2022 Supplier of the Year Spotlight: AdNet/Account Net Inc.

By Sarah Jester 

“She is a champion for diversity and a healthy work-life within her company, as well as a champion for change in her community,” National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Director of Supplier Diversity, Alicia Greene, said onstage at the 2022 NGLCC National Dinner. “She’s a published author, mentor, and tireless fighter for change.” 

Inside the National Building Museum, hundreds of people rose to their feet to applaud as the 2022 Supplier of the Year Honoree, Betsy Cerulo, strode onstage to accept the award. As the founder of AdNet/Account Net Inc., Cerulo is a longtime NGLCC member and champion of the LGBTQ+ business community. 

“NGLCC is home for me,” she told the audience that night. “I am seen, heard and loved with every interaction, and that means more than you know from a woman who came out in 1982 when being called ‘queer’ was hurtful.”

Betsy Cerulo accepts the Supplier of the Year Award.

The LGBT Supplier of the Year Award recognizes an exemplary Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) for their outstanding contributions to the growth and development of LGBTQ and allied supplier diversity. In a world where professional staffing and executive search companies pop up nearly every other day, AdNet has stood apart from the pack in more ways than one thanks to Cerulo’s mindful and inclusive approach to doing business each day. 

“We approach all of our contracts from a coaching and consultative perspective and that allows us to keep retention really high,” she explained. “What happens with a lot of staffing companies is once people are placed, they’re forgotten about. So we do it differently. We stay in touch with people – we’re very diligent about that.”

Cerulo founded AdNet in 1990 and became a Certified LGBTBE® supplier in 2012. As an LGBTE and WBE certified firm – and as one of the first businesses to use both LGBT and WBE status qualifiers to obtain 8(a) status from the federal government – she understands the importance of diversity both inside and outside of the workplace.

“If we expect companies to recognize our LGBTE certification, we must walk our talk by propping up other LGBT owned businesses,” she explained. 

Cerulo has brought her business expertise to a variety of forums as the co-founder of the Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Launched in 2017, the Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce “empowers and promotes LGBT+ professionals and business owners in the Maryland marketplace through education, networking and advocacy.” Through this platform, Cerulo has helped bring LGBTBE inclusion to the City of Baltimore, Maryland’s Public Utilities, and is advocating to add LGBT businesses as certified diverse suppliers statewide in Maryland. 

As a founding board member of the newly incorporated Maryland LGBT Foundation, Cerulo also helps to “activate, educate, and mobilize” members of the LGBTQ+ community in Maryland to increase access to opportunities for wealth generation.

“The Foundation is in the process of designing a financial literacy program as our first initiative of 2023,” she said. “A lot of times when people hear the term ‘wealth,’ they think it’s only for the white guy in the ivory tower. We want to teach people from the ground up and catch them at a young age to help them obtain the finances to make their dreams happen – whether it’s for your family, building a business, financial security, or whatever it might be.”

Cerulo advises aspiring LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to reach out to business development organizations and local chambers of commerce for both community and support. 

“It’s okay not to have the answers – just go and ask the questions,” she explained. “f you get one person who doesn’t want to help, there’s always five more that do, so keep asking.”


Visit betsycerulo.com and adnetp3.com to learn more.

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