By Gina Grahame
In the 2016 summer Olympics, Japan stunned the world by beating Team USA and winning the 400-meter relay. Not a single man on Japan’s second place team made an individual sprint final at the Olympics. By contrast, Team USA, with the strongest individual runners, was considered to be a shoe-in. How did Japan win? What was the difference?
They mastered the handoff; the seamless passing of the baton from one runner to the next.
It is now September; my term as President of the GGBA is coming to a close and I happily prepare to hand the baton to Michael Gunther, President-elect. Many of you know Michael from his work on the Board over the past three years, or perhaps through his company, Collaboration Business Consulting, now celebrating 26 years in business.
Michael is joined in leadership by his Executive Committee comprised of long-term, devoted, LGBTQ+ & allied talent in Dr. Krystal Drwencke as Vice-President, Tony Archuleta-Perkins as Treasurer, and Olga Garcia of CG Moving Company as Secretary. While I am stepping down, I am not stepping away and will remain on the Board as Past-President.
Michael will lead an exceptionally talented Board of Directors that now, I am happy to say, includes two new members: Luis A. Zamora and Andrea Stamps.
Luis A. Zamora, Chair of Public Policy, has a long history of devotion to public service to the LGBTQ+ community and San Francisco. He is the Ex-Officio Member to the California Democratic Party, Rules Committee, and is Co-President of the San Francisco Young Democrats. Luis has also served on the Board of Directors of the Spectra Project and was a Fellow at the Victory Fund & Institute. Luis’ extensive knowledge of, and experience with, the “levers of government” will be a tremendous asset to the entire community and will elevate the Public Policy role to greater heights and success than ever before. We are honored to have him join our Board.
Andrea Stamps, Chair of Partnerships, comes to the GGBA after a career in fundraising, partnerships, and numerous Board positions as a representative of the Oakland Raiders and NFL Athletes. After retiring from the NFL, Andrea turned her focus to a personal passion: being a patient advocate in the palliative, hospice, and home healthcare space. There, she worked extensively with people across all demographics, including age, gender, and sexuality.
Andrea’s first introduction to the GGBA came as an attendee of Power Lunch 2020: “I was drawn by the diversity within the organization,” she says. “Experiencing a platform that allowed everyone to share their true self, both organically and professionally, was so moving. After hearing the unanimous amazing reviews of current and former members, I knew GGBA was an organization I wanted to be part of.”
Andrea’s commitment to being part of a team, to excellence, to leadership, and to the service of others evidences the special qualities that will benefit the GGBA and the Bay Area LGBTQ+ business community.
2020 is, and has been, a challenging year for all of us and I’m proud of the work GGBA has done to help serve our members and community. When COVID-19 hit, we acted quicky to:
- Place our programming and networking into the virtual realm;
- Initiate a stay on renewal dues for all members who need one for the remainder of 2020;
- Launch and graduate two cohorts of our new “High Performance Accelerator Program,” dedicated to helping members to become better CEOs. This nine-week program teaches business owners to effectively evaluate, strategize, and to pivot when necessary to maintain and grow their business. This program, overseen by the GGBA Foundation, has been 3 years in the making and was sponsored by Wells Fargo, Granite Solutions Groupe, and Moody’s Analytics. These sponsorships also eliminate the attendee cost, making the program reachable to every business owner in the GGBA;
- Continue to attract new members, and actually have grown the Chamber by nearly 10% since January.
Serving as President has been a true honor. I treasure each of you, and each interaction we have shared.
Michael, the baton is yours.
Gina Grahame is the President of GGBA. She is also the Founder/CEO of the Grahame Institute of Strategic Communication, which offers virtual and live training to help high-performing professionals to be more influential communicators. https://www.thegisc.com/