What Pride Means To Our Founders

| By Kaela Roeder

Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson at the 2018 NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference

Chance Mitchell and Justin Nelson founded the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) in 2002 to make an economic difference for LGBT individuals and their businesses. Nearly 18 years later, NGLCC is larger than ever, and is dedicated to providing equal opportunity to LGBT entrepreneurs and the broader community, highlighting the valuable impact that LGBT people and their businesses have.

NGLCC has much pride in its work. In honor of this year’s pride month and the commemoration of Stonewall 50, Nelson, NGLCC’s Co-Founder & President, wanted to share what pride means to him: in terms of business, community, and personal experience.

Pride is about “Giving LGBT people a sense of belonging, worth, and visibility,” said Nelson. “It is an opportunity to celebrate who I am as a person and the communities to which I belong.”

We discussed the importance of business allyship and inclusion, but being allies to the LGBT community all year long and not just during the month of June.  “Just slapping a rainbow flag on something is no longer enough,” said Nelson. There is a need for sustaining engagement all year long. “While I love pride campaigns, we are more than just a parade,” he said.

But, many businesses are now giving light to the LGBT experience throughout the year. Nelson brought up the advertisements during the last winter Olympics by P&G, “Love Over Bias.” Advertisements like these tell stories about inclusivity and diversity in different spaces, demonstrating the true struggles and triumphs of the LGBT community.

Nelson commented on the value that supporting diverse suppliers and the LGBT community as a whole has. “Companies receive benefits when they have a diverse supply chain and speak out against negative public policy that works against their customers and workers.”

In order to promote this diversity, companies and consumers alike should tap into NGLCC’s local affiliate chambers and business networks to look into businesses’ stories as to how they promote inclusivity, equity, and diversity. Many businesses that are certified as NGLCC Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) suppliers place the Certified LGBTBE® logo on their websites and business cards, and even on the packaging of their products (such as New York-based Certified LGBTBE®, Five North Chocolate).


NGLCC logo (pictured, top right) on Five North Chocolate package

NGLCC continues to grow and expand each year, certifying more businesses and establishing new chambers throughout the United States. The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce is proud to continue to highlight the amazing work that LGBT-owned businesses are accomplishing, and to keep building connections with businesses all over the U.S.

“Being inclusive is not a priority for just one month of the year,” said Nelson, “inclusion is a year round commitment.”

Do you want to certify your business or become a corporate partner of the NGLCC? Click here.