By Joe Woolley
The 2019 Legislative Session — A “Slate of Hate”
The legislature has wrapped up and gone home. This was a very tough session. We want to thank our allies and partners, the Tennessee Equality Project, Human Rights Commission Nashville, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Freedom for all Americans. We started the session with over 10 anti-LGBT bills filed, which we called the “slate of hate.”
From a bathroom bill and a license to discriminate to an anti-adoption bill and so many more, it took the work of all of us and the actions of many volunteers to keep Tennessee welcoming and open for everyone. The chamber focused on the economic impact we would face as a state if discriminatory legislation passed and we talked about the need for a welcoming state for companies to attract and retain the most talented workforce. The session is over, but we are already gearing up for next year.
LGBT Certified Businesses
We have been busy certifying over 30 LGBT and ally owned businesses to become nationally- certified LGBT Business Enterprises. Once certified, we help members get the most of their certification by doing business with organizations that recognize that certification and have supplier diversity spend. Metro Nashville recognizes LGBTBEs so when the NFL draft came to town, these businesses were given a chance to compete for part of the spend.
The draft was an incredible success and we had 23 businesses selected to do business with the NFL. We are now working on getting more organizations to recognize LGBTBEs like the airport, convention center and Metro schools. Certification is a great way to level the playing field for LGBT businesses through the procurement process.
Certification is normally $400 but waived if you are a Chamber member. Reach out to us if you have any questions about getting your business LGBT certified.
Excellence In Business Awards
We celebrate the winners of our 2019 Excellence in Business Awards. The JW Marriott hosted us and we had 400 in attendance. Take a look at our website to view all the winners and the nominees. Thanks to all the sponsors of the event including our Title sponsors: Curb Records and HCA, and our Award sponsors: AllianceBernstein, Asurion, Dell, and Waller.
Membership Campaign — Hospitality and Tourism
This May and June, the Chamber is driving new membership with businesses who welcome and entertain the community — think restaurants, museums, tour companies, musical venues. We have partnered with the Convention and Visitors Corporation to get our directory listed as the place to go to look for LGBT owned and friendly businesses. You’ll want to be listed so tourists can find you. Visit our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about joining.
You know it’s an LGBT+ friendly business and they are members of the Chamber by looking for the new Membership Sticker! Over 350 stickers went out in the mail and you will see them all around town at our member businesses. You know by seeing that sticker that you are spending your money with a business that supports equality!
Brewing Up Business
Our monthly networking mixer on the third Thursday of every month continues to grow bigger and bigger. We are averaging over 100 people every month and a quarter of them are new or first-time attendees. Brewing Up Business is the most fun and professional way to network, find friends, do business, and see cool spaces.
In May, we are at a corporate members location and June is going to be huge as we are going to be celebrating PRIDE with our fellow minority chambers and the Metro Business Development Office.
Happy 2019 Pride! We hope you celebrate and are proud! If you attend the Nashville Pride Festival, please stop by and see us at our booth and play our member scavenger hunt to win some incredible prizes.
I hope to see you at one, if not all, the opportunities that I just mentioned. The Chamber is here for you and we look forward to continuing to work for our members. Join us!