NBIC Unity Week: Approaching DEI through an Intersectional Lens

By Sarah Jester

This fall, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), in partnership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), is set to host the second annual NBIC Unity Week in Washington, DC. Uniting the nation’s leading business diversity organizations, including NBIC hosting members Disability:IN, NMSDC, NaVOBA, USBC, USHCC, USPAAC, WEConnect International, and WBENC, Unity Week is a celebration of diversity, opportunity, equity, and intersectional collaboration. Unity Week brings together LGBT and allied leaders to celebrate successes and continue to build strong and prosperous business programs.

Over the last several years, the theme of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been brought to the forefront of the public consciousness through social justice movements and grassroots organizing efforts. Since then, many companies and organizations have scrambled to hastily implement DEI programs and initiatives, leaving too many stones unturned in the process. So what sets events like Unity Week apart from the rest? A longtime commitment to DEI and intersectionality lies at the heart of the weeklong celebration, spearheaded by the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC).

With over a decade of experience advocating for marginalized small business owners, the NBIC is a coalition of the nation’s leading diverse business organizations. Together, the organizations that make up NBIC represent the business interests of a diverse range of entrepreneurs, including people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, ethnic minorities, disabled individuals, veterans, and more. Through its partnerships, NBIC encourages parity in cross-segment DEI initiatives in corporate and federal America, and advocates for policies that support the growth of diverse-owned businesses.

The NBIC recognizes that DEI initiatives have not evolved enough to meet the world where it is. To date, DEI standards often fail to consider intersectionality in practice. Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality is the interconnected way in which identities of disadvantaged groups (gender, sexuality, race, socioeconomic class, etc.) overlap to create unique instances and experiences of oppression. Many DEI standards do not recognize the difference between diversity and intersectionality, disregarding the latter. Merely hosting a multitude of diverse identities in one place is not fully beneficial unless a deep understanding of those identities and their intersections is cultivated through educational opportunities and initiatives like Unity Week.

Unity Week plans to highlight, uplift, and provide education around the many intersections that exist within the diverse business community. Attendees will receive access to exclusive dayside programming focused on building unprecedented success for diverse communities in the United States and around the globe. Unity Week will host a series of informative panels, collaborative workshops, educational sessions, film screenings, and other specialized corporate and supplier programming throughout the week. 

Unity Week programming will include the signature celebration for the NBIC Best-of-the-Best Corporations for Inclusion. The annual Best-of-the-Best event recognizes outstanding achievement in promoting cross-segment diversity and inclusion. Only companies achieving industry-leading results across all diverse segments are eligible to receive the prestigious Best-of-the-Best designation from the National Business Inclusion Consortium. Best-of-the-Best includes a robust day of meetings, roundtables and networking sessions with public and private leaders in the diversity and inclusion space culminating with a black-tie awards gala. Additionally, a federal policy roundtable will bring together corporations and small business interests with members of Congress to identify common-sense solutions on key federal policy priorities. Fortune 1000 corporations with outstanding diversity and inclusion policies and practices are eligible to be considered a Best-of-the-Best Company.

Unity Week will culminate with the annual NGLCC National Dinner at the National Building Museum on the evening of November 18, 2022. The National Dinner is aimed at uplifting and honoring those who have committed themselves to the best practice of supplier diversity, intersectionality, and LGBT inclusion in the workplace, in the community, and especially in the supply chain. 

It is time for the private and public sector to pledge to do more than just tick off a box each year when it comes to supporting the diverse business communities represented at Unity Week. Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives must be approached and applied through an intersectional lens in order to make a true difference in the business world and beyond. As NGLCC gears up for Unity Week, we are excited to put this perspective into practice – especially since the LGBTQ+ business community contains intersections from every diverse identity in existence. 


Interested in attending Unity Week? Click here to sign up to be among the first to receive registration information for NBIC Unity Week and Best of the Best Awards, as well as the NGLCC 20th Anniversary Awards Gala and Related Programming!

Learn more about NGLCC at nglcc.org.


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