UNIVERSITY, MINUS THE DEBT
Where the old-school method might be finding some speakers and throwing together some panels, it should be clear that g.life is breaking away from old school. So Ted Smith threw out the book and started fresh.
”Initially, they’d envisioned a seminar series,” says Smith, a Long & Foster Realtor, Chamber board member, and the guy tasked with putting together the speaker-presentations portion of g.life. ”We put out a request for presentations. Once I started looking at the proposals – over 40 came in – I said, ‘Let’s keep this whole metaphor of g.life going. If we’re talking about a city, let’s look at a school or a university.”
Welcome to ”g.life U.” And while Guenther is firm that the ”g” in g.life is ambiguous – ”The ‘g’ is undefined. It’s ‘great,’ ‘gay,’ ‘good.’ We don’t ever want it to have any definition.” – Smith is happy to call his baby ”g.life University.”
Smith says his university concept is not merely an extension of g.life branding. Instead, he took inspiration from the idea to create something more hands-on than one might expect.
”It’s really about presenting information and engaging,” he says of the days two simultaneous tracks, one with greater business content, the other taking on more personal-enrichment topics. ”It’s about a conversation with the audience. There won’t be any PowerPoint. We really want to have three or four people at the front of the room interacting with the audience.”
And the topics those audiences might find themselves interacting on range from work-life balance to managing your LinkedIn account to transgender employment issues.
Smith is, however, sticking with tradition with regard to at least of portion of what he’s designed for his pop-up pupils.
”It’s like college,” he explains. ”There will be 50-minute classes, with 10 minutes between to change classes.”
On the other hand….
”It’s our intention that people will come and go through the day,” he says of g.life U. ”We don’t think you’re going to sign up for a major.”
While Smith is certain that g.life U ”will enrich the day,” he, too, plans to take a study break and walk the streets of g.life. After all, what’s wrong with a field trip?
”You get ghettoized in your life – where you go, who you hang out with,” says Smith. ”I think g.life is going to be a real cross-section. Yes, it’s business-focused, but it’s all things LGBT. I definitely think people will have a couple ‘I didn’t know we were involved in this’ moments. This is a great way for people to go out and appreciate the diversity of our community. We’re not one community anymore; we’re multiple communities.”
The Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s g.life, ”One Day in D.C., All Things LGBT,” is Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Road NW, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit caglcc.org.