Dear South Florida Gay News,
Pardon the pun, but the recent editorial in South Florida Gay News, The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Strikes Out, missed the ball entirely.
Through this new partnership between the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Major League Baseball (MLB), our organization, American Meetings, Inc. (AMI), has already successfully participated in the Major League Baseball Diversity Summit held last week in Phoenix, Arizona. There we were able to meet with officials from the MLB Corporate Office and representatives from all of the teams. Additionally, we are now in discussions with several teams regarding opportunities to partner with them on future events. For us, and many other Certified LGBT Business Enterprises, this partnership will no doubt be a “home run”.
The National Gay Media Association (NGMA) does a tremendous service for the community. Long before LGBT stories were part of national news, NGMA and its thousands of loyal writers, editors, and readers were promoting the successes and triumphs of LGBT businesses and advocates. That tradition continues today, and the community is grateful for it.
There is so much positive momentum for our community that it’s more important than ever that our LGBT media be supportive of the efforts our hard-working national organizations are doing on our behalf. If it wasn’t for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce advancing LGBT economic opportunities, our community would never have been recognized by over 1/3 of the Fortune 500, which gives us clout to be recognized by the likes of Fortune and the Walls Street Journal.
No one is doing more to help the LGBT community gain economic strength and equity than NGLCC. Major national publications covering them is proof that our business interests are just viable and powerful as any other minority in America. For years we’ve all been demanding that ‘attention must be paid’ to our businesses—and now it is. That should be celebrated for the visibility it’s brining us, the jobs it’s creating, and the seat at the table our community never had before NGLCC and their partners made it happen.
When their conference was in Fort Lauderdale last year, it attracted hundreds of business owners and corporate reps looking to do business with us in South Florida. We heard their conference made a $4 million impact on the local economy. The local LGBT media benefitted greatly from that impact. Just as our business, American Meetings Inc. (AMI), has from being involved with NGLCC. Since we got certified in 2012, our business has grown over 40%. SFGN knows how powerful the LGBT family can be for connections and opportunities, and that’s what we and our nearly 1,000 certified LGBTBE colleagues around the country—and the world—find through NGLCC every day.
We remember Suze Orman being on the SFGN cover during their conference like it was yesterday. In fact, some of the most exciting coverage of NGLCC’s work we’ve seen has come from NGMA papers and websites in recent years. The more that our esteemed LGBT press can amplify and localize the wins of great groups like NGLCC, the better we’ll all be. More positive coverage will help more business owners like us come out, get certified, and scale rapidly so they can continue advertising in your outlets and hiring brilliant LGBT talent here in South Florida.
Local LGBT press is a part of the fabric of our local communities. Just like the NGLCC local affiliates Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) and Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GFLGLCC), local press makes the personal, at-home connection to the major national movements our organizations are leading for us.
We think we should be celebrating this historic partnership with Major League Baseball as a home run for all of us--- because now we’re not just spectators at the game, our LGBT businesses are all-stars on the field. Stories like this, and the many more ahead, have so much impact to our local communities and we hope to great papers like SFGN will keep sharing them for the positive sign of growth and opportunity ahead that they truly are.
Andy McNeill, Principal & CEO
Todd Bludworth, Principal & President
American Meetings, Inc. (AMI)