BlueprintNYC is a full-service events and communications company that specializes in audience engagement with unbridled creativity, relentless drive and years of experience.
We interviewed the managing partners at the company: DJ Hanson and John Sideris.
Please tell us about your business, its mission and values and what kind of problem you are helping your customers solve.
BlueprintNYC is a full-service events and communications company that specializes in audience engagement. We help our clients connect with their employees and customers by producing engaging and innovative experiences through live meetings and events, cutting edge training, and internal communications.
Why did you decide to create BlueprintNYC?
Bringing all these different areas under one company enabled us to bring more value to our clients and really upped the creativity we brought to the table because we had strategy, creative and execution all under one roof.
Do you have any specific policies in place that benefit the LGBT Community?
As a small business, our approach to recruiting and retaining talent is one way we support the LGBT community. A good portion of our team members are with us as a result of our internal team’s personal network. The second way is through a community focus. For years, we have been doing pro-bono work for organizations like TAG (Treatment Action Group), and this year we formalized our employee efforts through our Give Back program. We host 2 company-wide volunteer days, 4 volunteer socials, and 2 paid days off which enables our people to support an organization that’s near and dear to their heart. For many of our team members this includes supporting national and local LGBT initiatives.
Do you have any specific policies in place regarding workplace equality?
First and foremost is diversity of thought and experience – we have people on our team who have grown up in this industry, and people who spent years doing something completely different. We strive for a mix of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, but what’s most important to us is fit with our culture. We look for people with drive, a desire to learn and contribute, and those who are self-motivated.
How did you hear about the GGBA and why did you decide to join?
We are a Bi-Coastal office. Our East coast office joined the local New York City about two years ago, which is around the time we had created our West coast office. In New York, we’ve been able to connect with 30+ different businesses each quarter through things like social events, biz pitch forums, and direct access to the local chapter director.
As we started to build our team base on the West coast and began to see the value in the local connections we were making with the New York chapter, we realized we need to get engaged with the GBBA! It is uplifting to surround yourself with other businesses that nurture and grow the culture and community you live in.
You are an LGBTBE certified business, how has the certification helped your business?
Completing our certification with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce enabled us to approach companies in a new way in regard to supplier diversity and accelerated our ability to connect with procurement in companies where we had no connections. It’s also helped us connect with other LGBT business owners and identity ways we can support each other.
What has been your biggest reward during your journey as an entrepreneur? And your biggest disappointment or nerve wracking situation?
One of the biggest rewards has been building our amazing team! We bring in people with different backgrounds, so our team members have worked in theatre, television, healthcare, food & beverage, financial services,…they bring a unique perspective from their experiences and help us look at our client’s needs from multiple angles…which make us a better partner. We started out as 5 people, and here we are six years later with nearly 40 people on our team!
The nerve wracking part is keeping the balance between what we need for our business today, and what we will need for the future. We love the work we do and we love our clients, but all good businesses know how to be thinking about “what’s next and how do we get there” in order to stay ahead of the competition.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
Pick something you are passionate about and create the vision. Starting your own business is hard, so you will need people around you who believe in you and challenge you. Being able to share your vision and how it fills a gap for something that is ‘missing today,’ helps you pull together the right confidants, colleagues and potential investors to make your passion come to life.