NGLCC Announces 2015 National Dinner Award Honorees

| By Andy DiAntonio

Supplier of the Year: Social Driver

Social Driver, led by business partners and husbands Thomas Sanchez and Anthony Shop, is a marketing agency that uses social-fueled strategies to drive next-generation results. Social Driver works with leading corporations and nonprofit organizations to connect with their audiences online through social media campaigns, websites, and data visualizations. Social Driver serves major clients across the country and around the globe and was named the 7th fastest growing marketing agency in the United States by Agency 100.
 
Social Driver has maintained NGLCC certification as an LGBT Business Enterprise for four years. They have leveraged certification to take advantage of world-class education opportunities including an NGLCC Scholarship to the Building A High-Performing Minority Business Executive Education training program at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.  Additionally, Social Driver was a participant in the Accenture Diverse Supplier Development Program through the NGLCC Mentorship Program. The Accenture Diverse Supplier Development Program recognized Social Driver as the fastest-growing company in the protégé class. Social Driver also maintains NMSDC certification.
 
Along with their wealth of knowledge and in-depth corporate experience, Social Driver maintains a serious commitment to working with other LGBT and diverse-owned business enterprises. Through their B2B work, Social Driver serves as a partner, subcontractor, vendor, buyer, and mentor to other LGBTBEs and certified diverse firms. In 2013 Anthony Shop joined the NGLCC Certification Committee as a volunteer and has regularly participated in the NGLCC Supplier Mentorship Program. In 2015, NGLCC’s Procurement Council selected Thomas Sanchez to serve on its Supplier Committee, furthering their mentorship role within the LGBT business community.
 
Social Driver actively engages with and supports the greater minority business community and has done so through multiple organizations and initiatives. Social Driver has provided pro bono social media and digital marketing training for roughly three-dozen area nonprofits, with a focus on those serving youth and entrepreneurs. Social Driver stands out as a business that has achieved remarkable success and has done so with the utmost integrity, respect for clients and employees, and focus on the LGBT community.

Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year: Kimberlee Sours

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. Kimberlee Sours, Manager of Supplier Diversity at Capital One Financial Corporation, is a tireless advocate for diverse businesses and LGBT entrepreneurs.
 
Kimberlee serves as an active member of the NGLCC Corporate Advisory Council and the NGLCC Procurement Council. Last year Kimberlee was selected to join the NGLCC Corporate Development and Engagement Committee on the Procurement Council. In this role, Kimberlee has been successful at cultivating new NGLCC corporate members and retaining existing ones. Kimberlee actively works to meet with LGBTBEs and connect them with contracting resources. She also serves as a certification site visitor and is a frequent speaker with NGLCC educational programming. Kimberlee regularly encourages LGBT suppliers to participate in the NGLCC and uses her influence on other members of the Enterprise Supplier Management team to do the same.
 
Through her work with the NGLCC and Capital One’s internal LGBT Network, Kimberlee has continuously advocated for increasing corporate awareness and support for the NGLCC. Additionally, Kimberlee has worked tirelessly to ensure that LGBT suppliers are included in the Capital One supply chain. Kimberlee was instrumental in ensuring that inclusion was included when Capital One developed strong policy language in support of Supplier Diversity efforts and disseminated the message throughout the organization.
 
Kimberlee’s efforts are a key factor in introducing several suppliers to procurement, all of whom are currently participating on RFP’s with Capital One. These efforts have not only increased Capital One’s supplier diversity spend, but also built greater awareness of the importance of supplier diversity and the certification program at the NGLCC.

Corporation of the Year: MillerCoors

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. MillerCoors 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. MillerCoors knows that being an exceptional corporate ally is more than just marketing to the LGBT community, it is being a part of the community.
 
Celebrating a 10-year partnership with the NGLCC, MillerCoors has had sustained investment and allegiance to the NGLCC mission rooted in civic leadership and economic empowerment for the LGBT community. Year after year, MillerCoors has been a critical partner in nearly all of the NGLCC’s initiatives, events, and programs, centered on a commitment to growth and development of LGBT businesses and the communities they lead. In addition, MillerCoors has been an essential partner to the international work of NGLCC Global through their high impact programming and grant support for the NGLCC’s public/private partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
 
In 2012, MillerCoors became a Founding Champion of Innovation allowing the NGLCC to bring innovative, compelling, and strategic educational opportunities through the Supplier Innovation Center. In addition, MillerCoors has shown their dedication to national and local LGBT activism by becoming the first national sponsor for the Matthew Shepherd Foundation and by sponsoring LGBT sports leagues all across the country.
 
Furthermore, many MillerCoors associates work tirelessly to ensure the implementation of LGBT policies and outreach programs. From their workplace employee resource group LAGER (LGBT and Allies Group Employee Resources) to their Inclusive Leaders training, and their Great Cents program, MillerCoors representatives are active and involved in the conversations needed to expand equality and opportunity to the LGBT business community.

NGLCC / American Airlines ExtrAA Mile Award: Jim Obergefell

Each year the NGLCC/American Airlines ExtrAA Mile Award celebrates a courageous leader or organization that has championed for LGBT equality despite incredible odds. Jim Obergefell is the living embodiment of the community’s commitment to win marriage equality, and the desire to harness this momentum to secure future community victories for nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans. 
 
Jim Obergefell was the named plaintiff in the landmark marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges. Jim met and fell in love with John Arthur, his late husband, in 1992. In 2011, John was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal neurological illness. Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act with the Windsor decision in June 2013, John and Jim married aboard a medical jet on a Maryland airport Tarmac. They then filed suit in federal court against the State of Ohio to demand recognition of their lawful marriage on John’s impending death certificate. John died in October, 2013, and the State of Ohio appealed to the Sixth District Court of Appeals. In November 2014, the Sixth District Court of Appeals ruled against Jim and plaintiffs from five other cases in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee, setting the stage for an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in April, 2015, and on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, bringing marriage equality to the entire United States. 
 
Jim speaks about his experience and the fight for equality as a speaker with APA Agency, and is actively involved with the Human Rights Campaign, and Equality Ohio. Jim earned a degree in Secondary Education and German from the University of Cincinnati, and currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
 
Previous NGLCC National Dinner Honorees have included: former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, NAACP Board Chair Emeritus Julian Bond, tennis legend and LGBT champion Martina Navratilova, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Actress Judith Light, CNBC news anchor Thomas Roberts, and NBA player Jason Collins, to name a few.