Last week, HRC joined over a thousand LGBTQ business leaders from across the country and around the globe at the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s (NGLCC) 13th Annual National Business and Leadership Conference in Palm Springs, California. HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program Director Deena Fidas and Deputy Director Beck Bailey attended the annual conference, which serves to mentor LGBTQ-owned small and entrepreneurial businesses and to create connections between large business supplier diversity programs and certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs).

Supplier diversity programs ensure that the procurement process includes specific opportunities for minority-owned businesses, including women-owned, veteran-owned and, more recently, LGBTQ-owned businesses. The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce began certifying LGBTQ-owned small businesses in 2002, a process that requires companies to substantiate a majority LGBTQ ownership, and verify its good standing in the community.

Both LGBTQ-owned small businesses and the businesses that contract them “win” with supplier diversity initiatives. By courting LGBTQ-owned businesses, companies including IBM and Marriott International demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQ inclusion, and reap the benefits of working with businesses in the diverse communities in which they operate.

The HRC Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI) assesses supplier diversity programs under the Public Engagement section of the Index criteria. In the 2016 CEI, 40 percent of participating employers reported having supplier diversity programs. Of these, 52 percent reported that their diversity programs include LGBTQ-owned businesses.

The HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program was pleased to partner with NGLCC to present the first-ever “HRC & NGLCC Apex Award” to IBM in recognition of its long-standing commitment to LGBTQ supplier diversity. From its role in combating segregation in the Jim Crow South to joining NGLCC as its Founding Corporate Partner, IBM is a shining example of the power of corporate social responsibility. NGLCC and HRC were thrilled to present the APEX Award to Michael Robinson, Global Supplier Diversity Program Director at IBM.

Earlier in the week, Bailey joined leaders from EY for a session on building transgender awareness, cultural competency and inclusive policies within the workplace. Chris Crespo, EY’s Director, Global and Americas Diversity & Inclusiveness, and Monica Marquez, EY Diversity Inclusiveness & Flexibility Leader in the West Region, shared EY’s efforts and experience in building transgender-inclusive workplaces across the globe, with Bailey adding perspective on corporate best practices across CEI-rated companies.

Pictured above: HRC's Deena Fidas, IBM's Michael Robinson, and NGLCC's Mike Fuller with the inaugural Apex Award given to IBM. Photo courtesy of NGLCC

Beck Bailey; Monica Marquez

Pictured above: HRC's Beck Bailey with EY's Monica Marquez. Photo courtesy of HRC

Mike Fuller; Deena Fidas

Pictured above: Mike Fuller, NGLCC Board Chair and former IBMer, and HRC's Deena Fidas at the podium at NGLCC's 13th Annual National Business and Leadership Conference to present the inaugural HRC & NGLCC "Apex Award." Photo courtesy of NGLCC


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