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, May 14, 2015

How Should Seattle Grow?

The City of Seattle is making progress on the next Comprehensive Plan - Seattle 2035 - which will guide how the city grows. After months of community meetings and planning sessions, they have just released the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).

There are many ways to get engaged on the Draft EIS and they need your participation! There are several ways to add your input:

  • Go to to participate in the DEIS online open house and take the survey
  • Share via your social media pages and to your email lists
  • Attend the DEIS Open House and Public Hearing to chat with us in-person, ask questions, view project informational materials or testify. Details for the event are below:

Seattle 2035 DEIS Open House and Public Hearing
Date/time: May 27, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104

·         Other ways you can submit formal feedback on the Draft EIS include:
  • Email: Send comments to
  • Mail: Mail comments to the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Attn: Gordon Clowers, 700 5th Ave., Suite 2000, PO Box 34019, Seattle, WA 98104

They are accepting feedback on the Draft EIS via the online survey and formal comments to the DEIS now through June 18. Thank you for your continued engagement, and for helping connect with your communities. You can follow the comprehensive plan on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on upcoming events and the latest project news!

Thursday, April 30, 2015


by Rachael Brister, GSBA VP of Marketing & Tourism

Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to New York City to represent GSBA and present at the first ever LGBT Week NYC, a week-long conference bringing together the worlds of advertising, marketing, technology and business in the LGBT marketplace.

The conference was produced by two long-term GSBA members and partners, Community Marketing & Insights, Inc. and Pink Banana Media. I attended the conference the last two days that were focused on marketing. Some of the presentations included Reaching the Lesbian Market, Advanced LGBT Online Marketing Strategies, The Intersection of Cause and Commerce, Shaping the Future for LGBT People in China with Mobile and Millenials….WTF? I really enjoyed learning about so many different facets of marketing to the LGBT community and in such rapid fire succession. Most presentations were just 20-30 minutes. These two days of the conference took place at the New York Times office building and conference center, a beautiful building just a few blocks from Times Square.

My presentation was titled Stretching Your Marketing Dollars with Community Partnerships: Pride events, film festivals, professional organizations, employee resource groups, sports events, social groups, women's and family events...the LGBT community's events and organizations are as diverse as its members. These events and groups also offer powerful partnership opportunities that lend authenticity to a company’s outreach and marketing to the LGBT community. Whether you have a big budget, small budget or virtually no-budget, this session will provide your company with ideas and methods to multiply your message via known and trusted channels of visibility and communication.

Before the NASDAQ building's windows anonymized Rachael...
I really enjoyed calling on my experience at GSBA both as a staff member and former Board member as well as the 15 years I spent directing lesbian & gay film festivals to emphasize how important and powerful community partnerships can be in reaching the LGBT consumer market. Throughout the two marketing-focused days of the conference, many of us presenters discussed how writing a check to an organization is not enough. A company needs to go beyond the donation or sponsorship and engage with the organization, its constituents and treat the relationship as just that….a relationship and not just a one-way street. GSBA has excelled in this arena, not just because of who we are as an organization, but also because of the commitments, passion and engagement of our corporate and small business members and partners.

...and after.
One highlight of the trip was LGBT Week NYC was chosen to ring the closing NASDAQ bell on Wednesday, April 22. Nasdaq is the second-largest stock exchange in the world. Its opening and closing bells signal the beginning and end of trading each day, and outside parties are often allowed to ring the bells to help promote certain causes, brands or initiatives.

I was asked to be one of the representatives along with about 25-30 other presenters and conference attendees. The NASDAQ staff we worked with has this whole process down to a science, which I assume they must since it happens day after day. There was a myriad of photo ops and all of the pictures were then transmitted to the side of the NASDAQ building that faces Times Square. So for about 60 minutes, many of us were able to experience what it is like to be a large digital billboard in Times Square. The actual “closing bell” is on a screen on a podium. It still gets pressed, but it’s like pressing the screen of an iPad.

Seattle will get a chance to experience a condensed version of this conference this Fall when LGBT Week comes to Seattle for a day-long conference co-presented by GSBA. It will take place at the Renaissance Hotel on Friday, September 18 and will feature the presentations on technology, marketing and advertising from an LGBT business perspective.  I hope you can join us!

Other highlights and recaps of the conference:
Pink Banana Media
Ad Week

25 Years of Investments: Dr. Laramie Smith

For 25 years, GSBA has invested in the hearts and minds of LGBTQ and allied students. Join us as we award $350,000 to 48 of the brightest in Washington State. Meet these inspiring students and support them along their journey at the 2015 GSBA Scholarship Dinner on May 15 at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott. If you are unable to attend the Dinner, consider sponsoring a scholar at the Dinner with a donation of $150 or more. On this 25th Anniversary we will celebrate investing over $2 million dollars in 350 leaders. Please read more about our featured alumni speaker, Laramie Smith. She, and the many other alumni scholars, will be on hand to share their successes with you.

In 1999, Laramie Smith had lost her determination to go to college. She wondered what college would look like, how she would get there, how she could pay for it and what doors it could open. “They were mysteries I couldn't even begin to comprehend. I just knew I could do better with my life,” remembers the Lacey native. As she was looking into her options, Laramie applied for and received a GSBA scholarship. “I found myself without parents who could embody unconditional love and support, but I was suddenly and unexpectedly embraced by the LGBTQ community.”

Fast-forward 15 years: Laramie R. Smith, PhD, is a behavioral health scientist whose research is devoted to the prevention and treatment needs of HIV-affected and medically underserved communities.

Laramie received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in American cultural studies from Western Washington University. She worked on the Centers for Disease Control’s National HIV/AIDS Behavioral Surveillance study in conjunction with the Seattle–King County Department of Public Health’s HIV/AIDS Program, examining the intersection of substance use and housing vulnerabilities among adolescent and adult populations at the University of Washington.

Laramie defending her dissertation.
She earned her doctorate in social psychology from the University of Connecticut. During her doctoral training, she received a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health to develop and evaluate a theory-based approach to retention in HIV care in the Bronx. Through a complementary line of research, Laramie continues to investigate mechanisms through which HIV, drug use and methadone maintenance-related stigmas disrupt individuals’ prevention and treatment behaviors.

She worked at the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) on a large project in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. As an extension of this trial, she integrated her work in HIV care with her investigation and support of the needs of newly diagnosed patients who were not yet eligible for antiretroviral therapy.

Laramie is currently a postdoctoral fellow at University of California San Diego School of Medicine’s Division of Global Public Health. Her research interests include infectious disease prevention, treatment and care; health disparities; medically vulnerable and underserved populations; LGBTQ health; health behavior theory; intervention development and evaluation; and structural equation modeling.

As the first GSBA scholar to receive four years of consecutive funding, Laramie gained just as much, if not more, from the knowledge that an entire community believed in her ability to thrive and provide leadership in the face of adversity. “This personal connection gave me strength and resolve to attain my education and invest my efforts back into in the health of the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities,” she says. “This support is more than I could have ever expected when I opened my first scholarship award letter in 1999. It has laid a solid foundation from which I continue to approach life's challenges and value my successes.”

Monday, April 27, 2015

Your B&O Taxes at Work

GSBA is excited to announce a new partnership with the City of Seattle’s Office for Economic Development under its Grow Seattle program. Through your membership in GSBA, and if you have a City of Seattle business license, you are eligible for up to 5 hours of business consulting at no charge with an executive certified business coach. Your consultation can include, but is not limited to, budgets, leadership, business development, marketing, writing job descriptions and beginning a business plan. These are your B&O taxes at work! This is a very valuable resource, especially for new or struggling businesses who want to grow and stay in Seattle. 5 hours may seem brief, but it can get you on the right track to grow your business.

If you are interested, please contact Matt Landers and he will put you in touch with the City staff in charge of this program. This program is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

GSBA Members Dining Out for Life

As usual, there are many GSBA member eateries participating in LifeLong's annual Dining Out for Life event, this coming Thursday, April 30. Make sure to eat breakfast, lunch and/or dinner at one of these establishments, as portions of the proceeds will go toward helping fight hunger and illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. By dining out, you made a huge difference.

Golden Fork Restaurants - Donating 50% of their revenue from the day to LifeLong:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Meet Mark, Our New Director of Programs & Fund Development

5 Questions with Mark Rosén
Our new Director of Programs and Fund Development is a face that most of you will recognize. We are very excited to welcome him in this new role with GSBA!

Welcome, Mark! What did you do before joining the GSBA staff? 
I had a long career in the beauty service industry and was a salon owner for over 20 years. During that time I had the opportunity to travel and teach nationally with several major product companies, including as a global educator with the Aveda Corporation. The most important lesson I learned in my salon career was the value of building relationships, which is part of what I bring to my new role at GSBA. 

You aren't actually new to GSBA. How were you involved with the organization before 2015? 
I’m a longtime GSBA member (over 17 years) and supporter of the GSBA Scholarship Fund. My salon was named Business of the Year in 2005. I had the honor of serving as Board Chair for three years and also as Scholarship Chair. I've served on just about every standing committee and have loved the opportunity to connect with so many great GSBA members. One of the most fun things I can add is that I spearheaded the return of the GSBA Briefcase Brigade, which was an early Pride Parade tradition. I can proudly say that I am the most uncoordinated member of the brigade, having made it to the front page of the Seattle Times with the caption “Members of the GSBA Briefcase Brigade attempt to stay in step”!

What are some of your favorite memories as past Board and Scholarship Chair or as a member?
My favorite memories all revolve around the successes we have seen with the growth of the Scholarship Fund! Every year I've met incredible scholars and hear their moving stories. I've had the honor of supporting some of our past scholars as they prepare to present at our events, and I've been thrilled to see new donors come on board with the same passion I share for supporting our future leaders. Of course there’s also the thrill of raising the Pride flag and the Equality Washington flag on the top of the Space Needle! 

This is a new role in the office. What are you looking forward to most?
I’m most looking forward to exploring how we can continue to grow as an organization to offer our members the most value with our programs and use our voice to advocate for important business and social issues, as well as seeing the continued growth of our Scholarship Fund and its important mission of creating future leaders.

You helped organize the Wine District at the TASTE of GSBA. What are some of your favorite Washington wines, wine experiences, or winery members?

As a Washington wine geek, I have loved connecting my wine-making friends with the GSBA! It’s been a thrill to have them see the importance of what we do as an organization and support us through their participation. TASTE of GSBA has definitely become a great Washington wine event, and I loved hearing from Bart Fawbush of Bartholomew Winery that our guests are the most knowledgeable wine enthusiasts of any event he does. We now have winery supporters from all over the state, with a lineup last year that included so many favorites: Laurelhurst, Nota Bene, Fidelitas, Elsom, El Corazon, Va Piano, Bartholomew, Goose Ridge and more! That’s a pretty amazing list!