Posts Tagged ‘IBM’

My personal experience on the NGLCC’s trade mission to Mexico!

Blog author Stan Kimer making a point during his presentation on global leadership (photo by Abraham Saraya Photography)

Blog author Stan Kimer making a point during his presentation on global leadership (photo by Abraham Saraya Photography)


On March 11-14th, I traveled to Mexico City to be part of the 2014 National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Trade Mission and LGBT Summit of the Americas. It was an exciting combination of attending and presenting workshops with business leaders from across Latin America, meeting with prospective large Mexican clients, reuniting with old friends, and even a little sightseeing. In addition to this excellent overview (link) of the trip from the NGLCC, I wanted to briefly share some of my personal experience along three areas.

1) LGBT Economic Empowerment. It was exciting to see first hand how the movement for growing economic equality for LGBT-owned businesses is expanding beyond the USA to be truly global. As it enters into its second decade, the NGLCC is expanding across North and South America and empowering LGBT-owned businesses to grow. In addition to the 20 delegates from the US, there were approximately 80 government officials, business owners, executives and chamber leaders from Mexico and several other Latin American countries. The opening plenary included the historic signing of a cooperative agreement between the NGLCC and Mexico’s Council to Eliminate and Prevent Discrimination (COPRED) (link to COPRED website – in Spanish)

Blog author serving on a panel sharing how IBM took its LGBT diversity initiatives global. (Photo by Abraham Saraya Photography)

Blog author serving on a panel sharing how IBM took its LGBT diversity initiatives global. (Photo by Abraham Saraya Photography)


2) My own business development. One day was dedicated to meetings set up by the US Commercial Service, part of the US Department of Commerce. The mission of this team is to spur US economic growth through the exporting of US products and services to trading partners outside the US. I was very pleased to meet with 3 large well qualified Mexican companies that had a real need for my innovative Total Engagement Career Mapping offering, as well as the Executive President of Mexico’s largest association of human resources professionals (link to my March 7th blog about my conversation with Pedro Borda Hartmann … our discussion about the top HR challenges facing Mexico.)
It was so great to reunite with long-time Mexican IBM friend Gabriel Gomez and tour Teotihuacan

It was so great to reunite with long-time Mexican IBM friend Gabriel Gomez and tour Teotihuacan


3) Sharing in the workshops and panels. Finally, I was privileged to both give a presentation titled “Leadership for the New Diverse Global Economy: Effectively Leading an International Team,” a critical topic since expanding businesses globally is so much more a reality given the global web and increasing multicultural mix of people in any locale; and to serve on panel with four other people discussing expanding LGBT diversity programs globally. I was proud to speak of how my former employer IBM expanded our LGBT initiatives from the US to be worldwide continually from around year 2000 up through the current time.

And then the icing on the cake was reuniting with several old IBM and NGLCC friends and two half-days of sightseeing in and around beautiful Mexico City.

Alignment and partnership between business and community

In last week’s blog, I summarized a workshop I presented on September 22 at the Carolinas Conference on Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement. The workshop and blog reviewed the growing need for competencies around diversity and global awareness for leaders in today’s fast growing diverse global economy.

In addition to the workshop, I also was one of six panelists on a “Leadership Panel Discussion” along with other business and community leaders. One of the questions posed to the panel was “Is there a need for alignment or partnership between community and business organizations in our constantly changing local or regional landscape? Any recommendations for fostering these partnerships?”

I offered four points:

1. Traditionally, corporations have taken the lead in community partnerships and promoting diversity. For example, IBM provided equal opportunity and equal pay for African American and female employees at least a decade before it became federal law. Today, many corporations include sexual orientation and gender identity / expression in their diversity policies, as well as offer domestic partner benefits whereas our federal government has been unsuccessful in providing these protections and benefits. Especially with the log jam in Congress today, corporations will need to step up and lead.

2. In today’s economy, corporate wealth continues to increase while personal wealth is decreasing. A recent Associated Press article (link to article) reported that in the past quarter, personal wealth declined by 0.3% while at the same time corporate wealth (cash stockpiles specifically) increased 4.5%. It only makes sense that along with corporate wealth increase comes additional responsibility to lead within the community utilizing these resources.

3. A very important way for corporations to help the economy and local community is to focus on business development projects in traditionally poor areas with high levels of unemployment.

4. Finally, corporations, as they participate in corporate projects should continue to encourage employees to individually get involved in their community. This can involve not overworking employees so they have the time to get involved in their communities, providing additional time off for participation in projects, and continuing programs like matching grants where corporations provide matching donations to their employee community contributions.

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