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)
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.)
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.