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, April 24, 2014

Liberty Mutual: Business Income Insurance

You put your heart and soul into your business.
We put ours into protecting it.
You live for the ideas, the independence, the feeling of making things happen. You have a passion for your business. Liberty Mutual Insurance has a passion for protecting it. We’re pleased to bring you a series of short articles highlighting optional insurance coverages you may want to consider as part of your overall risk management plan to protect your business, your employees and your future.

Spotlight: Are you covered in the event you experience loss of business income? What’s important for you to consider?

What is business income insurance? Business Income and Extra Expense Insurance, sometimes referred to as Business Interruption Insurance, is commercial coverage that reimburses a business owner for loss of anticipated profits and necessary continuing expenses during the period that the premises is being restored to normal operations due to direct physical loss or damage to covered property from a covered peril, such as fire. Extra Expense coverage can also be added to a premises with Business Income coverage to pay for necessary expenses to avoid or minimize the suspension of the business’ operations during the same restoration period. Additional coverage is available to cover business income and extra expenses that may occur if an action by a civil authority limits access to your business premises due to damage by a covered peril to covered property away from your premises.

What’s important for you to consider? Many businesses forgo this important coverage or have a limited monthly or annual plan. Are you correctly covered to protect your business income for the period of time it may take to restore your business following a covered loss? Consider the actual loss adjustment period, application for building permits, ordinances, construction period, loss of customers during the restoration period, and extra expenses/advertising/alternative rental costs to keep or attract customers. What about the loss of income if one of your important vendors or suppliers cannot work with you due to a covered loss at their business? Do you have a back-up plan? There are many coverages available to address your specific business interruption concerns.

Liberty Mutual is passionate about protecting businesses and we want you to have the right coverage to protect yours. For nearly 15 years, we’ve proudly partnered with the GSBA to support local businesses in the Seattle/Puget Sound community. With offices in Seattle and throughout the Northwest, we know your market and what it takes to protect your business.

To learn more about Business Income Insurance and other important business insurance coverages you should consider, contact independent insurance agency and GSBA member, EHL Insurance:

EHL Insurance
Heidi Dearinger, Director of Business Development and Marketing

This information is a general description of coverage and services offered. See your policy or service contract for actual terms and conditions. Insurance underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., or its affiliates or subsidiaries.

About Liberty Mutual Insurance
You’re passionate about your business. Liberty Mutual Insurance is passionate about protecting it. We rank on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the United States (based on annual revenue). As a leading property and casualty insurer, Liberty Mutual has the resources and expertise to provide tailored domestic and multinational insurance and risk-management solutions to meet business-specific needs, regardless of size, throughout the Northwest Region. Visit, or contact your independent agent or broker.


OUTLeads: Where Input Equals Output

Some of the most programs that GSBA offers are the OUTLeads direct referral groups. OUTLeads is comprised of GSBA members who meet twice per month to exchange direct referrals. One representative from each industry is permitted per group. The goal of OUTLeads is to build strong relationships between members and to pass direct referrals among the group.

There are OUTLeads groups in central Seattle (both morning and lunchtime), West Seattle, Lynnwood, Everett and the Eastside. The original North End group grew so large that the Everett group was launched this past January to meet demand, and is growing rapidly.

Christine Suter, who owns the coaching business Affirmation in Action, joined OUTLeads in 2010 when the Seattle morning group was established. She now gets 25 percent of all her business through the connections that she makes in her group. “OUTLeads is my generating force for new business!  While I catalyze and help improve my client’s lives through my services I have found OUTLeads is catalyzing and improving my business in return,” she says. “It is with pride and conviction that I can recommend my OUTLeads members to my sphere of influence to expand their business while I receive their trust to work with them or someone they deeply care about.” Christine adds that this is a great place for proactive businesspeople to join and effectively boost their marketing efforts.

These direct referral groups are not just for the attendees to do business with one another – the idea is that they get to know and trust the services of their colleagues so that they can recommend other OUTLeads members to their own personal networks. Ed Dorame of Golden Empire Mortgage recently joined the Seattle afternoon group. “I’ve referred three clients to other group members who have used their services, and have used one of my group members services personally which ended up saving me $100 for the work done. So far the clients that I have referred have said good things about their experience.  It’s been a great platform to tell others about my business and the services I provide.”

One of our strongest champions in the North End is David Kosar of American Family Insurance. David worked hard to establish Everett group and says that OUTLeads is the best networking group he has participated in. “It the highest generating lead source for me here at the agency, and the other members of my group have become friends and family. Not only does this group serve as a great lead source, they also are incredible advocates for me and my business in the way of providing support and coaching when asked for. Joining OUTLeads is the single best thing I have done for myself in a long time.”

If you have not participated in OUTLeads before, you are welcome to visit the groups as a guest to try it out.
Seattle Breakfast Group: 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at Julia’s in Wallingford
Seattle Lunch Group: 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 1st Security BankDifferent on Broadway
West Seattle: 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at American Family Insurance
Eastside: 1st and 3rd Thursdays at Let’s Do Lunch in Bellevue
North End: 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at Eagle Home Mortgage in Lynnwood
Everett: 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at Lamoureaux Real Estate

For more information please email

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rachael Recommends

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

I am back. I hope you were able to glean some useful information or tips from last month’s recommendations. If there is a particular subject or social media platform you want to learn more about, please let me know. Now onto this month’s roundup…

Before reading anything about content – check out GSBA’s Tech Tuesday this week on this very subject. A great way to learn about a topic in an intimate setting. This week’s topic: Content Marketing.

5 Tricks to Producing Quality Content

Social Media
4 Tools to Help Find Where People Are Talking About Your Business Online

5 Ways Social-Media Marketers Get Their Message Heard

How to Measure Social Media ROI

Facebook Paper: Is It the Next Big Thing in Social/Mobile?

The New Facebook Ad Campaign Structure: Here is What You Need to Know

 Top 10 Things to Measure in Google Analytics

7 Time Management Tips for the Digital Age

5 Ways to Keep Email From Taking Over Your Life

Friday, March 28, 2014

Scholar Spotlight: Beyond the Finish Line with Darlene Palmer

A GSBA Scholar since 2010, we’ve seen Darlene Palmer overcome many obstacles. As a single-mother working to make ends meet while working towards her degree and facing numerous health challenges, Darlene has successfully managed to it all with grace and perseverance. Beyond perseverance, comes inspiration and drive. Darlene has spent the last year proving that she is strong, passionate and as fiery as they come.

Let’s go back to March 2011. Darlene had already received her first GSBA Scholarship and was doing well at Spokane Falls Community College. However, she soon found herself in an unthinkable position. Darlene had to undergo a complete knee reconstruction, which left her unable to walk for over 2 months. Determined to continue her education, she made it to Seattle for her scholarship interview in a wheelchair. Fortunately for Darlene, she was awarded a second GSBA Scholarship and began the process of rehabilitation. Finally after two long months of grueling physical therapy, she took her first steps. The pain she felt was excruciating, but she knew she needed to relearn to walk. She said, “I wanted to walk. I NEEDED to walk. I knew running would not be something I could try for at least 6 months, and really, I was perfectly fine with that. I just wanted to be functional again. I wanted to walk, step off a curb, climb stairs, stand in the shower, and be fully functional on my own.”

And that she did. Darlene stepped off that curb and walked, and walked, and walked… In fact, she’s addicted to walking. What started as 5Ks quickly turned into half marathons. Fast-forward to September 2013. On a whim, and with encouragement from her best friend, she signed up for her first half-marathon with only weeks to train. She knows it sounds crazy, she didn’t even have proper shoes but she did it, in Keen sandals. She walked. 13.1 miles and each step was a victory worth celebrating.

She continued to walk. Just 3 months after her first half and surgery to remove her gallbladder, she not only completed the Seattle Half Marathon in December, but also shaved an hour off of her previous time. The pride she felt was overwhelming. Through the pain of blisters, she pushed through and received her second half-marathon medal.

All this walking had her thinking about her upcoming birthday. She knew what she had to do—a third half-marathon. Darlene thought what a better way to celebrate her birthday than by signing up for the Phoenix Half Marathon. As she prepared for this race, just as in the times before she faced an obstacle. This time it was kidney stones. Again she endured pain and a hospital stay, but remained focused.

This race was different. For her, as a Hispanic, lesbian woman, it was political. Arizona has been known to have tough immigration laws and a government that nearly passed a legal LGBT discrimination bill. So as Darlene prepared for her birthday race, she declared, “I will do it as a minority in a state who can racially profile me and demand I prove my citizenship status. I will do it for people who are not able to walk out their door and feel safe from discrimination. I will do it without hiding any part of who I am, as that is what makes me great!”

And by now you know how the story goes. Darlene crushed the Phoenix Half Marathon and did so while wearing the Rainbow Flag. She said, “I will not be put back in the closet, but I will walk out and proud for all those in Arizona and elsewhere who were not able to be out.”

Darlene has set and exceeded her goals each time. She has already signed up for her next half and has big plans to continue on her path of physical fitness. Darlene is studying Human Development at Washington State University and will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in May 2015. In addition to school, she works as an in-home caretaker for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s and stays busy raising her 11-year old daughter and 9-year old stepdaughter.

To follow continue on this walking journey with Darlene, you can visit her blog of inspiration at

Thursday, March 27, 2014

GSBA’s first Corporate Advisory Board Created

by Louise Chernin, GSBA President & CEO

GSBA is proud to announce the creation of our first-ever, Corporate Advisory Board (CAB). The CAB was formed to bring our corporate members together to discuss and align on several topics that impact our corporate partners and members.

As a chamber, GSBA’s core membership continues to be our small business members. Our 26-member Board of Directors includes 16 small business owners, two public employees, four independent agents of larger companies and four employees of large corporations. Clearly, the leadership of GSBA continues to strongly represent the interests and concerns of small businesses. However as larger companies engage with GSBA, how do we leverage those relationships to increase value for all members?  GSBA’s work with corporate partners offers us the opportunity to talk about workplace culture for LGBT employees. Our relationship provides LGBT employees opportunities to volunteer and attend events within their community. GSBA encourages corporations to work with each other and our small businesses. One major focus is for our corporate members to learn about and support the GSBA Scholarship Fund.  Is there potential for named scholarships, internship or mentorship opportunities? 

We are delighted that the Chair of our new Corporate Advisory Board is former Board member, Mitch Evans, Regional Manager, Starbucks.  Mitch is proud to welcome the following founding members of the GSBA’s first-ever Corporate Advisory Board:

Joe Adams, CEO, 1st Security Bank
Desi Bailey, Chief of Staff, Group Health 
Karen Bryant, CEO, Seattle Storm 
Louise Chernin, CEO, GSBA
Martha Davis, Owner, City Lights Sign Company, GSBA Board Chair
Gladys Gillis, CEO, Starline Transportation
Ada Healy, Vice President, Vulcan Real Estate
Jonathan Hensley, President, Capital Benefit Services
Paul Hollie, Director of Safeco Foundation
Steve Kutz, Managing Director and Regional Executive, JPMorgan Private Banking
Gordon “Gordy” Prouty, Publisher, Puget Sound Business Journal
Mike Sebring, Senior Vice President & Regional Manager, Union Bank
Kevin Spratt, President, Precision Garage Door
Jeff Wolf, Member Attorney, Williams Kastner

Linking small businesses and our nonprofit members to our corporate members demonstrates GSBA’s commitment to create community through business connections. We are in the process of assembling a Small Business Advisory Board as well as a Tourism Advisory Board - stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WBA Conference Post-Game. We Won!

by Jerome Bader, Blue Guardrail; WBA 2014 Co-Chair

“Everything you do should move your mission forward.” 

Quoted from Louise Chernin during the 2014 Western Business Alliance Conference that Seattle hosted last weekend, this statement became the pseudo mantra for more than 50 leaders that visited Seattle to learn, build relationships, network and enjoy Seattle hospitality from a very GSBA point of view. Chambers from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Texas and California inspired three wonderful and exhausting days of invigorating conversation, engaging presentations and friendship building. Many times I was awestruck by these amazing people knowing that they represent thousands of local businesses, jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact. Many of these talented individuals work tirelessly as either full-time volunteers, part-time staff or some combination and do this work because they are passionate about equality and making their communities smarter, better and more prosperous.

Sally Clark: engaging your elected officials
Our days were spent in dialogue around public policy, marketing, tourism, membership, board development, supplier diversity and so much more. We invited local experts such as John Rubino and Lynn Parker from GreenRubino, Seattle Councilmember Sally Clark and Michael Mattmiller from Out & Equal as guest speakers. 

We engaged the incredible wealth of knowledge from GSBA staff members Rachael Brister, Matt Landers, Scott Walden, and of course Louise Chernin who literally wrote the book on LGBT Chambers of Commerce. I HAVE to shout-OUT to Mona Smith who not only co-chaired the conference but lead the charge for our public policy discussions…and can I just say, Mona rocks! We also engaged superstar GSBA members like Rene Neidhart (Seattle Renaissance Hotel),  Kirsten Weiss (SAFECO Insurance), David Hernandez (New York Life), Drew Ness (1stSecurity Bank) and Jenny Harding (New Chapter Weddings & Events).  

Panel on how to build relationships with sponsors
We had speakers from all over the West such as Lance Kissler of the INBA in Spokane, Matt Skallerud from Pink Banana Media and Jimmy Flannigan who is now running for Austin City Council. Michael Sestak and Paul Weubbe from SRCC (Sacramento), Jason Holstein from GGBA (San Francisco) and Michelle Burkart from GSDBA (San Diego) as well as Laura Lara from LBGLC (Long Beach) and Marquita Thomas from LAGLCC (Los Angeles).

Our evening events didn’t give anyone a chance to sit still. Packed with wonderful bites, great wine and over-the-top atmosphere our generous GSBA members pulled out all the stops! Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and Tom Norwalk President of VisitSeattle all stopped by to make our WBA friends feel right at home. A HUGE and special thanks goes to Seattle Renaissance Hotel, 1st Security Bank Different, the very cool TRACE @ The W Hotel, Sazerac and Poquitos as well as New Chapter Weddings for the champagne and strawberries and of course, the Seattle SpaceNeedle for our closing brunch.  

We left the conference energized for the future and inspired by each other. We left knowing that as an alliance we are stronger together and that none of us are alone in this. 
Reception at the Seattle LGBT Visitors Center & 1st Security Bank Different