NGLCC Back to Business (B2B) Summit: The Power of Reconnecting

| By Sarah Jester

Last November, nearly 500 LGBTQ business owners, supplier diversity leaders, corporate representatives, affiliate chamber leaders, and allies all convened in sunny Hollywood, Florida at the NGLCC Back to Business (B2B) Summit, with hundreds more virtual attendees joining them from home. This powerful week of education, networking, and celebration was made possible by Presenting Sponsors American Airlines, Accenture, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Southern California Edison, and allowed entrepreneurs and corporations alike to make powerful connections and gain valuable knowledge from each other while observing COVID-19 guidelines.

Many of the B2B Summit’s in-person attendees started off their mornings with Humana’s Walk & Talks Program. Participants engaged in dynamic matchmaking conversations throughout the vibrant grounds of the Diplomat Hollywood Beach Resort.

B2B participants then headed to Summit’s plenaries, which featured a starry array of special guests, including country music star and activist Chely Wright, trailblazing entrepreneur Janice Bryant Howroyd, PULSE Nightclub Owner and onePULSE Foundation Founder Barbara Poma, and featured POSE actress, author, and model Dominique Jackson. Attendees took part in a series of valuable panels and conversations surrounding supplier diversity, LGBTQ+ identity, and other powerful topics.

Participants were given the opportunity to engage in over 20 specialized breakout sessions, including industry clusters specific to Pharma, Marketing & Related Services, and Construction & Energy. Other unique sessions offered specially crafted resources to LGBT business owners, including crash courses on the EY Velocity entrepreneurship program and the Facebook Invoice Fast-Track Program, preparation strategies for doing business within the NGLCC network, and more. Affiliate chamber leaders were invited to take part in exclusive roundtables focusing on affiliate programming for 2022, as well as how to advance affiliate impact around the nation. Corporate leaders took part in crucial conversations on how to best leverage employee resource groups (ERGs) and business resource groups (BRGs) in order to grow and strengthen their supplier diversity efforts within procurement. During NGLCC’s signature Matchmaking sessions, corporate representatives and LGBT entrepreneurs connected to maximize their partnership opportunities. With a total of 376 Matchmaker meetings, 102 in-person LGBT supplier attendees connected with 49 corporate buyers, with 18 virtual supplier attendees connecting with 43 virtual corporate buyers to conduct future business together.

B2B Summit attendees came together each night for two signature events: the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC) Best-of-the-Best Awards and the NGLCC Awards Gala Dinner. Uniting the nation’s leading business diversity organizations, the NBIC Best-of-the-Best Awards was presented by Bank of America and recognized outstanding corporate achievement in 50 corporate partners that promoted cross-segment diversity, equity and inclusion in 2021.

The following evening, the Awards Gala Dinner celebrated yet another year of economic and social progress for the global LGBTQ and allied business community. This signature NGLCC event was made possible by IBM and Accenture. Among the awards given that evening, the LGBT Supplier of the Year Award was presented to Brand|Pride, the Chamber of the Year Award was presented to the Los Angeles LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, the Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year Award was presented to Charlene Vickers, and the 2021 Corporation of the Year Award was presented to Johnson & Johnson.

At the conclusion of the Awards Gala, FOODE + Mercantile, Café Gabriela, Pitchers DC and A League of Her Own, serving communities in Fredericksburg, Va., Oakland, Calif., and Washington, D.C., were granted $100,000 each. These small business owners are among the first recipients of the $2 million COVID-19 relief funds generated by the Chamber in partnership with Grubhub. With the funds, the NGLCC and Grubhub created the NGLCC/Grubhub Community Impact Grant Program to support struggling LGBTQ+ owned and LGBTQ+ ally establishments.

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We can’t wait to share what 2022, our 20th Anniversary year, has in store for the NGLCC community! Stay tuned at nglcc.org.