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 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

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