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For IBM, reaching out to the LGBT community was an easy call.
''We have proven, time and again, that [diversity] enables us to offer added value to our customers in areas such as innovation, time to market, and customer satisfaction,'' Drucker says.
''We are extremely proud of the fact that IBM was the first company in the world to recognize the LGBT segment in its supplier-diversity program. And since including LGBT in the program in 1999, IBM has spent tens of millions of dollars with dozens of LGBTBEs.''
On the supplier end, NGLCC points to many success stories. Among them, according to Giorgianni, was NGLCC's Supplier of the Year, Neil Cerbone, who recently completed Accenture's Diverse Supplier Development Program and was named ''protégé of the year.''
A certified LGBT promotions company also secured a contract with a well-known national shipping company less than one year after initial contact at a 2011 NGLCC ''matchmaker meeting.''
And Q&A Events, an Atlanta-based meetings company, became the first LGBT-owned firm to work for Coca-Cola Co.
In recent years, the Human Rights Campaign has made LGBT supplier diversity a key component of its annual Corporate Equality Index. It's no coincidence, then, that corporate participants in NGLCC's diversity program rate at or near the top of the CEI.
NGLCC promotes its programs across the country, most notably through its annual Business & Leadership Conference, which this year will be held Aug. 7 to 10 in Chicago.
In addition, NGLCC has traveled the nation for ''Road Shows'' to meet LGBTBEs. NGLCC and the Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce are holding a Road Show Thursday, May 24 in D.C. from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at NGLCC's offices, 729 15th St. NW. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fortunately for aspiring LGBTBEs, the Road Show aims to shed light on both who you know and what you know.
The Chamber means Business. For more information, visit caglcc.org.
Matt Raymond is an independent public-relations consultant in Washington, an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Logan Circle, and a member of the Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.