NBIC Unity Week 2022: Elevating DEI in the Business World

By Sarah Jester 

On the week of November 15, NGLCC, along with our partners in the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), hosted hundreds of diverse small business owners & entrepreneurs, corporate representatives, supplier diversity thought leaders, and special surprise guests at NBIC Unity Week 2022! Convening in person for the very first time since its inception in 2020, Unity Week featured a series of roundtables, forums, educational sessions, and signature Matchmakers series, which helped business owners and corporate representatives to forge longtime connections. 

On Tuesday, November 15, NBIC Unity Week kicked off at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC with special educational programming presented by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). Attendees learned about the importance of storytelling as a business, elevator pitches, and networking best practices from a series of speakers including Jenn Lederer, “Thriving with Capital One” representatives, and WIPP & WBENC leadership. The evening closed out at the stunning Mayflower Hotel with the ‘Thriving with Capital One’ Unity Reception co-hosted by WBENC, NGLCC, and WIPP. 

Participants kicked off Wednesday morning bright and early with two Business Impact Table Topics covering the SBA Clinic and strategic access to business funding. As the afternoon arrived, attendees rotated between a series of curated Ted-Style Talks and the Matchmakers series, which pairs corporate representatives and small diverse business owners for prescheduled meetings. Entrepreneurs in attendance pitched their business & services to the supplier diversity representatives they met with, sparking new relationships.

The following morning, Unity Week attendees joined Congressional leaders and advisors, business owners, and subject matter experts for a roundtable dialogue. Philadelphia’s Representative Dwight Evans, GSA Associate Administrator Krystal Brumfield, GSA Deputy Assistant Administrator Antonio Doss, and Kylie Patterson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion on the House Financial Services Committee, each shared their thoughts on the importance of advocacy for the small business community and answered questions from the audience about the future of diversity in business, infrastructure and government spending, and how diverse business communities and corporate America can work together to back mutually beneficial policies and reforms.

Participants then moved to the seventh annual NBIC Best-of-the-Best Awards luncheon, where the top 50 corporations committed to diversity and inclusion across diverse segments received the designation. Attendees were treated to a special surprise guest – 2022 NBIC Public Sector Champion honoree and SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman participated in a brief fireside chat onstage to discuss the SBA’s advocacy for small diverse business owners. NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson and WBENC President & CEO Pamela Prince-Eason then shared exciting news about NBIC’s plans to launch an all-encompassing diverse supplier database to increase ease of access for corporate and federal procurement representatives & officials in 2023.

The remainder of the afternoon’s programming included the NGLCC’s annual TGX Town Hall, the popular Absolut Out & Open Succession Planning Workshop, and an intimate evening reception. The TGX Town Hall is available to view in full here

On the evening of Friday, November 18, attendees gathered at the National Building Museum for an evening of food, drinks, dancing, singing, celebration, and remembrance at the NGLCC National Dinner & 20th anniversary celebration. Awards were presented in person to the 2022 Dinner Honorees, and guests were treated to a special performance from the Be A Friend Project, an organization of student “Upstanders” working to save the lives of their bullied peers and build kinder communities. CLICK HERE to support the Be A Friend Project – your donation brings peer support to victims of bullying to help them stay strong and know they are not alone, while building empathy and celebrating kindness in kids & teens across the country! 

But that’s not all the evening had in store – surprise guests Debbie Gibson, Pepper Mashay, and Martha Wash wowed the crowd with stunning performances that lit up the entirety of the National Building Museum. 

The NGLCC family danced the rest of the night away at the official Dinner After-Party, and were treated to exclusive drag performances from Rupaul’s Drag Race winners Symone and Kylie Sonique Love.

The NGLCC Team thanks you for making NBIC Unity Week & the NGLCC 20th Anniversary Celebration one for the books!

Photos from NBIC Unity Week and the NGLCC National Dinner are accessible here and open to share with photographer attribution. Don’t forget to download and share your 360 Photo Booth Strips!

Click here to stay tuned for information on NGLCC programming in 2023.

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