing well and doing good are not the same thing, and they are mindful to do both. Growing up as a poor kid from Mississippi, I know first hand what it means to have someone pay it forward, and having someone reach out to me as a mentor has made all the difference in my life. It is why I do what I do and give other young entrepreneurs the same opportunity that someone gave me.






photo courtesy of Nissan

As Nashville’s population continues to grow and more major businesses move to the middle Tennessee area, a number of employers are working to become more competitive in their recruitment and retention efforts by being as inclusive as possible. When it comes to courting the LGBT community, many companies may offer an appealing benefits package that includes domestic partner benefits, but the team at Nissan has found that the most effective way to hang on to talented employees is through a more comprehensive approach that fosters a more inclusive environment in the workplace. “Nissan proudly has one of the most diverse customer bases in the automotive industry, and we want to ensure that our workforce reflects that,” said Robert Wilson, director of diversity and inclusion at Nissan, a company that recently received a perfect score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI). That’s up 70 points from two years ago, marking one of the fastest rises in the history of the index. “What is truly impressive about the leadership team at Nissan is that they already

Nissan booth at Nashville’s 2013 Gay Pride

understand the need to be more strategic in how they approach diversity, and there is buy-in from the very top,” said Corbette Doyle, lecturer in organizational leadership at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and a member of Nissan’s executive diversity council. “Because they share a sense of urgency to move forward, Nissan has been able to execute a number of successful initiatives in the last year, such as the implementation of a companywide diversity training program and the launch of Nissan’s LGBT affinity group, the GayStraight Alliance at Nissan (GSAN).” GSAN began forming in late 2012 with about a dozen Nissan employees who expressed interest in a group that could support LGBT employees and allies. GSAN officially launched in July 2013, and since then, the group has expanded to nearly 100 members, making it one of the fastest-growing and most engaging of Nissan’s employee resource groups. The team, more than half of which are allies, has taken an integrated approach in its efforts with significant collaboration with other Nissan affinity groups, and its outreach programs are making a difference in terms of sales, recruiting, retention, and satisfaction.

The group has worked closely with sales operations teams to develop a way to track purchases driven by Nissan’s involvement in the community. Since June the company already has seen a measurable return on investment in events such as Pride festivals, HRC’s Equality Dinner, and Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce activities. “We want GSAN to serve as a catalyst that drives a culture of equality providing a safe, respectful, inclusive, and supportive environment for our employees, vendor partners, and customers,” said Cathy Lively, ally supporter and co-chair of GSAN. “Looking at the successes we’ve had just in the last year makes us really eager to carry that momentum forward as we amp up our presence at LGBT events and get more involved with civic and philanthropic organizations that serve the LGBT community,” said Dave Damron, co-chair of GSAN. The team at Nissan realizes that it’s about more than the bottom line—it’s about making the human connection. Wilson explained that, looking ahead, the team plans to take their successes within their headquarters and the Nashville community and expand them to become more relevant on a national basis.


chamber chat

wisconsin Jason Rae receives the Chamber Excellence Award from Chance Mitchell and Justin Nelson at 2013 National Business & Leadership Conference.


Within our first year, we had more than 100 businesses—both small and large—join the Chamber because they knew the only way to be successful was by working together. As we’ve entered into year two, it has been even more exciting to see the businesses renewing their memberships and telling us how valuable their role with the Chamber has been.

In summer 2012, a small group gathered in Milwaukee to figure out how exactly to help grow Wisconsin’s LGBT and allied business community. For the year preceding, the group had been hosting regular happy hours to try to build a professional community and wondered if more could be done.

As a statewide organization, it is imperative for us to travel the state. In our first 12 months, we held more than 20 events in eight different communities. We were in Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Stevens Point, La Crosse, Eau Claire, and Racine to meet with business owners and corporate leaders. It has been most rewarding to see the excitement and enthusiasm for the LGBT Chamber outside of our major urban centers of Milwaukee and Madison. Those areas are some of our strongest and most vibrant.

The idea came to start a chamber of commerce for the LGBT community. We were excited, but we were a small group. We wondered what the rest of Wisconsin would think about our venture and whether there would be support and momentum to propel the organization forward.

We were also honored during our first year by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce at its 2013 National Business & Leadership Conference with the Chamber Excellence Award in Community Impact. It was a humbling honor for us, at the time not even a year old.

We laid out a plan and launched the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce in September 2012, and we really haven’t stopped moving since.

Things are already underway to exceed even our own goals in year two. We’re proud to have five great corporate partners in MillerCoors, BMO Harris Bank, PNC Bank, AT&T, and Foley & Lardner LLP, who all have shown an admirable commitment to growing Wisconsin’s LGBT business community. All five of these organizations also received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. We are in talks with other corporations in the state who also want to step up to the

We just recently took pause to celebrate our one-year anniversary, and as we did, we were blown away by what we saw—a state coming together to build a pro-fairness, pro-business community. It was clear that our hope for this organization was catching fire across Wisconsin.


plate and make an impact on building a pro-fairness, pro-business community. This year we are also working to provide even more educational programming to our members to help them get the tools and resources they need to succeed. We’ve partnered with the US Small Business Administration, Small Business Majority, and of course, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to provide valuable trainings on issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act to immigration reform to federal procurement opportunities. We’ll also be working hard to get more of our Chamber members certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) with the NGLCC. This important certification is a key step in really growing the LGBT business community in Wisconsin.

excited for that work. Wisconsin has a growing LGBT and allied business community, and we promise that it’ll be even bigger by this time next year. We’ll expand our membership, provide more opportunities for businesses to learn and grow, and help get our members certified as LGBTBEs. We are on our way to a thriving pro-fairness, pro-business community in Wisconsin and invite you to join us.

“Our hope for this organization was catching fire across Wisconsin.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We know there is a lot of work to be done, and we are

Chamber members enjoy a recent happy hour event.

photos courtesy of Jason Rae


N now

photo courtesy of Time Out Youth

GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard (center) at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, with GSA President Brandon Perez, Wells Fargo Pride Team Member Katherine Unger, Principal Richard Parker, and Wells Fargo Pride Team Member Garet Garland.


KEEPS SCHOOLS SAFE by Daryl Presgraves GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, has recently announced the completion of its threeyear Safe Space Campaign to distribute a GLSEN Safe Space Kit to every middle and high school in the country—63,000 schools in all. GLSEN created the campaign, launched in November 2010, to ensure that every school has access to a resource to inform and empower educators to make classrooms safer for LGBT students.


The Safe Space Kit includes GLSEN Safe Space posters and stickers and a 42-page guide to being an ally to LGBT students. Including orders for multiple Safe Space Kits, nearly 100,000 Kits and one million Safe Space stickers were distributed to schools as part of the campaign. “Today, we celebrate the completion of a campaign that rallied a broad and powerful network of communities, organizations, and individuals determined to ensure that every LGBT student in this country has access to potentially lifesaving support,” said Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN. “We launched this campaign at a time when the nation was awakening to the costs and dangers of bullying, and GLSEN needed to get proven resources out to the tens of thousands of

schools where action is so crucial. “Completing this campaign required the support, partnership, and commitment of so many people, corporations, and organizations, and we are so grateful to everyone who stood with GLSEN to take action to make our schools safer and more supportive places for LGBT youth. I hope they are all proud of what we have done together.”

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

According to GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey, • more than 8 out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation; • more than 6 out of 10 (63.9%) experienced harassment because of their gender expression; • more than 6 out of 10 (63.5%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and • 4 out of 10 (43.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression. The report also found that supportive educators play a critical role in making schools safer and more inclusive for LGBT students. The more supportive educators students could identify, the greater their academic achievement, sense of school belonging, attendance, and educational aspirations, and the less likely they were to say they felt unsafe in school. Consistent with previous years of the survey, those findings inspired GLSEN’s Safe Space Campaign. Completing the campaign required the activation of GLSEN’s network of national and community partners. Over the three-year campaign, GLSEN partnered with the American School Counselor Association, National Association of School Nurses, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Independent Schools to reach their memberships with the campaign’s message and the Kits themselves. The campaign was also the focus of GLSEN’s entry in the second Pepsi Refresh Challenge online voting contest, in which the organization won $250,000 as a result of a final get-out-the-vote effort supported by a broad spectrum of LGBT community organizations. “Every student deserves to feel safe in school, and today, we are confident that schools are safer for LGBT students than they were three years ago,” Byard said. “While this is an incredible accomplishment, our work is not yet done.”

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

N now


photo by Todd Franson

by Noel Wiley

HRC President Chad Griffin

In what was a historic year of progress for the equal rights of LGBT Americans, corporate America stood out as a true leader in the fight for basic fairness and dignity. Both inside the boardroom and in the halls of state legislatures and the US Congress, American companies stood by their LGBT employees. That commitment is measured, in part, by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI). This national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality found that 304 major businesses—spanning nearly every industry and geography—earned a top score of 100 percent and the coveted distinction of Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality. “This will go down in history as the year that corporate support for equality left the boardroom and reached each and every corner of this country,” said Chad Griffin, president of HRC. “Not only do fair-minded companies guarantee fair treatment to millions of LGBT employees in all 50 states, but now those same companies are fighting for full legal equality in state legislatures,

“This will go down in history as the year that the corporate support for equality left the boardroom and reached each and every corner of this country.”

in the halls of Congress, and before the US Supreme Court.” In 2013, hundreds of major businesses signed onto historic amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to strike down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. Over 120 businesses joined a public coalition to urge Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a proposed federal law that would provide consistent nationwide legal protections from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Along with corporate America’s visible presence supporting LGBT rights publicly, the CEI reveals record numbers of major businesses updating their nondiscrimination policies and benefits packages well ahead of federal mandates to support LGBT employees and their families. More Fortune 500 companies implemented inclusive workplace nondiscrimination policies than ever before—91 percent provide explicit protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 61 percent on the basis of gender identity, a historic high; 67 percent offer same-sex partner benefits, another record. The extent to which corporate America has adopted a full framework of LGBT inclusion was further evidenced by the rapid rise in workplace protections, health care benefits, and practices for transgender employees. In just four years, the number of major employers covering medically necessary sex reassignment surgery for employees has gone from 49 to 340, including 28 percent of the Fortune 500. In addition, over 260 major employers have implemented more robust and supportive inclusion guidelines for their transitioning employees. This rising tide of LGBT corporate engagement has picked up previously unlikely boats in the form of dozens of businesses across the South and Midwest taking initial steps, such as offering partner benefits and workplace nondiscrimination protections, to attract and retain LGBT workers. This year’s CEI includes over 45 new major businesses. By proactively being a part of the CEI, these businesses sought to improve their reputations as employers of choice for LGBT and fair-minded workers. The policies, benefits, and practices business-

es must implement to earn a perfect score are best-in-class demonstrations of corporate commitments to LGBT workers. In the inaugural CEI 12 years ago, 13 businesses earned a 100 percent. After two revisions to the scorecard in the following decade, major businesses kept apace and competed with one another, leading to the 304 top performers today. The top-rated businesses span across industries, geographies, and size. “Corporate America has long recognized the imperative of LGBT inclusion by implementing their own LGBT-friendly policies ahead of lawmakers,” said Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program. “We are at the front of a new era in which major businesses are not only meeting ever-higher new bars for workplace fairness, they are exceeding them by becoming social and public policy change agents in the process. They recognize equality is not just the right thing to do, it is sound business practice.” Even with the tremendous progress, too many of America’s top companies, particularly from the oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing industries, are conspicuously absent from this movement toward equality. HRC will continue its outreach to the nation’s top employers and demand transparency from these companies in how they treat LGBT workers. Beyond basic protections for LGBT employees, record numbers of American businesses have also updated their larger benefits packages, equalizing “soft benefits” for LGBT workers, including things like retirement benefits and relocation assistance. With benefits accounting for roughly 20 percent of an employee’s compensation, companies recognize this as a matter of equal pay for equal work. Over the past 12 years, the CEI has become the gold standard for corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees and their families. The CEI rates companies on 40 such policies and practices. A total of 931 businesses have been rated in the 2014 CEI, including the entire Fortune 500. This year, a record 299 of the Fortune 500-ranked businesses have official CEI ratings, with the other 197 unofficially rated based upon publicly available data. View the full report at



tax filing FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES by Paul Collanton

After the landmark changes in marriage equality last year and with tax season now here, the time has come for married same-sex couples to decide how to file their taxes. With the Defense of Marriage Act struck down by the US Supreme Court, the option to file jointly is now available to all gay couples who are married, a first since Massachusetts’s legalization of marriage in 2003. On January 10, US Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. announced that the federal government will grant


federal marriage benefits to the same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses. (Even though a stay has been placed on same-sex marriage in Utah, couples who have already wed will be able to file taxes together.) The uncertainty comes with how exactly to file. Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis and his partner of 27 years, Stephen Justeson, were one of the couples who wed soon after marriage equality began in their state. Dabakis and his husband had filed taxes jointly; however, the Utah State Tax Commission advised same-sex married couples in the state to file two “mock” federal tax returns and use that as the basis for the state tax return. The tax commissioner told Dabakis that there would be flexibility in how they could interpret the federal mock returns. “No, we’re not going to have a ‘loosey goosey’ system because you could put us in jail,” Debakis said he had told the commissioner. “You need to put in place rules, regulations, and statutes.” He went on to

explain there was so much gray area when you have joint accounts and split up long term capital gains that the possibilities for interpretation were endless. Same-sex couples married in the other seventeen states will have to decide how to file state taxes along with their federal taxes. A new study from New York-based accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron highlights the challenges and opportunities brought with the federal recognition of same-sex marriage and new IRS rules. Married couples will be required to file under one of the “married” categories, either as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” Couples who have been married for more than one year can amend past federal tax returns, though it may not be a good idea for some. If the the spouses’ incomes are roughly equal, it may not help to amend since the tax benefit, if any, would be insignificant. Edwin B. Morris, partner in the tax group at MP&S, says, “In fact, those couples might fall prey to the socalled ‘marriage penalty,’ where married couples pay a higher marginal rate than would two single people who had the same income.” It might make sense to amend past returns if the income of the two spouses is unequal, such as when one spouse has a higher income and the other has lower income, setbacks, or business losses. However couples decide to file, Laura LaForgia, another partner at MP&S, encourages couples to review and update critical information, particularly withholding, beneficiary selection, wills, and insurance coverage, to avoid problems down the road. Every couple has to decide what works best for them according to the laws of the state and federal government, but the uncertainty of not knowing exactly how to file can cause unease. “Whether it’s tax policy or revoking marriage licenses or spending $2 million to defend a bad system, it’s very personal to me and the thousands of other gay people in Utah,” said Senator Dadakis, who went on to explain that his marriage certificate would have to be taken from his cold, dead hands. Once fair tax laws have been passed and full equality is achieved, the uncertainty will ease, and all married couples will be able to file the same way.

jim burba & bob hayes



For more than 20 years, Jim Burba and Bob Hayes have been successful partners—in business and in life. As co-founders of the Burba Hotel Network (BHN), the enterprising couple has been developing and producing the world’s most prominent gatherings of the hotel and tourism investment community. Outside the BHN office, they are currently teaming to develop book projects and reality television programs as well as promote international charities. With eight major hotel investment conferences each year in far-flung locales, such as Hong Kong, Delhi, Miami, and London, BHN has amassed a network of more than 20,000 hotel leaders in 130 countries. BHN’s conferences, including the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), have also attracted high-profile speakers like Donald Trump and Richard Branson. Burba and Hayes take a unique approach to planning their conferences by including industry insiders in the pre-planning process. “We do all we can to make people feel like they are stakeholders in the event,” explains Hayes, who recently gathered nearly 100 key industry players in a host city to discuss the timely topics they felt were important to cover. “By engaging people in the planning process, we create a team of marketers who have a vested interest in the success of our conferences.” While BHN conferences offer the latest industry news and trends for lenders, brokers, developers, consultants, and others, they also


Jim Burba (left) and Bob Hayes (right)

provide a powerful networking opportunity for hospitality industry leaders. Understanding the importance of connecting people and connecting thoughts, BHN facilitates networking opportunities with social icebreakers like speed meets, where new attendees are introduced to other conference goers in a fun and fast speed-dating format.

“What’s exciting about this program is the immediacy of the results,” says Burba. “After a six-month internship, many of these kids can join the hotel industry workforce and make a living. We are hoping to bring some of the graduates on stage at our conferences to shine a spotlight on this wonderful organization.”

To keep its network of hospitality industry professionals in the know, BHN regularly queries its clientele to produce industry-related surveys. For example, BHN’s first Hotel Opinion Report, which debuted in March 2012, had with more than 1,000 industry professionals weighing in on their travel-related opinions.

The duo also has a book project in the works, focusing on how to establish successful partnerships—in business and in life. Based on a checklist of 15 principles for successful partnering, the book covers everything from deciding if you really need— and want—a partner to how to pick a partner you trust who shares your core values. The book will be the first in a series of upcoming tomes from the long-time partners.

When Burba and Hayes aren’t producing events, they are involved in a number of charities, including the Youth Career Initiative (YCI), which helps train and educate young people who have nearly no chance of breaking out of abject poverty.

“We are always looking for opportunities,” says Hayes. “Sometimes they find us, so we are pursuing them and seeing where they lead.” Burba and Hayes are currently co-producers on Space Station 76 in conjunction with Rival Pictures and have recently signed on for development in film and television with first-time author Catherine Tondelli. The film is a character-driven, domestic dramedy that takes place in a 1970s version of the future where personalities and asteroids collide. Directed by Jack Plotnick, the film stars Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Marisa Coughlan, Matt Bomer, Jerry O’Connell, Kali Rocha, and Kylie Rogers. “If you look at the big picture, the hotel industry and film and television share a common bond as both have the unique ability to take consumers away from their everyday lives for a period of time,” says Burba. “We have also been approached a number of times about developing TV shows about the hotel and travel industry, so this started the wheels churning.” Even after all of BHN’s professional achievements, its biggest milestone has been donating over $10 million for humanitarian aid, scholarship, research, and educational product development for the hotel industry. “The company was founded on the principle of giving back. Our efforts over the last decade have demonstrated this commitment and that it works,” says Hayes. In the LGBT community, Burba and Hayes have donated to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and to Palm Springs’s Desert AIDS Project (DAP). They are active members of the former, donating not just money and time but also opening their home for fundraising events. “We like to give back to the communities in which we live or work,” Burba mentions. These thriving partners know one of the keys to their success as a couple is to set aside well-deserved downtime. They enjoy escaping to Palm Springs for rest, relaxation, and martinis. “Palm Springs is our happy place, and we also have a 7&7 rule. We don’t talk business before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. It’s a great way to recharge ourselves.” It is obvious why Out Magazine recently declared Burba and Hayes one of the 15 Power Couples You Should Know.

photos courtesy of BHN




Bob Witeck

Bob Witeck


For over two decades, Bob Witeck has been a leader in the LGBT marketplace. As president and founder of Witeck Communications, he provides counsel for corporations, nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies on a range of issues. With his Washington, D.C.-based communications firm, which specializes in health, disability, and strategic marketing, Witeck aims to develop LGBT-friendly practices for his clients to follow. Witeck personally believes businesses are a powerful force driving the advancement of LGBT rights and works to make businesses more inclusive of the LGBT community. “Change is coming about,” Witeck said, “in large part because businesses stand behind it. Gay people are part of the business strategy for many companies because it is good business. Politically, we’re not catching up yet to that.” Witeck Communications recently released findings projecting the total buying power, also known as disposable personal income (DPI), of the LGBT adult population to be $830 billion. DPI, according to economists, is the amount of money available to households or individuals to spend and save after paying taxes and pension contributions.

This advantage LGBT consumers have in terms of disposable income opens up a desirable market for advertisers. Witeck pointed to a 2013 Amazon Kindle ad he believes is a prime example of how to advertise to LGBT customers. The ad includes a married gay couple while keeping the focus on the product and without sensationalizing the same-sex relationship. “[Gay people] are everywhere,” said Witeck. “They’re in your company; they’re your customer; they’re your workforces, your vendors, your investors; they’re every part of your reach in the marketplace.” Despite the financial advantages for businesses to embrace LGBT consumers, Witeck’s work has sometimes come with controversy. In 1993, one of Witeck Communication’s first clients was American Airlines. Following a flight, members of the crew wanted to throw away the pillows and blankets used by gay passengers out of fear of HIV contamination. “American [Airlines] realized that its stumble was not just a stumble but an opportunity to get it right,” said Witeck. “They focused on internal education, improving their policies, recognizing their LGBT workforce and working with them more closely, and adopting policies of equal benefits, so they began to not only correct the problem but to turn that problem into an opportunity to create a better company.” To this day, American Airlines remains the only airline—and one of few companies—to have earned a perfect score every

Witeck emphasized the difference between buying power and affluence, saying that, despite the stereotype, gay men often earn less than their heterosexual counterparts, and LGBT people of color in particular face economic barriers. He did, however, acknowledge the differences in spending priorities between heterosexual and homosexual households. “Gay people are beginning to parent in larger numbers,” Witeck said, “but until they reach some parallel with straight people, they’re still going to have a little larger share of the wallet, not more money, but more opportunities to have entertainment, to travel, to do things that are important to them.” He continued, explaining that because LGBT families tend to have fewer children or no children at all, they typically have fewer major expenditures, such as college tuition or braces. photos courtesy of Bob Witeck



year by the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI) since the report’s 2002 inception. The CEI analyzes major American workplaces and their inclusion of LGBT employees and allies, and Witeck says their record is a point of pride for the airline. “I was giving them strategy and counsel on how to do it,” said Witeck, explaining his role in the airline’s current LGBT-friendly reputation, “but their decision to do it was based on their values. They wanted to do the right thing, and then we had to agree on what was the right thing, how should they do it. That’s what I’ve been working on for 20 years with them.” When Witeck works with a client, he implements what he refers to as a “360-degree approach.” His company focuses on the internal policies of inclusiveness and a genuine understanding of the needs of its LGBT customers. “They can’t pander,” said Witeck. “They can’t just walk into the marketplace and decide they’re going to sell their goods and services to a gay customer without having some prepartion. To me, that preparation is really thinking through all the touch points that gay people have. “One of the paths towards equality in the United States has to be by building bridges with corporate America and with businesses that are fully inclusive and respectful,” said Witeck. “In other words, our success is in working with brands and companies that respect us.”



culture that is synonymous with corporate culture. The day begins with a flurry of alarms, quick swigs of coffee, and a hasty shower before it’s off to the office. While many individuals have come to accept these cursory starts to their mornings as an unfortunate but integral part of the workweek, the reality is that rushing out the door sets the tone for a day wrought with tension.

Preserving time upon awakening allows for you to focus on what needs to be accomplished in the hours ahead and reconcile your The pressures of a fast-paced corporate environment are inextricably daily aims. As soon as your feet hit the floor, begin with some simple linked to stress, which can have a big influence on your personal and isometric stretching, which aids in resolving somatic stress and loosprofessional life. Whether it’s the weight of achieving monthly sales ens your limbs. Allot ample time to go about your regular morning benchmarks or working to cultivate an abundant client-base, finding routine, which will establish a pacing for the rest of the day. There’s avenues to mitigate these stressors of the office should be a top-priori- an intrinsic aversion to setting the alarm a bit earlier to earmark ty for any working professional. extra time, but the immediate payoff throughout the workday far outweighs the 15 minutes or so spent sleeping in. Yogis call this a There has been a tremendous rise in the popularity of yoga and med- sadhana, or a daily morning practice, but no matter what you call itation, as 15.9 million Americans are recognizing the benefits of in- it, it’s an evidence-based approach to establishing greater balance by corporating a mind-body practice into their work routines. Forming consciously creating time in a world where there seems to be so little. a healthy balance between the personal and professional begins with establishing an inner equilibrium. Adopting a meditation or yoga 2. Establish a daily intention and write it down. practice immediately promotes stress relief and helps cultivate greater resilience while supporting overall health. Structure is a key component to attaining balance, so every morning should include a definitive intention for the day. After completing There’s no reason why you shouldn’t look forward to workdays as your waking stretching routine, set aside a few moments to outline much as weekends. By employing the five following practices, you your goal or goals for the day. This process can be as simple as idencan begin to alleviate the daily physical and mental strains that are tifying a few objectives for the workday and making a mental note associated with the business sector and contribute to burnout. or composing a list in a planner or notebook. The point is simple: blind-firing your way through the day leads to a lack of motivation 1. Carve out a few minutes for yourself in the and purpose and can ultimately snowball into fatigue and exhaustion. Your intention can be as simple as to be helpful to others or to have morning. more appreciation for your colleagues—but writing it daily allows Working professionals have become accustomed to the get-up-and-go you to commit to it beyond thinking and more into doing.


3. Plan your meals. Your diet is fundamentally associated with living a vigorous, corporate-yogic life. Having the foresight to plan meals throughout the workweek as opposed to succumbing to the relative ease of deliveries and drive-throughs instills discipline and provides the appropriate fuel to maintain overall health. Living in a more conscious way and giving your diet the attention it deserves is a central aspect of nurturing your inner equilibrium.

4. Carve out in-office time to craft a relationship with your breath and silence. As a workforce, we spend far too many minutes reacting to external stimuli as opposed to responding to them. The capacity to switch from a reaction to a response is determined by your ability to self regulate, which is a physiologically driven factor that can be harnessed with a regular yoga or meditation practice. Three to five times a week you should designate a period in the workplace to establish a relationship with silence and conscious breath. The ability to create a parasympathetic response in your body is easily triggered mentally and can do wonders for your inner office. Shutting your office door or finding an unobtrusive location to spend as little as 11 minutes focusing and reflecting upon a simple thought, such as “let go” or “be here now,” can provide that “centered” feeling we enjoy on vacation or during the weekend—smack dab in the middle of your workday. If feasible, take this practice a step further and sign up for a local yoga class near the office, substituting your typical lunch hour for a 30-minute yoga tune-up series and a smoothie on the go. Everyone’s experienced the physiological reactions that accompany stressful situations at work—a racing pulse, sweaty palms, and an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. It doesn’t have to be that way. Setting aside time to self regulate by creating a connection with your breath and silence can allay these physical responses and allow you to become far more objective and productive.

5. End the day with a grateful mind. Before you retire at night, just as you set an intention for your day, you should ration five minutes for conscious, gracious reflection. Identify three things you were grateful for about that day and write those down. This practice involves the area of constructive self talk and cements the positive mindset that you will carry into the following morning. What you focus on, you create more of, and by diverting your attention to what worked, chances are you will experience more of the same. In a time of economic uncertainty and turmoil, business professionals are clamoring for operative ways to achieve an authentic inner balance. By incorporating these steps, you will begin to transform from the inside out and find that the contrast that was once so stark between work and home are now blended into greater consistency. By virtue of the corporate yogi you become, you will find success both within and without. Namaste. 888.460.4327


these, as measured by shares, comments, retweets, and likes, is very high for most photos with text.

2. Write out the photo text when posting.

5 Content Marketing Strategy Tips for 2014 by Matt Skallerud Almost everyone knows how to post on Facebook in today’s world. But what about life outside of Facebook? Is it important? Worth the extra marketing time spent? Also, are you maximizing your company’s presence on Facebook? As we enter 2014, these are some of the top questions asked as more and more clients and advertisers begin to not only understand but embrace the concepts found in interpersonal marketing. Facebook is great; however, it’s incredibly easy for both you and your competitors to post, and your competitors are! It’s a busy world in the Facebook social media news feed, so to stand out, it’s important to first maximize your Facebook presence while ensuring the work you’re doing there is helping to further enhance and maximize your reach outside of Facebook. Following these tips and strategy pointers will help you maximize your social media outreach and enhance your search engine optimization for your business. In many cases, you can more than double your marketing reach by following this strategy and tapping into that wider social media world of Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

1. Use photos with text. Photos have become the #1 content medium posted nowadays, exceeding status updates, videos, and link posts. For your business, think about creating a photo or image with a text overlay on top, similar to creating an ad. If you size it to 612 pixels wide x 612 high, you’ve created the perfect Instagram photo with no need for cropping. This can then be posted on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and other social networks with ease. User interactions with


When posting on social media, use #hashtags and write out the text from your uploaded photo, image, or ad. This text increases the likelihood that your photo will be “discovered” in someone’s news feed and increase your search engine optimization and placement, as text is indexed by all major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and by search functions found in social media sites today. The #hashtag simply ensures you’ll be discovered by an even greater audience as they peruse various social media postings related to the #hashtag set you’ve selected for your post.

3. Post your content in a blog format. Status updates are great but are not as easy to work with. Make sure your content marketing strategy includes expanding upon those status updates in a short-form blog. Using Tumblr, Google’s Blogger. com, or a Wordpress site, these content marketing posts can be posted directly onto Facebook and have a life outside of Facebook. Tumblr, Wordpress, and Blogger maximize your content’s potential reach by automatically creating an RSS feed output that makes content sharing with other social media a breeze. In addition, other media and individual users can quickly and easily repost and share a blog posting by using its link URL while status updates are stuck where they are posted and cannot be quite as easily shared. For your photos with text, as highlighted above, post these with text into your blog in order to truly maximize their reach. Search engines pick up Tumblr and Twitter posts based on the text they find written out. Image Search found in Google, Bing, and Yahoo will pick up your ads and display these images more effectively, helping to maximize your photos and imagery to work for you. When it comes to deciding what to post, you can consider commentary on links to other articles you find online related to your industry, various announcements about your business, event updates, and more. Once posted in a blog format such as Tumblr, they can be easily spread through various social media networks online, including quick and easy posting onto Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus as well as in LinkedIn groups related to your business.

4. Post your photos, videos, and links directly in your social media profiles. It’s fine to have your Facebook posts and photos automatically go to Twitter, but it’s better to post directly on Twitter and use #hashtags. The postings from Facebook into Twitter appear with the URL only, and for anyone using either Twitter or one of the many visual representations of Twitter, such as and, your photos and other visual content items posted fall flat and don’t appear as well as they should. For photos, post directly to Twitter and Instagram and use #hashtag technology to further your reach. For videos, it may be time to take a closer look at the short-form video revolution unfolding on Vine and now Instagram as well.

5. Monitor and analyze your social media activity. You can view your results using for your own activity summarized in one place and to monitor what both you and your users are saying and posting about your business. You can also monitor how your postings are doing when using #hashtags. For example, if you’re a hotel in Miami reaching out to the LGBT travel community online, you would consider using the hashtags #GayMiami (for covering your regional/local hashtag) and #GayTravel (for covering your topical/ categorical hashtag)., while providing you and your users a visually appealing representation of social media postings based on a specific #hashtag, also gives you a strong, visual indication of your Social Media Share of Voice (SOV), allowing you to see how much of any #hashtag conversations are related to you and your business.

Also, measuring results more directly using or are recommended for more specific analysis of your social media marketing effectiveness, and services such as are there for you when you’re ready to jump into some even more advanced online analytical marketing tools.

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.

Life &

Style Living Large IN SMALL SPACES by Jay Michael

Over the past few months, I have spent a great deal of time editing my life. I had a 3,500-square-foot home packed with a ton of furniture and “stuff” along with a storage room packed with even more furniture and a ton more “stuff” from my former home. Frankly, I was starting to feel suffocated not to mention wasteful. It occurred to me that although much of my life’s work had been driven around creating big style in small spaces (FLATS Chicago being my most recent venture), I had never put my money where my mouth was. So, I put my beautiful home on the market (a several year undertaking), and when it sold in less than a day, I knew all the stars were aligned for me to embark on a new way of living—the way I had been teaching others to live for most of my adult life. Now, I am living very large in my 700-square-foot two-bedroom apartment at FLATS No. 5411 Winthrop in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. What I have learned so far is that living well (and large) doesn’t need a lot of space or money. Here are a few tips on how to live the FLATS life: 1) Make every inch count. My TV wall is about five feet long, but with the help of some great CB2 pieces, interesting thrift store finds (including two adorable children’s school chairs), some photographs, and a $20 American flag, it’s a sort of pièce de résistance of my entire home, and it’s on a small wall that would typically have been forgotten. 2) Define each space. I like each space (even the small typically useless spaces) to feel like a defined and separately functioning space. I will use my foyer for an example: what would normally feel like a long, narrow, and useless space has become a part of the home. I covered two of the walls in a pseudo-grass cloth (made of old magazines). I included a long bench that not only serves as a spot to put my shoes


on, but it’s my entry table ‘catch all.’ I have adorned the foyer walls with art. And by art, I mean paintings, photographs, and most importantly, a vintage sled and pair of skis I found at the nearby thrift store, which also cover my ugly electric box. 3) Maximize all storage. Double hanging with a shelf above both bars is essential to good storage, and even though we include it in all FLATS, it’s not common place in apartment living. The good news is that even if you are stuck with a single hanging bar, a trip to Home Depot and $50 will fix your problem. 4) Make sure everything has more than one use. I always say the first rule of multi-use items is that they should look good and work well; form and function are key in any small space. Next, they should serve many purposes; for example, I use Mason jars for storage, for drinking (coffee, beer, wine, water, anything), or as a vase—I even use a mini Mason jar next to my toothbrush for swashing after I brush. Another easy example is my kitchen table: I use my kitchen as a place to cook, but now it’s also my home office and a place to entertain and dine. This was all possible because I chose to put a dining table smack dab in the center of my kitchen (which also happens to be in my living room, but you feel a clear definition). So, my CB2 (XXX table) is a desk, a cooking prep space, and my dining table.

photos courtesy of FLATS Chicago

Living large at FLATS is an ongoing journey for me. I encourage you to join me as I explore a life free of just “stuff” and full of pieces of what make up the worlds best way to live.



Laura Bell Bundy rarely gets a break. On a relaxed day that was only supposed to include a short phone interview and some laundry before a night in Las Vegas with her girlfriends, her washing machine explodes. “I now have no more clean socks,” she exclaims with a frazzled laugh. “I have already been matching striped ones with solids and knit matching the different feelings of socks, like a running sock with a walking sock.” She laughs again. “I’m wearing my boyfriend’s socks today.” For a young woman with major supporting roles on both FX’s Anger Management and The CW’s Hart of Dixie who is also managing a production company while working on a new country album, it makes sense that Bundy would be a bit behind on her laundry. “The good thing about it is my job is my hobby,” she says. “It’s like when you’re a kid and you play, you’re playing pretend, which is just acting. That’s why they call it doing plays or playing music; it’s playing. It’s fun! I feel like as an actor, they don’t pay me to act; they pay me to sit around and wait. The acting is the fun part. With music, music is the fun part; all the schlepping is the hard part.” All that fun is what gained Bundy her initial following as she took over as Galinda in the Broadway production of Wicked before launching the hugely successful role of Elle Woods in the musical Legally Blonde, and she has been racking up fans ever since, especially in her recent television roles.

“I love working with Charlie [Sheen],” she says of her role as Jordan Denby on Anger Management. “He’s a hoot and a half, and he’s so much fun. I’m just really enjoying it. “With Hart of Dixie, the highlight is that I’m pretty much doing an impersonation of my mom, and it’s been really good therapy for me. My mom is such a big character: she’s like Dolly Parton meets Donald Trump. Whenever I’m trying to figure out if this choice is grounded enough or honest, I think what would Lorna do? “My mom’s name is Lorna Bell Bundy,” she adds with a laugh. “I don’t know if that explains anything at all!” Whether on stage or film, Bundy thinks the best part is being with the cast, building close relationships with those people, and telling their characters’ stories to an audience together. That storytelling led her back to her previous love of country music, and she launched her second album, Achin’ and Shakin’, in 2010, along with a sketch comedy web series, Cooter County— that Bundy affectionately refers to as this generation’s Hee Haw. “Cooter County is a little bit quirky,” she says. “It’s a little off the wall. It’s definitely politically incorrect. It definitely pushes the boundaries a bit. Some of the sketches are the Euneeda Know Show or Unbeweavable with Shocantelle Brown, where we have guests on the show and they have to do Shocantelle’s hair care or confessions of a girl with a weave. We have a lot of fun with it.” While she would love to see her wacky cast of characters on a Saturday night variety show with music, dancing, and sketch comedy, Bundy would rather keep Cooter County as a web series so that it keeps its personality and doesn’t become bland. “I really feel like Cooter County is this little world I created to help me focus my multiple-personality disorder,” she says, laughing. “My whole life, I’ve

always been doing these characters, but there was never a place for them. Cooter County was this world where I could create and I could play, like in a sandbox. I could actually expand on some characters that I had thought of. “Some of the characters were just a name to begin with,” she continues. “Euneeda Biscuit was just a name, and then I created the character. The character of Shocantelle Brown was just me being dumb with all my friends on Legally Blonde. We would do ghetto night, and Shocantelle Brown would come to ghetto night. She didn’t have a name, and she didn’t have a place of work. She was just me doing ghetto.” Producing Cooter County herself with those friends from Legally Blonde led Bundy to establish her production company, LBBTV. “It stands for Little Bit Bitchy,” she says, coyly. “I was producing Cooter County on my own and funding it, and then I started to acquire this great team of women and gay men that were doing Cooter County with me. I decided to form a production company and really start producing some things in addition to Cooter County.” Bundy began with music videos, her own and another musician’s. Then, she started to produce a country music style show. “My favorite thing to do is to create, to come up with ideas,” she explains, “and having a production company allows me to do that. So, I’ve been working on building my infrastructure. We’ve not done huge things, but I hope at some point that becomes more of a possibility. I definitely think, in the last five years, I’ve really started to train that muscle. “Almost every single music video I’ve done, I’ve actually had the concept for,” she continues. “‘Giddy On Up,’ I came up with the concept for that when I wrote it. The same with ‘Drop on By’ and ‘Two Step.’ Then, there’s the four concepts I had for ‘Kentucky Dirty.’”

For “Kentucky Dirty,” her latest single from Big Machine Records, Bundy went with her idea that was mostly University of Kentucky themed, because the song had been featured on a documentary about the UK’s basketball team and band. “We made the ‘Kentucky Dirty’ video very much about Kentucky and getting dirty in the field and used the University of Kentucky dancers,” she says. “‘Two Step’ was straight up in my dad’s factory.” A few of the LBBTV crew appeared in the videos as well, and Bundy calls them her dream team. “One of [the girls in the video], Tiffany Engan, choreographed the video,” Bundy explains, “and she’s one of the twins that’s in Cooter County. She and [her sister] Brooke Engan are also choreographers and great writers. The girl who shot the video, who’s the DP and co-directed with me, her name is Becky Fluke, and we’ve done four videos together, two of which haven’t come out yet. They all did ‘Two Step’ and ‘Kentucky Dirty’ with me. “We’re working a lot on very, very small budgets,” she adds. “I’ve learned how to do things very inexpensively, and it’s not always what you want.” However, working on those small budgets has allowed Bundy greater control of her musical creativity. “Music that excites me is music that is original,” she says. “When I was dropped from Universal Records, which is the record label I was at until last December, I was wondering what I really wanted to do musically.” Bundy realized she didn’t have to do anything. She didn’t have to make music for the Billboard charts. Instead, she began looping hiphop beats with country music samples and then writing songs over the mashup. “‘Two Step’ was a song I had written at the last label for a former project,” she says. “It was the song that kind of inspired this whole new project. ‘Two Step’ had the beats in it; it had the dance track that we wrote a country tune for. I wanted to continue to do that, because I love country music and, being from Kentucky, was kind of born into that really. But, I’m also a dancer; I love to get down and go party.” Bundy then wondered how cool it would be if the world of hip-hop and dance music could merge with that of country music. What if she put beats with banjos? “When I was sixteen and driving my jeep in Kentucky, I would be going down the street with Tupac and Dixie Chicks and Bone Thugs and Shania all on a mixtape,” she says, “and that’s what we’d listen to at our school dances. We’d slow dance to Garth Brooks, and then we’d be dry humping each other on the dance floor to hip-hop music.” While several artists are exploring this musical blend, Bundy has noticed there are not a lot of women doing what she’s trying to do.


Yet, she is still taking it a step farther. “I’m putting out these monthly mixtapes, which are these five to six minute mashups of country songs with hip-hop songs,” she says. “You can find them on my website if you go to www.laurabellbundy. com. You’ll hear how I weave hip-hop songs in and out of country songs and vice versa. It’s like a party mix for your night out or your tailgating or your car or your pre-party or whatever. That’s the point. “I call them Beats & Banjos, but I’m thinking of calling it Mashville,” she adds. “In those mix tapes, I’m featuring a minute or two of a brand new song; sometimes it’s a song that no one’s heard yet. The most recent one, I did ‘Two Step,’ but I did an interesting mashup with Usher’s ‘Yeah!’. The first mixtape is called ‘Do Si Do,’ because it features a song of mine called ‘Do Si Do’ that’s brand new and isn’t out.” The mixtapes are a fun way for Bundy to get her music out while allowing her to get back to a place of creativity and passion. “There’s a really fine line between commerce and creativity, and you have to straddle that when you’re a recording artist, especially if you’re a recording artist at a major label,” Bundy says. “That’s been hard for me. I think right now I’m just really passionate about making music and making it interesting and cool and hoping that the audience finds it.” Listen to the Beats & Banjos mixtapes at Catch up on the shenanigans of Cooter County at www.cootercounty. com.



WASHINGTON, D.C. by Joey Amato

It is always an adventure visiting the nation’s capital. Washington, D.C., is one of the most culturally diverse cities in America and was recently named the Gayest City in America by The Advocate. As one of the places in the country where same-sex marriage is legal, Washington, D.C., has become one of the top destinations for LGBT travelers. The city is vibrant with LGBT nightlife, attractions, and destinations. Start off your visit with the must-see landmarks including the White House, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. Museum buffs will also find D.C. fascinating, and the crown jewel of museums, the Smithsonian, requires at least a full-day visit to fully take in all that the museum has to offer. However, there are also some lesser-known attractions that would be of great interest.

The Newseum is a six-level, high-tech, and interactive attraction that traces the history of news reporting from the 16th century to the present day. My favorite exhibits include the Pulitzer Prize Photo Gallery, showing the award-winning images captured since the 1940s, and the Today’s Front Pages, displaying 80 newspaper front pages from around the world updated daily. The 9/11 Gallery looks at how the media responded to the tragic event while the Berlin Wall Gallery features eight 12-foot-high concrete sections of the original wall, the largest unaltered display of the wall outside of Germany. Another great and inexpensive museum to visit is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It is one of the most visited museums in the city and is great for LGBT families. Guests can ride in several four-minute flight simulators, take a journey through space or to natural and manmade wonders of the world at the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater, or watch a film projected on a five-storyhigh screen with six-channel digital surround sound. The museum also features the incredible Albert Einstein Planetarium with its high-tech dual digital projection system, Sky Vision. For those individuals more interested in history, The Holocaust Memorial Museum is a memorial to the millions who died during the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II. The museum is located just off of the National Mall and presents a narrative history of the Holocaust, the annihilation of 6 million European Jewish people by Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. The exhibit uses more than 900 artifacts, 70 video monitors, and four theaters showing film footage and eyewitness testimonies from Nazi concentration camp survivors. After a day of museum hopping, you may want to let loose and enjoy a cocktail or two. Washington, D.C., offers a menagerie of

The Capitol Building


gay bars and clubs for every taste and style. Some of the most popular joints include Town, Cobalt, JR’s Bar & Grille, and Nellie’s Sports Bar. The vast majority of LGBT nightspots revolve around DuPont Circle, but there are other neighborhoods including Capitol Hill, Bloomingdale, and Columbia Heights that are quickly becoming hotspots for LGBT tourists and residents. Capitol Hill is traditionally where gay singles and couples move when they do not want to be right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of DuPont Circle. Offering a quieter neighborhood feel, the area boasts several gay bars and gay-friendly restaurants and on weekends, is host to Eastern Market, a hub of fresh foods, crafts, and antiques sold in the 200-year-old historic marketplace. The White House

When in town, check in at the Renaissance Downtown. Conveniently located to all of the major attractions, the hotel features incredible service and amenities, a full-service spa, fitness center, and a Starbucks in the hotel lobby. The rooms are elegantly appointed with luxury linens, large bathrooms, and separate work and living spaces. While at the Renaissance, escape to Aura Spa for one of its therapeutic messages or facial treatments. The spa is located within the property’s Vida Fitness Center. Dining options within the hotel include Fifteen Squares, a traditional American bistro, and The President’s Sports Bar, which offers light fare. There is so much to see and do in the city, it is best to plan at least three or four days for your visit.

The Lobby at Renaissance Washington, D.C., Downtown

For more information, visit

Room Interior at Renaissance Washington, D.C., Downtown





Deciding in April that you want a six pack by the summer is certainly making life hard for yourself. Summer will be here sooner than you think, so why not start now to give yourself enough time to get the summer body you wish you had every year. The first necessary step for getting in shape is to evaluate your diet. Having an occasional cheat day can be ok, but some people have cheat weeks or just a bad diet in general. After reading this article, I want you to put down the Twinkie or bag of chips and be inspired. The first step for inspiration is to feel good. Dwelling on where you’re not in your health or fitness life is not the way to motivate yourself. You need to find real, lasting reasons to focus on where you could be and continually remind yourself how great it feels to be on your way there. Thinking that you’ll only be happy once you’ve hit that certain weight or muscle mass is a self-defeating attitude. Get excited now that you’re on your way there. This excitement can be achieved and maintained by making a vision board. This is exactly what I did when I first started serious weight lifting years ago. (For details and instructions on your vision board and other first steps, visit Once your board is created, remind yourself that before working out is made a priority, you need to change your diet. Cut out processed sugars, salty foods, white bread, and white rice. Get rid of the fast food, soda, and fake iced tea addiction. Keep salts and sugar intake low. Stay away from high-fructose corn syrup. Change the white stuff to brown—white bread to whole wheat bread, white rice to brown rice—but all within limitations. The key here is to “dabble” not to “indulge.” And when you do dabble, you should still be eating natural, healthy foods. Now you can hit the gym. First, check your form. It’s more important that you’re lifting correctly than it is how much you’re lifting. The key is low weight with high repetitions. Keep track of how much you’re lifting (seriously, write it down). If you’re lifting correctly, you should be able to add a small amount of weight to each of your sets every few weeks. If you can’t, you’re not pushing hard enough, are skipping too many days, or are lifting incorrectly. Everyone has different diet and workout needs, but the important thing to remember is that we all can improve our diets and stay on track with our workout schedules. There’s no other mysterious secret—that’s how to get the summer body. For more tips or for a personalized workout plan, visit



Jerry Hubbard, profile

photo by Blake Little

RODEO PRIDE INDY MUSEUM DEBUTS LATEST EXHIBIT by Estella Pan On February 1, Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo will open at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis. The opening marks the first time this exhibition, which tells the story of an often ignored part of American Western culture, has been displayed anywhere. Blake Little will feature 41 black-and-white images of cowboys and cowgirls from the gay rodeo circuit, taken by award-winning, Los Angeles-based photographer Blake Little. The Seattle native became captivated by the gay rodeo scene in 1988 and began documenting the lives of its contenders, victors, and devoted fans. “The whole scene: watching it—imagining that these guys were really doing this and that they were gay!” Little said, explaining what first sparked his interest in gay rodeos. Blake Little became more than an observer. After getting hooked on going to rodeos, he wanted to become a part of the action. He learned to ride a steer and then a bull and slowly began to master the technique. In 1990, he was named Bull Riding Champion of the Year by the International Gay Rodeo Association. “These photographs represent an amazing, magical time in my life. Back then, I questioned if I was a ‘real’ cowboy, because in the back of my mind, I always felt like an observer—and photography was my first passion. But my unique situation allowed me to document the growing sport of gay rodeo from the inside along with the thrills and personal challenges of fulfilling my cowboy dreams,” said Little. Overseen by Johanna Blume, assistant curator for the

Eiteljorg, Blake Little serves as a stunning example of black-and-white portraiture and of rodeo photography, but that’s not all. “This exhibit also explores the diverse and complex natures of individual and community identity in the West,” said Blume. “Many of the people in these photos were LGBT men and women from rural backgrounds, and the gay rodeo circuit gave them a place where they could embrace and celebrate their full identities.” Little has had a storied career as a professional photographer. One of his first assignments, in the 1980s, was to shoot Tom Cruise for the cover of Moviegoer magazine. That project launched his career as a portrait photographer. He has worked with Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Marcia Cross, Colin Powell, Kevin Spacey, k.d. lang, 50 Cent, Iggy Pop, Glenn Close, Jane Fonda, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, and Jane Lynch among many others. He has photographed for publications like London Times Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, People, Time, Los Angeles Magazine, and ESPN the Magazine. Little has also made a name for himself by examining the concepts and definitions of masculinity through his portrait series Manifest and In the Company of Men. The Eiteljorg plans to travel Blake Little nationally after the exhibit closes on July 13, 2014. The timeline and venues for the traveling exhibit are to be determined. Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo and associated public programs at the Eiteljorg are a part of the museum’s Out West series. Out West programs illuminate the many contributions of LGBT communities of the American West and celebrate the diversity of the region.


N now

top 10 travel trends

CMI RELEASES 2013 RESEARCH FINDINGS by David Paisley Community Market & Insights (CMI) has released key findings from its Annual LGBT Travel Survey. Now in its 18th year, the study has successfully tracked the trends, travel patterns, brand recognition, and destination rankings of the LGBT community over time. More than 3,000 LGBT people from across the United States participated in this study in autumn 2013.

The year 2013 saw modest increases in LGBT leisure travel over the previous year (a 5% increase). However, the trend towards a decrease in business travel continues from recent years.

When asked which hotel group or brand had done the best job outreaching to the LGBT community over the past year, participants placed Hilton as the number one large brand hotel group, with Kimpton earning the title among boutique brands.

Among LGBT Americans who traveled to another destination and spent at least one night in a hotel, New York City remains the number one most-visited destination by LGBT travelers, with Chicago and San Francisco tied for second.

When selecting a hotel, free WiFi is a major motivator for over 70% of LGBT community members. Hotel brands that continue to charge for an Internet connection could be seen as having a competitive disadvantage.

Among LGBT parents, researching and selecting a hotel that is “child-friendly” becomes more important than selecting a hotel that is “LGBT-friendly,” although both are important.


Over 70% of LGBT travelers consider themselves to be a “planner” when arranging a vacation, with fewer than 15% considering themselves as “spontaneous” in their travel choices. Over 75% of LGBT people under age 45 use their mobile devices for travel information. Among those who use their mobile devices, over 80% are using them to find local restaurants, and nearly 60% use mobile devices to research local attractions. For those just getting married, there is no clear favorite same-sex honeymoon destination. Responses varied widely across the United States, Canada, and Europe. The honeymoon destination with the highest number of participants was Hawaii, but the honeymoon destination only represented 7% of couples. This may improve with Hawaii’s recent recognition of marriage equality. Pride events continue to play an important role in motivating LGBT travel. Younger LGBT people are even more likely to travel to another city for a Pride event than their older counterparts.

The LGBT media and mainstream media play an equal role in influencing the travel decisions of gay men and lesbians.


CUT YOUR CLUTTER REFRESH YOURSELF by Patricia Diesel, CPC Right up there with minding our health and tending to our finances, getting organized is always a hot topic as the calendar turns to the new year. A survey suggests “getting organized” is one of the top 10 New Year’s resolutions. January is a great time to get organized because the sense of renewal at the New Year puts us in the right mindset to try new ways of living and doing things. Your organization project begins with discarding the old, broken, obsolete, or unused items that have accumulated during prior years. Anyone who has ever experienced clutter knows the feeling of being weighed down; you cannot explain it, but there is a gnawing, indescribable burden you carry around with you. In your home, a cluttered space can create tension by making you feel that your life is out of control. The stress from living with clutter can be exhausting. You do not need to live this way. When you declutter your life, you cast off the stuff from the past you have been carrying around. By clearing clutter, you can set the conditions for a deep personal transformation. If you address clutter in your life, you can feel as if the weight of the world is released from your shoulders. A home should be welcoming and inviting, a clutter-free place to entertain friends and family. Your rooms should be pleasurable to the eye, beautiful places where you can relax and feel good. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary, where you surrender for rest to rejuvenate yourself, and be free of computers, Blackberrys, and other intrusions. Look around as you read this and think about what you really need in your life and space. Clearing out your personal space can reap tremendous mental, physical, and emotional rewards by giving you the freedom to invite friends and loved ones into your home without the stress of the last minute “panic


pickup” to put your space in order for guests. Living in an efficient space that is free of emotional freight makes it easier to see and achieve your goals and move forward. Consider your office as you evaluate the steps to declutter your life, as well. A less cluttered office will clear your thinking and enhance your potential to be more efficient and creative. It is not just sanity that can be saved by getting organized but valuable time. You can waste a lot of time and energy if it takes you 10 minutes to rummage through files and drawers looking for your important paperwork. Work can be stressful, but decluttering your workspace is something that you can control. Your office should be well appointed, where everything you need is easy to locate. Files can be color-coded— red for “hot,” active matters and other colors for other priorities. A clear desk limits distractions to set the stage for doing your best work. Everything should have a place. Change can be difficult. It is understandable that it can feel scary and overwhelming to part with your stuff, so it is important to begin with baby steps. As a first step, purchase a journal and write down what you want to create for yourself. Get clear on your vision so you can manifest this into reality. Then, start small with one drawer, one closet, or one room. It does not matter where you start, but the important step is to start somewhere. If you are afraid of throwing something valuable away, have it appraised. Keep only well-chosen items that bring you joy and delight. Divine order, sweet bliss; this is what you ultimately achieve when you surrender to the process of letting go of your clutter. I have never seen anyone regret they did; the only thing they might regret is that they waited so long.

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


(right angle)




(point A to point B)

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

______ to one another, instead they (not equal)

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








we serve is not about

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



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

______ (equality)



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

Unite biz feb mar  

UNITE Business is a bi-monthly glossy publication targeting LGBT professionals across the United States.

Unite biz feb mar  

UNITE Business is a bi-monthly glossy publication targeting LGBT professionals across the United States.