2014 National Dinner Honorees

| By Andy DiAntonio

LGBT Supplier of the Year: Excel Global Partners

 
Excel Global Partners, led by James Nowlin and John Sheldon, is a national management and financial consulting firm based in Texas. Specializing in finance and accounting consulting, corporate strategy, and information technology solutions, Excel Global Partners services major clients across the country and around the globe, including work in over 15 countries. 
 
Excel Global Partners has maintained NGLCC certification as an LGBT Business Enterprise for over five years, and has leveraged certification to take advantage of world-class education opportunities including an NGLCC Scholarship to the Building High-Performing Minority Business Executive Education training at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and participation in the Accenture Diverse Supplier Development Program through the NGLCC Mentorship Program. Excel Global Partners also maintains NMSDC certification.
 
James and John have shown remarkable strength and resilience throughout their journey of growing Excel Global Partners into the successful firm that it is today. They have faced economic hardship, complicated business challenges, and personal tragedies that tested their leadership. Through it all, James and John stayed committed to their business, their employees, and their community. They built a company that has seen 700% revenue growth from 2010-2013 and is on track to see 150% growth by 2015 including the hiring of 5 additional employees. 
 
As community leaders, Excel Global Partners provides pro bono and reduced rate programs to directly assist developing diverse-owned businesses, including over 1,000 hours of services provided to date. The company actively ensures that at least 30% of their own supply chain spend is directly with other diverse-owned companies.
 

Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year: Debra Quade

 
The Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a robust commitment to increasing the reach of the NGLCC Supplier Diversity Initiative. Debra Quade, Manager of Supplier Diversity at the Kellogg Company, is a tireless advocate for diverse businesses and LGBT entrepreneurs. 
 
Debra serves as an active member of the NGLCC Corporate Advisory Council and the NGLCC Procurement Council. In addition, Debra chairs the NGLCC Corporate Development and Engagement Sub Committee on the Procurement Council. In this role she has significantly widened the scope of impact for the LGBT Supplier Diversity Initiative by encouraging her peers in corporate America to contract with certified LGBTBEs and commit to the growth and success of LGBT businesses. As chair, Debra has also been successful at cultivating new NGLCC Corporate Members and retaining existing ones. Debra participates in every opportunity to meet LGBTBEs and connect them with contracting resources, including serving as a mentor in the NGLCC Mentorship Program. Debra also serves as a certification site visitor and is a frequent speaker with NGLCC educational programming.
 
As a member of the launch team for the NGLCC’s West Michigan LGBT Chamber of Commerce (WMLGBTCC) affiliate, Debra is active in her local LGBT business community and has shared her guidance, leadership, and expertise with this newly formed organization. As one of the newest NGLCC affiliate chambers, WMLGBTCC brings fresh opportunity and connectivity to LGBT businesses in western Michigan. 
 
Through her work with Kellogg’s K Pride & Allies LGBT employee resource group, Debra was instrumental in bringing together representatives from over a dozen Michigan-based Fortune 500 companies for the inaugural LGBT ERG Summit. Debra’s pioneering commitment to connecting employee resource groups and supplier diversity leaders established this forum to ensure that ERGs are educated and engaged in increasing supplier diversity spend with LGBTBEs.
 

Corporation of the Year: Marriott International 

 
This award is given to an NGLCC Corporate Partner in recognition of their outstanding support and dedication to ensuring fairness and equal opportunity for LGBT suppliers, customers and employees. Marriott International has long been a leader in advocating for equality of all people through their early integration of LGBT-inclusive corporate policies and continued support of LGBT organizations.
 
Marriott International knows that exceptional hospitality starts with embracing and celebrating the identities of all of their customers. Through the launch of their #LoveTravels campaign in 2014, Marriott continues to convey their commitment to making every traveler feel comfortable being who they are, everywhere they travel. 
 
Since their partnership with the NGLCC began in 2007, Marriott has had sustained investment and allegiance to the NGLCC mission. Year after year, Marriott International has continued to expand economic opportunities among some of the best-qualified businesses in their reach and around the world. In addition, Marriott has been actively supporting the NGLCC’s global efforts to build and strengthen the international LGBT business community through NGLCC Global. 
 
Furthermore, many Marriott International associates work tirelessly to ensure the implementation of their LGBT policies and support NGLCC programs.  From the leadership of Marriott executives, to the engagement of members of Marriott’s supplier diversity team and LGBT employee network group, ONE, Marriott representatives are active and involved in the policy conversations, business decisions, and community support needed to expand equality and opportunity for the LGBT business community. Marriott International is active in all NGLCC events, one-on-one matchmaker meetings with LGBTBEs, volunteering on the National Certification Committee, and actively participates in the NGLCC corporate councils.
 
Marriott International has shown their advocacy on behalf of same-sex couples needing full access to U.S. immigration benefits and has been outspoken in support of marriage equality, repeal of DOMA, employment non-discrimination, and business equality for the LGBT community. 
 

NGLCC / American Airlines ExtrAA Mile Award – Jason Collins 

 
The NGLCC/American Airlines ExtrAA Mile Award celebrates a courageous leader or organization that has gone the distance for LGBT equality despite incredible odds. Jason Collins, a professional basketball player and a staple of the NBA for over 13 years, has been using his intellect, credibility, and personality to affect necessary social change. 
 
In May of 2013, Collins became the first openly gay, still active professional athlete in a major U.S. sports league. Since publicly announcing his sexuality, Collins has been exercising his experience and celebrity status to effectively advocate for equality, education, and sustainability. Over the past year-and-a-half, Collins has maintained his professionalism and integrity, embracing the overwhelming support from the majority of the sports community and brushing off the rare instances of negativity. 
 
While Collins attempts to keep the focus largely on his basketball career, he is aware of his role as a civil leader and model for the athletic community. Collins’ voice can be heard through his Twitter account, where he uses his platform to bring attention to health care reform, marriage equality, and health and fitness. 
 
Jason Collins is a trailblazer for the athletic community. His unwavering courage to live authentically will pave the way for continued acceptance of diversity in professional sports.