GSBA Vision & Mission

MISSION: To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT Community and those who support equality for all.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

GSBA Endorses Prop 1

The GSBA Board of Directors has voted to endorse Seattle Proposition 1 in the November 2014 general election.

"As a mass transit rider whose bus routes to downtown were eliminated during the last cuts, I was left with less frequent and non-direct bus service, resulting in a longer commute.  Additional planned cuts will make commuting to work and navigating the City more difficult for most and impossible for others. I am proud that GSBA is taking a leadership position to save our mass transit system by endorsing Proposition 1. Avoiding debilitating cuts and preserving mass transit is critical to Seattle businesses and workers alike. Our employees, clients and customers need reliable mass transit with frequent buses throughout the City to get to work and appointments, shop downtown and patronize neighborhood businesses, restaurants and nightlife." - GSBA Board Member Mona Smith

The transit-only measure would raise an estimate $45 million per year through a $60 vehicle licensing fee (with $20 low-income rebate) and a 0.1% sales tax, both of which expire in 6 years. This is the same funding source as the King County Proposition 1, which was supported by 66% of Seattle voters.

Transit is vital for our whole community - for employers, for employees, for customers, for students, for seniors, for everyone.

Visit the Yes for Seattle Transit website for more information about the campaign.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rachael Recommends - Late Summer Edition

By Rachael Brister, GSBA Vice President,  Marketing & Tourism

Scouring the digital marketing blogosphere…so you don’t have to.

I subscribe to a lot of blogs and newsfeeds from experts in various aspects of the digital marketing field.  This is my roundup of articles, tips, how-to’s and best practices for social media, apps, marketing, pr and some technology thrown in for good measure. If there is a particular subject or social media platform you want to learn more about, please let me know (link bold text to my email). Check out my comments before the links.  

Now onto this month’s roundup…

The ever popular hashtag. It seems like users either love them or hate them. Bottom line: if you use them, don’t over use them….more tips in the article.

General Social Media
I often hear people ask about linking their social media accounts for ease and to save time. I always advise against it unless your content is really suitable for more than one platform in the exact same format. And I am not the only one. Jamie Turner, the 60 Second Marketer agrees. I love the 60 Second Marketer site because sometimes that is about all I have to read or skim an article. And all of their articles have snapshots at the top that include the intended level of the reader, who the article is meant for (what types of professions within marketing) and how long you will probably spend reading. I find this very helpful when deciding which articles to skim and which to read in depth.

Some great time-saving tips. I would just be wary of the automating all your content across social media platforms for the same reasons stated above.

General Marketing
Some of these terms may be basic, but it’s always good to get a refresher and they are used so often in other posts, I thought this was a handy cheat sheet.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?” A must for every small and large business everywhere.

Video Marketing
Video is a fantastic way to tell your story and a great medium for content marketing. But does it always need to be a highly polished, professional production? Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs, does not think so.

I especially like numbers 3: Have personality. “In all our years of schooling, we have learned to remove that personality from our writing. It has been considered “unprofessional.” Well, not so in blogging. This is not about being silly our outrageous or even overly serious just for the sake of being so. This is about being you.”

Coming up with content ideas is sometime as hard if not harder than the actual writing. Here are some tips to keep your creativity cup full.

You have written all this wonderful, useful content. Now to get it seen!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

GSBA Scholars Walk in the Relay for Life

(L-R) Eddie, Alejandra, Ryan, Anthony, Arianna, and Kevin
Last weekend a group of past and present GSBA Scholars joined together to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life in Cal Anderson Park. Relay For Life events take place across the globe to honor cancer survivors, raise awareness about reducing the risks that cause cancer, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease. Lead by former GSBA Scholar and current GSBA Board Member, Ryan Digges, the team raised over $800 in support of this great cause.

A personal cause to current scholar Alejandra Silva Hernandez, she jumped at the chance to participate. Here she shares her point of view on the significance of Relay For Life:

The moment Ryan Digges first asked whether people were interested in participating in the American Cancer Society’s inaugural Relay for Life at Capitol Hill, I knew I had to be a part of the movement. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to reunite with Ryan, Eddie, Anthony, and Kevin, and I finally met Arianna! But more than that, I felt so deeply touched that the Greater Seattle Business Association would support a cause that is making a difference in my family. My mom has been battling this terrifying disease and she is a warrior just like the Survivors I met at the Relay.

About two to three hours into the Relay, I realized I had no idea what I was in for. I hadn’t had my coffee, it was a hot day and I was wearing pants. To be frank, I was a little embarrassed to be winded even though we were taking turns walking. But I kept going because I saw a Survivor walk past me and past Anthony, and Arianna and yes, even Ryan and Eddie. I was amazed, she continued to walk, nonstop. Finally, I went up to her and asked her if she had anyone to take turns with and she said no, that she was there as a Survivor, walking for herself.

I was amazed. There she was, walking those same steps that I took, under the same heat, but she kept going, nonstop. Cancer taught her that. At that moment all I wished for was a world where people like her and my mom didn’t have to advocate for themselves, where they didn’t have to be strong around-the-clock, and a time when they could devote themselves to being relaxed and without burden.

After Saturday’s Relay, I realized that this movement is making my wish a reality one additional birthday at a time. The Relay funds research, provides education and offers support to people like that remarkable Survivor and my resilient mom.  That’s why it is so important to fundraise for the Relay for Life.

I can’t thank Ryan enough for putting such a wonderful team together and pulling through so strikingly in just over a week’s time. I look forward to next year’s participation. Ready with coffee, weather-appropriate clothing and more GSBA scholars!

GSBA’s Response: Violence, Bias, Public Safety in Seattle

GSBA, a business organization committed to equality, has been engaged in a number of community dialogues as we all grapple with the violence that has touched Seattle and many communities across the country. Violence, biased policing and public safety have been at the forefront of many conversations this summer and GSBA is committed to provide leadership in our community and work with our elected officials on addressing the underlying problems of violence.  

Communities Come Together Around Senseless Tragedy
 After the horrific double-homicide at the intersection of 29th Avenue and King Street, GSBA was invited to participate in a meeting of community leaders brought together by Mayor Murray to address the tragedy. We are grateful to the Mayor for bringing together many Seattle communities which are often marginalized and giving us all an opportunity to meet one another and express our collective grief over the heinous nature of the crime, as well as the start of a longer conversation about how to continue reaching out across communities that often do not know each other very well.

LGBT Leadership Roundtable
Last week Representative Brady Walkinshaw facilitated a roundtable of LGBT community leaders at the GSBA office to continue this conversation. The thrust of the conversation was a commitment to create new mechanisms and avenues of communication to build bridges among communities across neighborhoods.

Westlake Demonstrations Turn Ugly   
Similarly, GSBA was invited by our nonprofit member, the Jewish Federation, to join them in meeting the Mayor about recent demonstrations at Westlake Center which included hate speech and signage against the Jewish community. We applaud the Mayor for his commitment to be clear that, regardless of political beliefs, he will speak out loudly and clearly against behaviors that incite violence and spread hate. He will also remind department heads and elected officials to act responsibly and speak out against intolerance and hate.

Welcome New Chief Kathleen O’Toole
Like nearly everyone else in the city, we are very encouraged by the appointment of new Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O’Toole. Everyone in Seattle, regardless of neighborhood, should feel safe and protected by our police department. Reiterating his commitment to reforming the Seattle Police Department, Mayor Murray, in his comments on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, remarked “a police service should not suppress the rights of the press to cover news events, nor should peaceful protesters be threatened with militarized force.” The problems in Ferguson are not limited to that city and should indeed be a moment to reflect and learn, but also to act, for every city in our country.

Mayor’s Leadership
We are incredibly appreciative to the Mayor for his responsiveness in addressing violence, convening community gatherings and commitment to making important changes in the Seattle Police Department. Violence and intolerance directed at any community is unacceptable and it is the responsibility of each of us to speak out and address. GSBA takes this responsibility seriously and is committed to creating a safer, respectful and inclusive Seattle for us all.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Local Finance for a City of Neighborhoods

by Casey Dilloway, co-founder of Community Sourced Capital

Whenever I have friends in town, I tell them that Seattle is a city of neighborhoods--at least that’s what someone told me when I moved here 15 years ago. Beacon Hill. Capitol Hill. First Hill. Chinatown. Arguing over the boundary between Green Lake and Phinney Ridge is a classic conversation for seasoned Seattleites.

For many small businesses, the Shop Local movement exemplifies our city’s commitment to place, whether it involves eating, shopping, or manufacturing. Inspirational businesses like Urban Bee Company even tag the source of their honey with the specific backyard in West Seattle where it was harvested.

This Pioneer Square lunch spot borrowed $6,700 from 65
people to finance refrigeration upgrades. Over 90%
of the lenders live within the greater Seattle area.
What if our dedication to all things local extended to the capital systems that finance our favorite neighborhood businesses? I stumbled upon “local finance” a few years ago after reading the book Locavesting with my classmates at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (now Pinchot). We wondered, “What if money was local, too?”

Localizing money would strengthen local business, create more jobs for our neighbors and grow our local tax base… just to name a few benefits.

My classmates and I decided to test the potential of local finance by creating Community Sourced Capital, a social purpose corporation that helps people lend small amounts of money to businesses they know. In doing so, we also built a way for businesses to access loans that are usually too small for a bank to provide. We’ve helped 20 businesses borrow $300,000 from over 2,000 lenders, and a third of that $300,000 has already been paid back. What’s the coolest part? The vast majority of our lenders live within a few miles of the businesses they fund.

But local finance is about more than the physical proximity of a company’s capital. It’s also about strengthening relationships between citizens and businesses in order to create shared wealth for our neighbors and neighborhoods.

Together, we can create a place where small businesses thrive, where economic opportunity is abundant, and where the neighborhoods we love are shaped--and financed--by the people who know them best.

Casey Dilloway is a GSBA member and a co-founder of Community Sourced Capital. He lives on Capitol Hill with his partner Shane. Read more about CSC at

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Small Businesses Gain Federal Contracts

By Calvin W. Goings, Region 10 Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration and GSBA Board Member

I am proud to announce that the federal government met its small business federal contracting goal for the first time in eight years.  In Fiscal Year 2013, our government awarded 23.39 percent in federal contracts to small businesses.  That’s $83.1 billion of contracting dollars, according to SBA’s Small Business Procurement Scorecard.

Progress continues in several small business prime contracting categories. The SBA has increased its efforts and collaboration with all federal agencies to broaden opportunities for our small businesses to compete and qualify for federal contracts. The new “Quick Pay” program has accelerated payments from the government to small businesses so small business owners can maintain cash flow to grow their businesses. And, the private sector’s equivalent, “Supplier Pay” program supports small businesses as well.

We all know that when small businesses earn federal contracts, it’s a ‘win-win’ for the federal government and for small businesses, the innovative job creators who fuel the nation’s economy.

As Regional Administrator, my goal is to ensure our small businesses continue to gain federal contracts to expand their opportunities and fuel the American economy. Therefore, you may be asking: what can my small business do to earn a share of federal contracts?

One of the first steps in becoming a government contractor is to determine if your small business qualifies for government contracts on If your small business qualifies, you will need to register your business with the federal government’s System of Award Management (SAM) website, the primary database of vendors doing business with the federal government.

The SBA offers many additional support programs for America’s small businesses such as:

The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program offers an inclusive and broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled by underserved individuals. This program includes SBA’s Mentor Protégé Program, designed to connect successful firms with 8(a) program participants to establish your small business entrepreneurial success.

The “ChallengeHer Initiative”, a SBA partnership, with Women Impacting Public Policy and American Express Open, provides women a forum for discussion on federal contracting and connects women-owned businesses to increase their small business network.

And, SBA’s SUB-Net is a comprehensive database listing subcontracting opportunities by large prime contractors and other non-federal agencies. This is an excellent and alternative way to gain your share of the federal contracting process.  You can find the list of opportunities at

You can learn more about small businesses and federal contracting through the Government Contracting Classroom which can be found at

The SBA is here to help you, so if you have additional questions after exploring the various SBA tools mentioned above, please contact the Seattle District office at 206-553-7310 for additional resources and counseling.