The Puget Sound’s LGBT business community was celebrated at an inaugural event presented by The Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) and GSBA, the largest LGBT chamber of commerce in the country. CEOs, business leaders and small and large business owners gathered at the Paramount Theatre to honor and applaud the efforts of LGBT and allied business people advancing equality in their workplaces and impacting the local LGBT community at-large.
The event coincided with the first-time publication of a special section of the PSBJ, The Business of Pride. The publication has a rich history of recognizing diverse segments of the business community and this LGBT business spotlight fits nicely into this canon. Publisher, Emory Thomas stated, “…our intention is not to separate a defined slice of local leadership out away from the rest of the business community. On the contrary: We provide these highly focused reports with the aim of more fully blending the wonderfully varied elements of our business community together.”
Highlighting one segment of the business community can definitely draw attention to the common aspects shared by all business professionals, but it is also important to celebrate the unique traits of the LGBT business community (and many minority business communities). In particular, our propensity to utilize the professional platform to affect change. Change for LGBT employees, change in policies and laws affecting our civil rights and change of the overall views of and sentiments for the local, national and international LGBT community.
That is exactly why a group of 15 Outstanding Voices were recognized at the event and through profiles in the Business of Pride issue. They have made a commitment to LGBT equality throughout their professional careers. GreenRubino’s own John Rubino is one of these Outstanding Voices. In his profile, John answers a question on the importance of storytelling by the LGBT community. “I would say this was critical, even if I didn’t work in an industry where storytelling is so important. For example, humanizing same-sex marriage with real couples is what made the difference in the political fight here in Washington State. It made people realize that there are people you know in your everyday life that are affected by this policy.”
In addition to the Outstanding Voices, this event and special issue also recognized the Top 25 largest LGBT-owned companies ranked by revenue. PSBJ utilized the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) definition of an LGBT-owned company: the business must be at least 51% owned, operated and managed by an LGBT person. The business rankings were revealed at the event with the top three businesses representing restaurants, transportation and catering.
The business and LGBT communities cheered all the honorees throughout the event and the post-event feedback was all positive. It looks as though the PSBJ’s spotlight on the LGBT business community is here to stay. I look forward to the next chapter in the Business of Pride.