ABOVE: NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan D. Lovitz (C) is joined by business and community leaders at 2018’s Philadelphia conference. Photo courtesy NGLCC.
TAMPA | The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce (TBDCC) will welcome the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to Tampa Aug. 13-16 for the largest gathering of LGBTQ business leaders and allies in the world.
The 2019 International Business & Leadership Conference is an annual conference presented by the NGLCC, the nation’s only organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for the LGBTQ business community. The TBDCC, one of the NGLCC’s 15 affiliate chambers, has served Tampa Bay for more than 35 years.
The 2018 NGLCC conference brought more than 1,200 business leaders to Philadelphia. According to the chamber, it created an economic impact on the region’s hospitality and tourism industry of roughly $3.6 million. NGLCC expects more participants this year and can foresee an even larger impact on Tampa Bay.
“We’re going to have folks from nearly 20 countries attending, representing almost 250 corporations, government agencies and nonprofits who are all seeking to do business with and for the LGBT community,” NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan D. Lovitz says. “There is no greater concentration of business development and networking for our community anywhere in the world. If you’re an LGBT business owner or work for a company that believes in the power of diversity for business, you have to be at this conference.”
Attendees will take partake in three days of meetings, seminars and events designed to generate business opportunities and build relationships. The 2019 conference will offer more than 50 innovative workshops led by leaders from around the world, from procurement and diversity leaders at some of the nation’s largest corporations to social media experts sharing the best practices to reach a crowded marketplace.
Keynote speakers include Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, entertainer Todrick Hall, New York Times bestselling author Sally Hogshead and Grammy Award nominee Deborah Cox. “The caliber of experts that you’ll hear from at the conference really can’t be beat,” Lovitz explains. “Our host chamber, the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce, is doing a fantastic job in helping us roll out the red carpet for the entire world’s LGBT business leaders to descend on Tampa.”
“This is the largest LGBT business conference event in the world,” TBDCC President Justice Gennari says. “That the NGLCC chose to come here because of Tampa’s economic empowerment and growth speaks volumes of Florida and we should all be proud. It’s our job to utilize this conference to put Tampa on the map as an LGBT organization; an inclusive city that welcomes everyone to work, live and play.”
The 2019 conference will officially begin with an opening reception at the Italian Club of Tampa, hosted by the TBDCC from Aug. 13 from 7-9 p.m. Gennari says the venue, which will highlight Tampa’s Cuban and Italian heritage, was chosen to present Tampa’s rich and diverse history to attendees. The evening will showcase the best in Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ and ally-owned businesses and resources.
“The chamber has come a long way in preparing for this conference,” Gennari says. “We’ve grown membership by more than 52%, have two signature events and have added six new programs. We’re just getting started.”
“We hope to demonstrate the importance of a city being open to the LGBT community, for our businesses, our conferences and our travel dollars,” Lovitz adds, “by demonstrating that they have our back for business and nondiscrimination policies that welcome and celebrate our community. Diversity is good for business—that’s the bottom line of everything we do with the NGLCC and we’re thrilled to see Tampa celebrating that alongside us.”
The 2019 NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference will be held Aug. 13-16 at the Tampa Convention Center. For more information, visit NGLCC.org/NGLCC19 and click here. For more information about the TBDCC and its opening reception, visit DiversityTampaBay.org and click here.