NGLCC Trade Mission and LGBT Summit of the Americas End with Major Successes

| By Joanna Dees

On March 14, 2014 in Mexico City, NGLCC concluded another successful LGBT Trade Mission and LGBT Summit of the Americas. These combined events serve the mission of NGLCC's international division, NGLCC Global, by both promoting international trade and economically empowering the LGBT community outside the U.S. via entrepreneurship, chamber development, and LGBT Supplier Registration.

As part of the Trade Mission, LGBT Business Enterprises from across the U.S. participated in Gold Key Matching Services provided by the U.S. Commercial Services that orchestrates strategic meetings with thoroughly vetted, potential clients. Participation increased by 100% from the 2012 Colombia Trade Mission and in addition to several new business opportunities, a duo of business owners left Mexico with the opportunity to bid on a seven-figure contract. "There is more than $1 billion per day in cross boarder trade with Mexico and it is our job to make sure LGBT-owned businesses are ready and able to be a part of it," said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson.

The LGBT Summit of the Americas offered a full day packed with informative sessions, carefully designed to meet the needs of the LGBT business community in Mexico City. Including the U.S. delegation of 20, there were over 100 participants consisting of local government officials, LGBT leaders, corporate executives, business owners, and NGLCC international affiliate leaders. The Opening Plenary presented a comprehensive introduction to NGLCC Global and LGBT Supplier Registration, the historic signing of a Cooperative Agreement between NGLCC and the Council to Eliminate and Prevent Discrimination (COPRED), and discussion of the prospects of launching an NGLCC affiliate chamber in Mexico. Following the Opening Plenary, participants were engaged in a stimulating presentation around how to build one's business online, a natural lead into our luncheon keynote.

Pablo Slough, CEO of Google Mexico, shared how diversity and inclusion efforts have positively impacted Google's bottom line. Also during the luncheon, attendees heard from Doug Sanborn of MillerCoors about the beverage company's longstanding commitment to the LGBT community and witnessed the first ever NGLCC Global Partnership Award bestowed upon Argentine Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Co-Founders Pablo de Luca and Gustavo Noguera.

The afternoon was dedicated to providing an international business perspective for the local attendees with sessions on Effectively Leading an International Team and The Business of LGBT Travel. Corporate and government leaders participated in a roundtable discussion about Inclusion in the Workplace and Supply Chain. Moderated by Joanna Dees of the NGLCC, the expert panel included Laura Azpeitia of Pfizer, George Carrancho of American Airlines, Luz Maria de la Mora from WEConnect International, Stan Kimer from Total Engagement Consulting, local scholar and journalist Antonio Medina. Medina depicted the current landscape of LGBT rights in Mexico before the other speakers presented successful means of engaging the LGBT community through competent marketing, inclusive workforce policies, and supplier diversity efforts.

The day was capped off by an evening reception featuring remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Laura Dogu, the second in command from the United States in U.S. Embassy Mexico City. Dogu shared the highlights of a strong partnership between the U.S. and Mexico, urging attendees to work together to become part of the more than $500 billion that is traded each year between these neighboring countries. The reception provided the perfect opportunity for networking between trade mission delegates and LGBT Mexican entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.

"We are thrilled with the outcomes from this year's trade mission and LGBT Summit of the Americas. Strong new relationships were formed that will be very helpful as we look toward launching an NGLCC affiliate chamber in Mexico later this year," said NGLCC Vice President of Global Programs Joanna Dees.​

To view pictures from the trade mission and summit visit our Flickr account. For more about NGLCC Global, please visit nglcc.org/global.

Trade mission and summit sponsors and partners include U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Commercial Services, American Airlines, MillerCoors, Google, Argentina Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Colombia LGBT Chamber of Commerce, COPRED, IGLTA, LGBT Confex, WEConnect International, Homosensual, and LGBTBEs Site, Search & Select and Fourth Wall Events.

As a direct result of the LGBT Summit of the Americas, the Association for Mexican Entrepreneurs has been formed as the exclusive NGLCC affiliate in Mexico. Under the leadership of Cesar Casas Ferrer, owner of Revista Betún digital magazine, AME is dedicated to LGBT business and community development. If you are an LGBT entrepreneur or a corporate leader based in Mexico, please sign up online to learn more about this growing organization.