Justin G. Nelson
Justin Nelson is the co-founder and president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He has used his background in small business and issues advocacy to help build a national organization that has given a much-needed economic identity to the LGBT community. Since its inception in 2002, the organization has grown to be the largest LGBT economic advocacy and business development organization in the world.
Prior to launching the NGLCC, Justin was the Director of Federal Affairs and External Relations for the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Washington, DC. While helping craft and implement the legislative agenda of one of the top medical specialty associations, Justin spent five years fighting for patient and physician rights before Congress, the White House and regulatory agencies. Justin was on the forefront of some of the most contentious healthcare debates in recent congressional memory. Justin worked to ensure equality and fairness in the healthcare system, making strides in areas such as helping to protect patients from managed care abuses under a Patient's Bill of Rights, leading the charge on passing landmark Medicare preventative healthcare legislation for seniors and lessening the administrative burdens for physician small businesses. During his tenure, the organization was named one of the top 100 lobbying organizations in Washington, DC by Forbes Magazine.
Prior to lobbying Congress and the White House, Justin spent five years as an aide in the United States Senate. During his time on Capitol Hill, Justin worked on issues ranging from small business, labor and trade, to healthcare, travel and tourism.
For their efforts in establishing the NGLCC, Justin and his co-founder were named in December 2002 to OUT Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Gay Success Stories. Justin was also named one of the 25 Leading Men of 2006 by Instinct Magazine. Most recently he was selected for SmartCEO Magazine’s 2012 Top 20 Leaders We Admire and the 2012 Global LGBT Power 100 from the Guardian Newspaper in Great Britain. In 2010 Justin received the Outstanding Collaborative Partner Award from the U.S. Business Leadership Network for his work on disability issues. He has served as a past volunteer coordinator for the Wyoming Special Olympics, a Capitol Hill Chair for the March of Dimes Walk America and he served on the advisory board for the First Wyoming Race for the Cure. Justin holds a BA in political science from the University of Wyoming.