The GSBA Blog

LGBT Matchmaker Event

by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
| May 01, 2017

056A2875GSBA members and partners believe that Supplier Diversity is a business imperative in today’s economic climate. It helps companies and government entities identify and deliver high-quality products and services while spending with small businesses and driving economic development in their communities. 

In April, GSBA and Starbucks partnered to create the first-ever LGBT Business Matchmaker event in the northwest. This event connected over 90 small business owners, corporations, and government entities in order to explore opportunities to do business together. 

James Hing, Manager of Global Sourcing and Supplier Relations, Supplier Diversity, Starbucks Coffee Company, led a workshop designed for LGBT-, woman-, or minority-owned certified business enterprises. It focused on how to write a capability statement and how to do a successful pitch to a corporate or government entity, and included time for writing, sharing, and critiques of the capability statements. 

“Participating in the LGBT Matchmaker event was critically valuable for us in having a direct line to key influencers in the procurement process. Hearing exactly what they need from vendors, what they look for in a partnership, and learning how to tailor a presentation to speak their language gave us an advantage we were able to immediately use in answering an RFP that came directly from that experience.” Jolene McKenzie, Starline Luxury Coaches 

Following the workshop, attendees took part in a lunch discussion with LGBT certified businesses, OutSmart Office Solutions, Precision Garage Service, and Tomboy X, and corporate procurement officers James Hing and Fernando Hernandez, Supplier Diversity & Sustainability Director, Microsoft, about the opportunities certification provides to small businesses. 

"This was a great for networking and learning. I went in feeling like a novice, and came out with some valuable knowledge and good contacts." —Art Stone, Honest Biscuits 

Register now for the April 2018 LGBT Matchmaker event at


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