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, October 30, 2014

GSBA Meets with Congressman Adam Smith

On October 20 GSBA members from the 9th congressional district met with Representative Adam Smith at the offices of the Northwest Network of BTLG Survivors of Abuse.

The group discussed the frustrating lack of progress on a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the problematically broad religious exemptions within the current version. Rep. Smith admitted that the issue was not being addressed by this Congress, but that there was “no place for religious exemptions” in the bill. He agreed that taking people out of the job pool hurts our whole society, adding that “The strongest societies are those that discriminate the least.”

GSBA President & CEO Louise Chernin urged the Congressman to be wary of the increasing attempts by conservative groups and legislators to pass further so-called religious exemptions laws that would allow them to circumvent existing anti-discrimination bills. Monisha Harrell of Equal Rights Washington added that the religious exemptions clauses were of concern to many groups beyond the LGBT community, including women, racial minorities, and people who are divorced, among many others. Congressman Smith agreed and described them an example of religious fanaticism here in the United States. He stated that he wants "to be a voice where it is still needed, as much for healthcare as for gay rights,” listing areas that needed more attention, including equality and protection for the transgender community. He specifically mentioned the need to address wrongful discharges of transgender people serving in the military and continuing benefit inequities.

With the recent example of California’s opening of the utility contracts process to LGBT-certified businesses, George Pieper of Out Front Office Solutions informed the group and the Congressman about the need to proactively advocate for LGBT inclusion in minority contacting fairs and decisions.

Our hosts at the Northwest Network celebrated the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which was the very first federal protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. They asked how we could build on that hard-fought success and extend it. The Congressman congratulated the group for effective advocacy in recent year, but again acknowledged that the party in control of the House of Representatives does not take up any legislation that they do not want to take up, meaning that probably there is little effective advocacy to be done on LGBT issues in the next term.

However, Rep. Smith urged the whole group to think long term, especially about how we address the critical issue of people being turned off government and civic engagement. He asked how progressives in general can prove once again that government does and can do good, as well as a broader narrative of what progressive politics are and how they can build a more just society. As always, advocates need to identify constituents of legislators who need to be convinced and have them share their personal stories.

You can find more information about Congressman Smith and contact his office here. He is the Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Committee.

Getting Married, Giving Back

Supporting LGBTQ nonprofits through local wedding registry
by Gina Grappone

Puzzles, books, Legos, art supplies, backpacks and socks. What do all these things have in common? They are on Bret Tiderman and Kevin Moser’s wedding registry.

When they got engaged on Christmas Eve last year, Bret and Kevin knew that their wedding was an opportunity to give back to the community that supported them as they built their life together in Seattle. Since moving here in 2004, both men have been involved in various LGBTQ organizations, including the GSBA, Lifelong care teams, and the Human Rights Campaign. As they met and fell in love, this work became even more important to them as a couple. 

In planning their December, 2014 wedding, Bret and Kevin thought their gift registry would be the perfect vehicle for sharing what’s important to them and giving back to their community. When they learned about the local gift registry website, a GSBA member business, a light bulb went off. Bret and Kevin created an entirely charitable registry. It’s filled with nonprofit donations, as well as physical items requested by the organizations. "We loved the idea of giving resources to the organizations that matter to us, while at the same time bringing sales to local, independent businesses in Seattle. It's a win-win for everybody involved."

GSBA partner organizations Lambert House and Lifelong are among the beneficiaries of this unique registry. The GSBA Scholarship Fund is also on Nearby.

“I’m so moved at the complex situations LGBTQ youth face on a daily basis,” Bret says. “They are at such high risk, and deserve every fighting chance at having a safe place to go and people to care about them, even if it's not their own families. The staff and volunteers of Lambert House do everything they can to provide that, and I believe in what they do.” The books, journals, art supplies, CDs and book bags from Bret and Kevin’s will all go to Lambert House.

Kevin describes their support for Lifelong, an organization that not only provides support and essentials for members of the community already affected by HIV/AIDS, “but works equally as hard to create awareness and move us towards an end to the epidemic. Those types of goals are not achievable without a lot of help. Our wedding registry is just one way for us to support the effort." Socks for the youth sock drive and household supplies are on the gift list for Lifelong.

The day after Bret and Kevin take their vows, they’ll sit among family and friends and open all their gifts. Later, they’ll head to Lifelong and Lambert House, armed with piles of books, CD’s, art supplies and socks—and the love and generosity of an entire community.

For more information about creating a local registry or wishlist, or becoming a participating business or nonprofit on NEARBY, contact Gina Grappone at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why ‘Out’ Judges Matter

by Jason Burns, Political Director – Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

At the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, we work to elect openly LGBT leaders to public office at all levels because we believe that authentic representation is crucial to ensuring that our community’s voice is heard. We are of the belief that our government should resemble the diversity of our country, and the judicial branch, where judges rule on cases impacting LGBT Americans on an almost weekly basis, is no exception.

The judiciary rules on issues that affect all members of society which means diversity in representation becomes even more important. If the diversity of the nation or a community is not reflected in its judiciary, our legal system is weakened.

LGBT Americans have been affected greatly by recent rulings coming down from our nation’s court systems. Since the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June of 2013, state bans on marriage equality have been falling on what seems to be a weekly basis. Last week the Supreme Court declined to hear any of the marriage cases before them, and as a result our country took another step towards fairness and equality. These important victories in court rooms across the country would not be possible without strong genuine representation within the judiciary.

(L-R) Justice Mary Yu, Judge Janet Garrow, Judge Johanna Bender
In Washington State this year, races like those of out candidates Mary Yu, Janet Garrow, and Johanna Bender provide opportunities to bolster LGBT representation in the Evergreen State. Justice Mary Yu has served on the Washington State Supreme Court since May of this year, when Governor Jay Inslee appointed her to the position. In addition to becoming the first openly LGBT member of the state’s highest court, Yu is also the first Latina and Asian-American to serve. Prior to her current position, Yu served as a trial court judge in King County Superior Court for 14 years, where she led the Minority and Justice Commission, tasked with eliminating bias in the court system.  On December 9, 2012, Yu became the first Justice to perform a same-sex marriage in Washington State following the successful passage of Referendum 74 in November of 2012.

The importance of races like Yu’s is all the more apparent when the judiciary is called on to decide on matters of equality. Rarely has an electorate ever voted to grant more rights to any minority. It is with the elections of candidates like Yu, Garrow, and Bender that the LGBT community can be guaranteed real representation and an authentic voice in the decisions impacting our lives.

The Victory Fund is a member of the GSBA and is a non-partisan organization that endorses and supports LGBT candidates for office.  Jason Burns’ article expresses the opinions and viewpoints of the Victory Fund.  The GSBA does not endorse candidates for office

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Announcing the GSBA Small Business Council

Last month, fourteen small business leaders, led by Board Chair, Martha Davis, gathered at Utina Wardroom to kick off the GSBA Small Business Council. Everyone touts the important role small businesses play in keeping that economic engine turning, yet small business have always faced huge challenges not often faced by large corporations. These challenges are compounded further by the growing complexity of new city regulations which small businesses must address under initiatives passed in the city of Seattle in the last few years. This is not about the politics of the initiatives and it is not about being for or against a new regulation or law. Rather, the challenge is how, as a small business, often without an HR or finance department, can one develop the capacity to comply with new rules, regulations and mandates.  

To address these new challenges as well to ensure our small business members are getting the support they need to market their business and gain the skills they need to succeed, GSBA has created a dedicated Council made up of small business leaders. GSBA’s Small Business Council will provide GSBA with the insight into the issues faced by small businesses as well as the opportunities that GSBA should be providing to our small business members that would be most helpful. The Small Business Council will meet bi-monthly and welcomes your input on issues you face as a small business owner.

Challenges already identified by the Small Business Council include:
  • Attracting new clients
  • Need for business attorney
  • Financial literacy
  • Lack of finances
  • Retail specific issues
  • Handling Growth
  • Lack of Time
  • Talking through a problem with a colleague
  • Identifying your correct demographic
  • Managing growth
  • Resources for infrastructure
  • Saying no
  • Finding a building to lease
  • Finding and retaining good staff
  • Social media training

 To address these and other pressing issues, GSBA is proud to announce the founding members of the GSBA Small Business Council:

Eli Allision, Repair Revolution
Martha Davis, City Lights Sign Company
Joe Fugere, Tutta Bella
Susan Fuller, Attorney At Law
Lendy Hensley, City Catering
Bobbie Lyons, Genworth
Christiana Maia, Trilogy Chiropractic
Dani Cone, Fuel, High Five Pie, Cone & Steiner
Diane Coyne, Picket Fence Real Estate
John Rubino, Green Rubino
Sally Schultz, Sally Schultz Co, Commercial Mortgage
Karyn Schwartz, SugarPill
Greg Serum, Your Man Friday
Paul Villa, Lobby Bar

Friday, September 26, 2014


by Rachael Brister

Instead of my usual round up of social media and business marketing related blog posts, tips and resources, I am dedicating this month’s column to an app I am smitten with.  Hyperlapse.

Hyperlapse is a video app created by Instagram. You can create amazing time lapse videos that look polished, professional and because of built-in stabilization, your resulting video will not be shaky or cause motion sickness when viewed. These types of videos were previously impossible to create without expensive equipment and bulky tripods. And you do not need an Instagram or Hyperlapse account, just a camera phone. Capture an entire sunrise in 10 seconds. Walk through the crowds at an all-day music festival, then distill it into a 30 second spot. Capture your bumpy trail run and share your 5k in 5 seconds.

There are also a lot of useful and fun applications of this app for your business:
  • Do you sell a product that requires instructions on how to assemble? Record the entire process with Hyperlapse.
  • Unbox your product piece by piece and record the process.
  • Show your customers and potential customers a behind the scenes look at your workplace.
  • Have your audience compete in a contest using Hyperlapse.
  • Record each member of your staff saying a greeting or just waving to the camera and string them all together.
  • If your business is food-related, record the chef cooking, the bartender mixing a drink, stocking your shelves or just a bustling day of servers, customers, etc.

Most of all, have fun!

Here are a few resources that include more great ideas on using Hyperlapse for your business.

It is currently only available for the iPhone and iPad, but Instagram is now available iOs, Android and Windows Phone, so I am hoping Hyperlapse is soon to follow. 

Diversity Career Fair A Big Success

Career Fairs are a risky business, but GSBA’s first-ever Diversity Career Fair was a resounding success by all measurements. On August 15, 2014, GSBA’s Young Professionals with Pride (YPP) group produced a Diversity Career Fair hosted by CityUniversity of Seattle at their South Lake Union campus. Spearheaded by GSBA Office & Events Coordinator Randy Bowren, the YPP group saw an opportunity to connect the area’s employers with qualified candidates of all backgrounds. The event was generously sponsored by CityUniversity of Seattle, Centerpoint Institute and Regence.

Twenty-seven employers participated, over 170 resumes were submitted and one hundred job seekers (many of whom self-identified as LGBTQ) visited throughout the day. Prior to the Career Fair, GSBA had heard from a number of employers that most career fairs are only for entry level positions, which are easier for employers to fill, which is why employers are hesitate to participate in Career Fairs. However, GSBA was delighted that both employers participating and job seekers in attendance, offered a wide range of opportunities for prospective employees at all levels. There were entry level sales positions, mid-level marketing positions and positions requiring graduate level degrees.

Job seekers felt comfortable with the inclusive environment and felt that the employers were very welcoming. The welcoming atmosphere promoted meaningful conversations with potential employers. YPP Task Force member and career coach Victor Ongpin helped reduce participants’ anxiety by providing one-on-one counseling before even walking through the doors. Within days of the Diversity Career Fair, at least five people had found jobs via the connections they made at the event.

One participant responded that “the GSBA YPP Career Fair was one of the best ones I have ever attended. I felt comfortable knowing it was a LGBT-focused career fair. All the staff members were very friendly and made me feel relaxed.  I felt the job fair was well organized, and most importantly, I found my new job there!” Another added that they felt safe dressing and being their true self in front of the group.

The employers, for their part, were very impressed with how prepared the candidates were. One employer enthusiastically responded that they “loved the minority focus and that people were comfortable at the Career Fair.” Aware of the demographic targets of the Diversity Career Fair, many of the employers embraced the theme in their marketing materials and presentations.

The YPP Task Force is already making plans to partner with CityUniversity of Seattle for next year’s career fair.  Start planning your participation now - whether as a sponsor, an employer or career candidate.  For more information on the 2015 Diversity Career Fair, please contact Randy Bowren at YPP is dedicated to providing Seattle's LGBT and allied young professionals unique and valuable opportunities to enhance personal and professional development through social, educational, and philanthropic activities.