The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s International Business and Leadership Conference picked up steam on Wednesday with the arrival of personal finance expert Suze Orman.

More the 800 people gathered at Fort Lauderdale’s Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa to hear Orman give parts of her life story while offering financial advice.
“I didn’t have a clue as a 30-year-old,” she said.

Orman worked as a waitress in California and later experienced hardship while working at Merrill Lynch, an investment bank. A New York Times best-selling author and cable television host, Orman is now a success story with fans that adore her, including her wife, Kathy Travis.

“K.T. likes calling herself ‘spouse’,” Orman said. “I call her my wife.”

Orman said her success is a direct result of being confident in who she is.

“To walk that road and get to where you want to be you cannot be afraid of who you are,” Orman told the audience. “It is better to lose that contract than to lose yourself.”

NGLCC’s International Business and Leadership Conference is a large collection of well-known corporations.  Some of the brands sponsoring sessions this week include American Airlines, Facebook, Pfizer, CVS Health, United Airlines, New York Life, Toyota, Kellogg’s, Humana, Shell, Wells Fargo and the list goes on and on.

On Thursday, the conference features a panel discussion about moving forward after the recent Supreme Court victory for marriage equality. Panelists include Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capeheart, CNN anchor Richard Quest, White House LGBT liaison Aditi Hardikar, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Miami Herald Editor Steve Rothaus.

Capeheart, who also provides commentary for cable news network MSNBC, has been particularly critical of the Republican Party and, in particular, real estate mogul Donald J. Trump.
“The bloviating Big Apple billionaire builder is the antithesis of what the GOP autopsy called for,” Capeheart tweeted Wednesday evening.

Trump has captured the media’s attention for much of the summer and, by all accounts, is leading in polls of likely Republican voters. This situation, Capeheart writes, is bad news for the Grand Old Party.

“The hate-fueled self-immolation of the GOP would be a laugh riot were the consequences not so dire,” Capeheart writes in his latest Washington Post column. 

“Our democracy depends on a thriving two-party system where competing parties and the voices within each vigorously debate ideas and then reach the reasonable compromises needed to govern an enterprise as important as the United States. Since 2010, the Republican Party has succumbed to its basest voices for short-term political gain.”

On Tuesday evening, conference attendees were treated to a reception at the Gallery of Amazing Things in Dania Beach. Welcoming remarks from Keith Blackburn, of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Jason King of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation were delivered.