By Allyson Parco
Our 2019 International Business & Leadership Conference is fast approaching! Thinking about attending and still haven’t registered? Don’t wait! We will sell out, and we don’t want you to miss the biggest and best opportunity for LGBT business success on the planet.
Among the highlights of the NGLCC Conference is getting to know the host affiliate chamber tasked with welcoming the world’s top LGBT business leaders to their city. NGLCC recently spoke with Justice Gennari, President & CEO of The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce (TBDCC), to share his personal experience with Conference and all that Tampa Bay has to offer! In conversation with him, NGLCC discusses our upcoming International Business and Leadership Conference, TBDCC’s major developments, advice for LGBT business owners, and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
Justice Gennari is the first full-time staff member to lead the TBDCC, whose mission is to provide an inclusive community for equality-minded business owners and professionals to connect and collaborate. When Gennari attended his first NGLCC conference in Philadelphia last year, he arrived as a board chair with an open mind. He recalled exactly how he felt in saying, “Conference was not just what they said, conference was so much more. It just really went above and beyond. Everything from the events and experience, to the graphics and the field, to the momentum, and to the genuine connections that you meet.”
During Conference, Gennari invites attendees to explore St. Pete’s famous Central Avenue, America’s most beautiful beaches, the Cuban and Italian heritage that has shaped Tampa culture, and the bars, restaurants, and shops that are also members of the chamber. His piece of advice for constituents and LGBT individuals starting businesses is to be involved with your local chamber. He brings up his pride in the LGBT community’s $1.7 trillion contribution to the U.S. economy and encourages connections amongst other LGBT business owners and businesses. “Get involved, get registered, and certified as a LGBTBE. That’s going to speak volumes because LGBTBEs are up on the rise, cities are recognizing the need to be a part of their certification process, and Tampa is on that rise as well.”
In addition to encouraging others to experience Conference, Gennari spoke about how excited and appreciative he is of Wells Fargo, the Chamber Leadership Alliance, NGLCC, and other diverse chambers. Within the last two years, the TBDCC has grown 52% in membership, added six new programs, and started a partnership with the Tampa Bay Business Journal to showcase inclusive businesses. He explains how this collaborative partnership and the information from last year’s program resulted in several accomplishments. “Without NGLCC, I’m not sure that the Chamber would be as reliable and as resourceful for its community as it certainly is and I’m very thankful for that.” Fast forward to one year later, Gennari shares how proud he is that TBDCC now has a grant to be able to open that opportunity up to so many other chambers.
“I get goosebumps because we’re able to give those programs and these learning opportunities to so many more organizations out there and develop it into more of an experience.”
Outside of the TBDCC, Gennari talked about the inclusivity of Tampa Bay and the recent election of his good friend, Mayor Jane Castor. He described Mayor Castor as sweet and gracious, bringing up a story about dinner with NGLCC’s executive team and herself. As somewhat of a local celebrity in the area, Gennari also mentioned how supportive she’s been of the chamber, from socials to award galas. He fondly recalled small details of her inauguration, from the sparklers and balloons to seeing Mayor Castor with her partner and two sons in front of the city. “The city had been know for being inclusive before and we had a great mayor to pass the torch down, but as previous police chief and warrior to the LGBT community, the limit doesn’t exist to see where we’re going to go moving forward.”
3251 3rd Ave N Suite 125, St. Petersburg FL 33713(727) 755-8390 | email@example.comTBDCC is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.
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