Posts Tagged ‘LGBT business owners’

The Great United States / North Carolina Diversity Divide

Three recent events at federal USA and state of North Carolina governmental level starkly highlight a major divide in how the country and my state executive branch governments understand and value diversity.

US Vice President Joe Biden references the historic USAID / NGLCC partnership at an LGBT Pride Month reception at his residence.

US Vice President Joe Biden references the historic USAID / NGLCC partnership at an LGBT Pride Month reception at his residence.

First, two events in June at the USA executive branch level:

• On Monday, June 16, President Obama announced that he soon plans to sign an executive order giving workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity (that address LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people) for federal contractors. Link to article.

• At the end of June, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice announced a new partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to encourage and support LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs in developing countries. Link to details.

Second, follow these national items with an executive order issued by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on June 30th. In his statewide executive order #55 (link), Governor McCrory addressed equal opportunity for employees in the state government regardless of “race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information.” One glaring omission – nothing referencing sexual orientation or gender identity! It would appear that for NC State Government jobs, treating people unfairly is perfectly OK if they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

What most of our country’s Fortune 500 companies and the federal government understand is that all people must be treated fairly in the workplace for all to work at peak capacity and to achieve the best results. Still too often in the United States, LGBT people are looked down upon, scorned, demonized or even bullied, and if any group needs workplace protection, it is this segment.

Sadly enough, many political leaders often speak of providing a business-friendly environment to help stimulate economic growth, but then at the same time fail to protect and empower all in the workplace. Three large employers in the state of North Carolina have already told me in my role as a diversity consultant and trainer, that they are having serious issues recruiting the best talent to their locations in North Carolina because of our lack of progression on LGBT equality and protections at the state level.

It is time for all people across all states in our country to advocate for the equal and fair treatment of all Americans in the workplace, both in the private and public sector, so that all can work at their very best and help grow our country’s economy and deliver government services more effectively and efficiently.

Participating in an Historic Event – First Ever US Federal Government Procurement Fair for LGBT Businesses!

Part 1 of 2 of a series around LGBT economic development

On November 15, 2012, it was truly an exciting privilege to attend the first ever Federal Government Procurement Fair for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) owned businesses. The event was organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the certifying body for LGBT business enterprises. And the NGLCC provides a wide range of support services to LGBT-owned businesses as well as for the corporate partners who now include LGBT in the supplier diversity mix.

The afternoon session was appropriately held at the US Department of Commerce Building in Washington, DC. Before the 50 to 60 LGBT business owners started visiting with the approximately dozen Federal agencies that were represented, we had a dynamic and inspiring 45 minute session with several short addresses.

Dr. Rebecca Blank, the Acting Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of Commerce delivered a compelling speech on

Dr. Rebecca Blank, Acting Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of Commerce

the importance of encouraging LGBT owned business as a key to US economic growth. Dr. Blank spoke of the President’s US Export Initiative and how LGBT-owned business can and should contribute to it. Three of her key points:

• That LGBT entrepreneurs can start businesses that help spur economic growth
• That creative LGBT business owners can develop innovative products and deliver more efficient processes that will help our economy
• LGBT entrepreneurs starting business can help grow jobs

Dr. Blank also praised the work being done by the NGLCC with its US government sanctioned trade mission to Colombia, since LGBT business have special products and expertise that international markets want … and this also helps the US balance of trade.

Gautam Raghaven, White House Liaison to the LGBT community

A second speaker, Gautam Raghaven, White House Liaison to the LGBT community, spoke of the need to continue to stimulate and grow the economy, and that is an issue that LGBT business owners should deeply care about…. because what is good for the economy is good for LGBT people.

Later on this week I will write a second blog connecting several aspects of the LGBT community to our country’s economy.

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