By Sarah Jester
During the first week of August, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs & allies, corporate supplier diversity leaders, and business experts gathered at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in sunny Las Vegas for the 2022 International Business & Leadership Conference. Convening for the first time since 2019, #NGLCC22 remains the largest LGBT business event on the planet! Nearly 1,500 attendees participated in a wide variety of panels, workshops, and plenaries geared at developing, empowering, and amplifying LGBT businesses across the world.
On August 2, Conference’s pre-programming kicked off with a series of sessions aimed at preparing corporate representatives, affiliate chamber leaders, and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs for the week ahead. Business owners focused on supercharging their communication & storytelling skills in workshops presented by Cox Communications, while Affiliate Chamber Academy and Chamber Leadership Development Program sessions provided affiliate leaders with a roadmap for LGBTBE certification guidance, budgeting, and communication planning. Several corporate & industry-specific cluster sessions also took place, allowing industry experts to gather, network, and learn more about potential partnerships. Attendees closed out Night One with a series of cocktail hours to choose from, and an opulent Welcome Reception at the Paris Hotel Champagne Ballroom.
Conference participants rose bright and early the next morning for the first of the daily Corporate/Supplier Walk & Talks. Designed to connect LGBTBEs with each other and corporate buyers, participants chatted about potential business opportunities, sought business advice, and connected with fellow members of the LGBT business community. Attendees then made their way to the Bellagio’s Tower Ballroom for the first of several exclusive plenaries – a conversation with NGLCC’s 2022 NGLCC Role Model Awardee and Jeopardy! Champion, Amy Schneider. Winner of 40 consecutive Jeopardy! games, Schneider became an overnight phenom & transgender icon across the nation. “Visibility changes hearts and minds,” Schneider told the audience.
After breaking for a series of sessions covering DEI, ESG, and other industry clusters, attendees returned for a luncheon plenary featuring a keynote from Mark Bertolini, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Bridgewater Associates, Former CEO & Chairman of Aetna, and NGLCC Board Member; as well as a conversation with renowned business expert Robert Herjavec of Shark Tank, recipient of the 2022 NGLCC Champion of Enterprise Award. “You have to accept failure and loss as a necessary stepping stone to success, and you have to keep going,” Herjavec shared.
The NGLCC community returned to a series of breakout sessions following the plenary. As part of the NGLCC x Absolut Out & Open Initiative, many attendees took part in succession training in order to ensure the future of LGBT-owned businesses. Other sessions included XLR8 programming, the TGX Initiative’s Elevating your Impact Through Authentic Leadership workshop, iLead breakouts, Affiliate Chamber Academy programming, and other industry cluster sessions. Day 2 of Conference closed out with a series of group receptions, and the Opening Reception, which was presented by Sony in partnership with Freshwata and WBENC.
Day 3 of Conference opened with an inspiring plenary session with Peloton fitness instructor and Founder & CEO of Love Squad, Ally Love. Love set the tone for an exciting and energetic day ahead, full of networking and new connections being formulated at the official at the 2022 Marketplace Expo and Matchmaker sessions, a unique opportunity to bring NGLCC Corporate Buyers looking to connect with NGLCC Certified LGBTBE® suppliers in all industries for 15 min 1:1 intro discussions.
A panel of industry experts kicked off afternoon programming with a Luncheon Plenary titled In the Spotlight: Seizing Opportunities in Construction and Related Services. Matchmakers, Marketplace Expo, and national & international affiliate programming all continued throughout the afternoon, culminating in the vibrant Thursday Night Party hosted at Hakkasan Nightclub – MGM Grand.
On the last day of Conference, attendees took part in closing breakout sessions, business development programming, and B2B Matchmakers prior to the Closing Champagne Awards Brunch. Moderator Jennifer Brown hosted an all-star panel of out & allied senior executives for a candid conversation about business and personal storytelling.
As Conference came to a close, the NGLCC team and stakeholders presented the following awards:
LGBTBE Legacy Award: Tom Roth, Community Marketing Inc.
Supplier Diversity Champion of the Year: Gulf South Chamber
Rising Star Chamber: Desert Business Association
CoCi Excellence Award: Roxanna Daniel, President of LGBTBE Taj Development
TGX Excellence Award: Ashley Brundage, Founder and President of LGBTBE Empowering Differences
Global Affiliate Rising Star: Out Britain
Mentee of the Year: Denise Merritt, Merritt Business Solutions, LGBTBE | Mentor of the Year: Debra Quade, Kellogg’s
NGLCC Corporate Partners Legacy Award: Wells Fargo
Co-Founder Award: Pepper Mashay
#NGLCC22 may have concluded in Vegas, but we’re already looking forward to #NGLCC23. It’s time to find out where the largest LGBT business event on the planet will convene on August 14, 2023! Watch our special announcement below:
Visit nglcc.org to learn more about how you can join our thriving LGBT business community!