I was recently asked by a business colleague how being a member of the LGBTQ community has influenced our business. *
With an historic Pride Season getting underway – marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York City that spurred the Pride movement – it seemed like a perfect time for some reflection.
While DCC has always had a long-term strategy and business development plan, the business grew out of our experience and relationships in producing public affairs content and communications for clients in key economic sectors. We are deeply indebted to all our former employers, clients, colleagues, and mentors who taught us so much and opened many doors for us.
Until recently, the fact that the business owner (me) is gay and our team is diverse has been an ancillary bonus. But as the business has grown and evolved, many of our best referrers, clients, and colleagues have been LGBTQ friends and straight allies.
For example, DCC recently completed an engagement with SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates Leaders), a nonprofit that serves LGBTQ youth in the DC-Maryland-Virginia region. This experience gave us a new appreciation for the challenges faced by today’s LGBTQ youth, as well as their resiliency and determination to achieve great things with their community’s support. Lamar and I continue to be active in SMYAL, and we invite you to join us at the Fall Brunch in October!
I have also become a board member of Q Street, the networking and professional development hub for LGBTQ lobbyists and advocates; and following two years on the steering committee for the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner (coming up this year on Saturday, September 28), I have moved into the role of corporate outreach chair for the HRC in the DMV region. (Want to work with us in the urgent fight for equality? We have opportunities for your company.)
Today it seems like we’re increasingly surrounded by a community of talented, fun, caring, inspirational, and well-connected LGBTQ and straight ally colleagues with whom we have opportunities to do exciting, important work. And we expect to do more business in the community whether the communications challenges involved are LGBTQ-related or not.
By the way: If you are a member of the LGBT community or an ally, I encourage you to take a stand today and year-round for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We still have so much basic education and relationship-building to do in our journey toward a more loving, inclusive future. Please don’t be surprised if I hit you up in support of one of our favorite LGBT causes.
And if you are neither a member of the LGBT community nor an ally, then I thank you for reading this far, and I strongly believe that we can still find many areas of agreement and live together in peace.
*Check out the full version of my exchange with Jonathan Lovitz, Senior Vice President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC.org), on the NGLCC Blog