GGBA Message from Leadership: Looking Back to Look Forward
By Michael Gunther
As another year comes to a close, I always find this to be a good time to reflect on the lessons learned and in order to begin charting the path for the coming year. As a member of the Board of Directors for the GGBA, it is always surprising to me what a committed group of volunteers can create to enhance the advocacy for LGBTQ businesses, as well as the community as a whole.
In fact, I am quite amazed at what the GGBA can accomplish in a year without any staff and with only a handful of contractors and volunteers. I have been on more than 10 nonprofit boards over the years that have the power of a paid staff to implement the programs that we create together. Simon Sinek stated, “A small team, committed to a cause bigger than themselves, can achieve absolutely anything,” and I believe this describes the GGBA.
Over the last 12 months, our volunteer GGBA Board of Directors created 12 monthly Make Contacts networking events with over 1000 attendees throughout the year. They generated opportunities for more than 30 LGBT certified businesses to “pitch” their products and services to organizations such as GAP, PG&E, AT&T, and Wells Fargo. Their Power Lunch program had over 400 attendees with speakers from the UN and Mexico to educate members on the work being done worldwide on behalf of LGBTQ individuals and businesses.
They also generated newsletters, introduced a New Member Orientation Program, and created a new Request for Proposal process for chamber vendors, while also updating the 45-year-old bylaws, advocating for LGBTQ businesses locally, state-wide, and nationally, and supporting numerous LGBTQ nonprofits through providing access to events, expos and donations. In addition, we added multiple new members and corporate sponsors in 2019.
As we look into a new year, the GGBA and the Board are looking forward to enhancing our monthly Make Contacts, creating new education opportunities, such as the High Performance Acceleration Program, continuing with our advocacy (especially with the Supreme Court determining if it is okay to fire LGBTQ individuals without cause), along with establishing new ways to engage and connect members with each other and with organizations that desire to grow their diverse supplier spend.
In addition, we want to encourage members to become volunteers to support our current and future activities this coming year. Whether you have a few hours a month or a few hours a quarter, your involvement matters and can have a huge impact on the success of our organization. Furthermore, for individuals who want to grow their leadership skills and impact the LGBTQ community, we invite you to join our active Board of Directors so that we can continue providing services and advocacy for our members and community.
Take some time this season to reflect on your own business’ 2019 accomplishments and lessons learned. Then, begin to identify the areas that you want to enhance or add to your business for 2020. I hope that your plans will include continued support of the GGBA, as well as committing some time to volunteering to our efforts to grow sustainable, profitable LGBTQ businesses and to build a stronger, supportive community. Cheers.
Michael Gunther is a Board Member of the Golden Gate Business Association and leads Collaboration Business Consulting, which is a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive individuals to build scalable, profitable businesses. For more information: https://collaboration-llc.com/michael-gunther/