Million Dollar Surprise at Dallas Conference
| By Justin Nelson
Representatives from more than 140 corporate partners were on hand, as well as a record number of leaders from local affiliate chambers across the nation, including international affiliate leaders from Canada, Argentina, and Colombia. More than 180 certified LGBT Business Enterprises were in attendance, resulting in more than 400 matchmaking appointments with corporate partners this year--an increase in 20% from last year!
Yet the highlight of the conference was the Wells Fargo Foundation's surprise donation on stage of one million dollars to the NGLCC Foundation, which will help to run the newly opened NGLCC Supplier Innovation Center. The Innovation Center focuses on providing online and in-person educational and business growth opportunities to LGBT business owners across the nation and around the world.
Tim Hanlon, Head of Philanthropy at the Wells Fargo Foundation (pictured fourth from the left in the above photo with the NGLCC Board of Directors) delivered the check and a moving speech about the donation, which speaks to NGLCC's work to grow LGBT inclusion not only here in the United States, but also in countries around the world. Donated funds will be used to finish outfitting the Innovation Center, developing and delivering LGBTBE and affiliate chamber educational programming, including preparing LGBT businesses for exporting opportunities, and helping build LGBT business communities throughout Latin America to allow for international teaming opportunities.
"Our community is so lucky to have amazing advocates from Wells Fargo, both in Tim Hanlon and our own Board Member Mark Ng," said Justin Nelson, NGLCC Co-Founder and President. "It's with the commitment of these advocates and many others that the power of hard-working small business owners continues to grow."
The conference was packed with other highlights and surprises. In addition to a robust selection of breakout sessions, crowd favorites included Les McKeown's entertaining and informational keynote address, SBA Deputy Associate Administrator Eugene Cornelius, Jr. delivered a call to federal agencies to be involved in LGBT inclusion. Attendees enjoyed a riveting luncheon roundtable with key chief diversity officer and a thoughtful leadership interview with Aetna Chairman, CEO, and President Mark Bertolini.
NGLCC honored our local affiliate chambers, including presenting the 2013 Chamber of the Year Award to the Central Pennsylvania Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Rising Star Chamber Award to the Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Learn more about these chambers and the other award winners to better understand how they work to impact communities and local economies.
Thanks to Presenting Sponsor American Airlines; Executive Vice President Sponsors IBM, US Bank, and Wells Fargo; and Director Level Sponsors Accenture, AT&T, Diageo, and ING and all our conference sponsors for making this year's the biggest and best NGLCC conference to date!
Enjoy our event photos on the NGLCC Flickr feed, and make sure to check back for updates. If you didn't have an opportunity to attend the conference this year join us next year in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace from July 29 to August 1.