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|