“Our Chamber Connect events are a great way for people within the LGBTQ community and allies to come together and potentially use each other’s business platforms to build relationships,” says Morgen Hunt, president of the Equality Chamber of Commerce of D.C. (formerly CAGLCC). “Our networking events are fabulous. They’re fun, energetic, very diverse, and engage like-minded individuals from our membership. Every attendee gets two free drink tickets, we have light hors d’oeuvres — sometimes provided by some of our members — and a DJ from within the community.”
In addition to making connections, there are multiple benefits to becoming a member. For instance, ECCDC highlights local businesses and professionals on social media and in its newsletter. The group also distributes business directories at Pride and other events to aid local entrepreneurs with visibility.
“Being part of a growing networking family seems to be a benefit for people,” says Hunt. “You’re able to kind of shine within your own field.”
ECCDC members can become certified as an LGBTQ+ business-owner and will have the certification fee waived if they’re a member of the Chamber. Memberships range from $175 to $750 a year.
Some ECCDC members are currently trying to create an advocacy program where the Chamber would weigh in on important issues or support specific causes, while others are speaking to potential sponsors about staging town hall meetings and fundraising galas.
“It’s a good time to be a member of the chamber,” says Hunt. “We have increased membership greatly, and our events have really boosted morale.”
The organization holds a monthly “Chamber Connect” networking social, and on April 15, ECCDC will present its annual Mega Networking event at the spacious City Winery in Ivy City. “We’re hoping to bring 400-plus people together,” says Hunt. “It’s the biggest networking event in the D.C. area for the LGBTQ+ community.”
ECCDC’s monthly “Chamber Connect” networking event is Thursday, March 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the St. Gregory Hotel, 2033 M St. NW. The “Mega Networking” event is Wednesday, April 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. Pre-registration is required. For more information, visit www.eccdc.biz.
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