The GSBA Blog

  • Be Your Own Boss

    | Mar 23, 2017
    By Jennifer Jimenez, co-owner of Eastside Total Health & Lactation.

    womenshealthpic2Throughout my life, I always heard my mother's voice echoing: "Be your own boss." In the midst of the Cold War hysteria, my mother emigrated from the Philippines during a time when the fear of communism had virally taken over the American psyche, and coalesced into unconstitutional legislation that barred entry, and even the chance of citizenship to those seeking refuge in the "promised land."  Sound familiar? The irony is uncanny, but now more than ever, her words that once seemed like an inaudible lullaby have so much meaning.

     "Be your own boss," catalyzed me to start my own healthcare practice in Kirkland, WA. Eastside Total Health & Lactation (formerly Eastside Women's Health Center) was born in the fall of 2015 after joining forces with my business partner, Kristina Chamberlain, CNM, ARNP, IBCLC. After 25 years in New York and nearly twenty years of being a Certified Nurse-Midwife, I took those years of experience and started something exquisitely my OWN. The experience of providing care to individuals and families and impacting lives was certainly my calling. I gained precious insight during those years; no matter where one is from: the Bronx or Manhattan, inner city or the suburbs, people want to be heard, and good care lasts a lifetime. Experience within communities and the humbling lessons from colleagues and clients is the experience upon which I built my practice. It took two decades to fortify my foundation, but I knew right away that the only way I could best impact lives was to "Be my own boss."
    It sounds crazy, but it was easier to manage a laboring woman in the back of an ambulance on "9/11" than start my own business. I was the Midwife on-call that night, and in the midst of all the chaos, I felt the enormous responsibility to guide this mother and her baby through this personally impactful moment amidst chaos and fear. I was the expert in that scenario; I felt confident, and had faith in my skills, knowledge and expertise. The spirit of my community was the intangible force that kept me focused and grounded. (And yes, a little girl named Jennifer was born that night.) The same tremendous fear of the unknown almost overwhelmed me when I moved to Washington State, 3,000 miles away from a place I called home. But just as I am the expert in my field, I knew I had to find a community of experts in business. Three days after my arrival in Washington, after a simple Google search, I was having lunch with one of the members of the GSBA. 
    As a proud member of the LGBTQ community and micro-business owner, I needed to find "my people”—and that is exactly what I found in the GSBA. I found an organization that not only represented who I am, but wanted to see me succeed. As a GSBA member, I had access to all the tools I needed to get started in business: training workshops, networking events, and my business even got certified as a LGBT Business Enterprise through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) thanks to GSBA's help.  
    Little did I know that I found more than a business chamber—I joined the largest LGBT and allied chamber in the nation that truly embodies the four pillars of their work: business, community, advocacy and philanthropy.  
    Today, I am proud to say that my healthcare center is able to flourish and provide gynecological, family building, lactation, acupuncture, massage therapy, and nutrition services to diverse members of the Washington State community and beyond.  We have launched a new nationwide service that certifies companies to be breastfeeding friendly, as well as, created access to lactation support to employees at the work site.  Additionally, we started a series of training for healthcare providers across the country to aid in breastfeeding success.
    BE YOUR OWN BOSS can mean many different things to many different people.
    Now, as a single mother, woman of color, micro-business owner in healthcare, in yet another abhorrent chapter in American history, I am confident that those who came before me, like my mother, Rosalinda, can see that my business is also my voice.
  • Taiwan is a safe destination for LGBT travelers and full of wonderful surprises

    by Albert Rodriguez
    | Mar 17, 2017

    Lungshan Temple of MankaWhen I visited Taiwan for the first time in 2011, it was just for two days. But those two days were glorious, spent mostly exploring its capital city of Taipei, but also trekking to nearby villages and taking in some of its incredible sights. Blessed with the opportunity to go back last fall, this time for an entire week, I couldn't wait to get on the plane and return to the land of dumplings, steamed buns, bubble tea and Hello Kitty. Taiwan, like other Asian countries I've been to – Japan, South Korea and Thailand – has its unique qualities, from its history and customs to its architecture and people. But what I love most about it is the food. The food there is some of the best I've had anywhere.
    Something else to love about Taiwan, or the Republic of China as it's officially called, is its acceptance of all walks of life, including the LGBT community, which is supported by the government and embraced by pop culture. It may soon become the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage and it currently hosts the continent's largest Gay celebration, the annual Taiwan LGBT Pride, which drew more than 80,000 people in October.

    I began my journey, as part of an LGBT group tour, in Taipei and then traveled to Taichung, Tainan City and Kaohsiung. Trekking around Taiwan is simple and affordable by high-speed rail, or bus, so there's no need to rent a car during your visit. Uber service is available and popular in Taipei, and also very LGBT-friendly, sending a large team of cheery employees to the Pride festivities last fall.

    Definitely consider a trip to Taiwan in the near future, either for a weeklong stay, or a stopover while visiting another Asian destination.

    Taipei is a city of 4 million people, not including an additional 4 million that reside in the surrounding area, making it a large city indeed. But in comparison to Tokyo, which is massive, or Bangkok, which is overly congested and at times chaotic, Taiwan's capital city is a cinch to navigate and it's orderly; everything seems to run on time, everyone is civil and every piece of architecture, from high-rise office buildings to ancient temples, fits the landscape like a finished puzzle; there's no wasted space.

    We stayed two nights at The Landis Hotel, in the vibrant Zhongshan district. The hotel is both a business and leisure property with the usual guest room amenities included, such as flatscreen TV, work desk, floor-to-ceiling closets with slippers and robes, personal grooming and hygiene products and bathtub/shower, as well as complimentary WiFi. I had a view of the city streets below and I could peer into residential apartments across the way from my window. What I really enjoyed about the Landis Hotel, besides its centralized location, was its French-themed restaurant on the main floor that served wonderful breakfast buffets. Western and Asian favorites, from cold cereal and fried eggs with bacon to meat-stuffed dumplings and rice, plus miso soup, fresh fruit, pastries, fruit juices, coffee and tea, got my morning off to a great start.

    Taipei 101 is the city's top landmark, not only by recognition but also by height, standing tall at 1,671 feet off the ground. Although it's 101 stories high, making it the tallest skyscraper in the world up until 2004, visitors can only ascend to the 91st floor, which has an outdoor observatory, but most people take in the spectacular views from the enclosed observatory on the 89th floor. One floor below, on the 88th, is a 660-ton steel pendulum that acts as the structure's tuned mass damper, helping to balance the building during severe storms, or unexpected strong gusts of wind. Unlike the Space Needle here at home with elevators on the exterior, the 37-second ride from the 5th to 89th floors is entirely inside the building, a comforting fact for anybody scared of heights. Once you make your way down, explore the mall on the lower levels of Taipei 101 with lots of stores and eateries, including a Taiwanese favorite, Din Tai Fung. This internationally renowned restaurant, which now has a location in downtown Seattle and another in Bellevue, is known for its steamed buns and hand-forged dumplings made on the premises. Besides the dumplings, considered a national specialty, a variety of vegetables and steamed rice, plus chocolate dumplings for dessert, are available at Din Tai Fung.

    Another important landmark to explore while sightseeing is the Chiang Kai-shek, or CKS, Memorial Hall, constructed in memory of the Republic of China's former president, Chiang Kai-shek. Memorabilia and archives from the late leader and his family are exclusively on display in the expansive building, where a changing of the national guards happens hourly on the top level, overlooking the immense courtyard. Also worth checking out is the Song Shan Cultural Park, a redeveloped area with art exhibits and showrooms that feature a diverse collection of work, some by Taiwanese locals and young students. Lungshan Temple of Manka, in the Wanhua district, is also recommended, especially for travelers wanting a history lesson. The Buddhist temple was originally erected in 1738 and though it has been destroyed multiple times by fires, earthquakes and during war time, it has been rebuilt again and again as a beloved national treasure, where locals arrive daily to worship and find peace.

    You'll feel like royalty when you dine at the Yuan-Yuan Restaurant inside the immaculate Taipei Grand Hotel, which has hosted everyone from Hollywood's elite to global political dignitaries. The stunning dining room provides guests with impeccable views of the city from its floor-to-ceiling windows as they feast on authentic cuisine of the Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions. Fruitful Food is a vegetarian buffet restaurant with a terrific selection of freshly prepared items, including pizza, soup, salads, pasta, dumplings, tofu dishes, various forms of rice and sinful desserts. I'm not a vegetarian, but I very much enjoyed this ample and busy restaurant because of its abundant offerings and the quality of food. Go Bar is a popular hot pot restaurant, located in the basement level of a shopping area near the Gay district. Diners choose the broth for their hot pot and then circle two sides of a long counter stocked with meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles to add to their dish, cooked by themselves.

    The Ximending neighborhood, within the Wanhua district, is Taipei's Gay stomping grounds, where a cluster of bars with outdoor patios, dance clubs and restaurants allow you to socialize with the local LGBT community and a significant number of international visitors. Sol Bistro, CaSa Bar, K House, Cafe Dalida and Mudan are a few of the spots I'd recommend checking out in Ximending, a centralized part of the city that is safe and quite active.

    If you love traveling on trains, I suggest a ride on the Taiwan High Speed Rail. Much like the Shinkansen, or "Bullet Train," in Japan, the THSR, as it's more commonly called, will get you to mostly anywhere around the country in a matter of minutes or hours. We ventured out to Taichung from Taipei's Main Station, a one-hour trip that afforded us glimpses of Taiwan's bright green countryside and smaller cities along the way. The train cars were probably the cleanest and quietest I've ever ridden on, and passengers can choose to travel by 1st or 2nd class; the only differences between them are more legroom and a 2-2 seat configuration in 1st class vs. less legroom and 2-3 seat configuration in 2nd. Attendants come through all cars during the journey to sell coffee and snacks; although every station appeared to have a Starbucks, I brought my own coffee on board instead.

    Arriving late morning in Taichung allowed us plenty of time to scope out the contemporary, eclectic art collection at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, a multi-story architectural beauty with exhibits inside and outside, including some that are interactive. Taichung is the third most populated city in Taiwan and slower-paced, less expensive and less crowded than Taipei with a modern flair of its own. The Millennium Hotel Taichung, where we stayed, was a perfect example of this modernity, a luxurious property with grand lobby, trendy rooftop bar that overlooked the city and elegantly furnished guest rooms that provided everything from wall-mounted HD LED flatscreen TVs to glass-door showers and separate bathtubs to personal brewing systems with premium coffee and teas. In many ways, it felt like staying at a Four Seasons stateside. The breakfast buffet was abundant and the service throughout the hotel was top notch.
    You'll stumble into half a dozen bubble tea shops in Seattle's International District, but did you know that this beloved beverage originated in Taichung? Indeed, this is the birthplace of these love em' or hate em' milky drinks, known for their tiny tapioca balls that sink to the bottom of the cup. Also worth noting is that you can become a certified bubble tea maker, similar to a barista, by taking a 30-minute class at the Chun Shui Tang Cultural House. On the third level of the shop, doubling as a cafe with food and beverages, you'll learn the exact ingredients and measurements, plus visual instruction from an expert, on how to make bubble tea, and then you'll earn your certificate by putting the learned skills to task by creating a drink yourself.

    Taichung is south of Taipei and further south is Tainan City, the oldest city and former capitol of Taiwan. What I recall most about Tainan City aren't the sights and sounds, but the food. Our first meal was at Du Hsiao Yueh, a highly rated casual restaurant serving excellent slack season danzai noodles, a specialty dish in these parts that looks very much like spaghetti with marinara sauce, but here the noodles are made by hand and the pork-based ragout is slowly-cooked for an amazing flavorful taste. Also try another local specialty, milk fish, and the sauteed greens at Du Hsiao Yueh. Suggested for a nice sit-down dinner is the Premier Restaurant, a traditional Chinese eatery with an expansive dining room decorated with bright red carpet and wooden partitions with rice paper screens. You haven't eaten fried rice until you've tried the real thing, and this place served some of the very best I've ever eaten, in addition to fried frog legs, braised beef with ginger and steamed vegetables. The third of three meals we had in our 24-hour visit to Tainan City was breakfast at our hotel, which was slightly minimal to the buffets we had at the other hotels we stayed at. The property itself, Silks Place, was a contemporary hotel with wooden floors, window side padded benches with fluffy pillows to capture the urban sprawl views and a lovely assortment of hand lotions and hair essentials. The Glass House lounge is an indoor bar that has an outside open-air terrace with astro turf flooring and cozy couches to mingle with fellow guests and sip cocktails.

    For sightseeing, the Taiwan Confucian Temple dating back to 1665 during the Koxinga dynasty is now a much-visited tourist attraction and site where ancient Confucian ceremonies are still preserved. Chihkan Tower, formerly Fort Provintia, dates back further to 1653 during the Dutch colonization of Taiwan, originally used as an outpost and now standing as an historical landmark of Tainan City and the whole country. 

    The final city we visited was Kaohsiung, my favorite from this trip following Taipei. Kaohsiung is even further South than Tainan City, along the coast by the South China Sea. Lotus Pond is famous for its Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, twin seven-story towers that can be climbed by stairs to the top with amazing vistas from above. The newly developed Pier-2 Art Center is a small complex of food, art galleries and shopping posts in a former industrial space; definitely wander into the Eslite bookstore and pick up a keepsake, or book, to take home with you and grab a coffee at its adorable cafe. Xiziwan, also referred to as Sizihwan, is a small hillside community in the Gushan District of the city that overlooks the bay on the Taiwan Strait. This is a must go-to place for photographers, as the views of the skyline are incredible. 

    If you want to rub shoulders with the locals and experience the city's public transportation, I recommend hopping on the simple-to-use Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit, or KMRT, the underground light rail system. The magnificent Formosa Boulevard station includes various retail shops and snack counters in a beautifully illuminated underground plaza that also features daily artists playing piano, or other musical instruments, with a dedicated seating area to hear them perform; it's certainly the fanciest train station I've been in.

    Should you wish to discover the local street food scene, take a 5-minute ferry ride from the Kaohsiung Harbor to the Quijing District and peruse the many carts and pop-up stands lining the streets, selling everything from noodles and meat dishes to refreshments and snacks.

  • Seattle hosts first LGBT economic summit

    by Alex Rozier
    | Mar 16, 2017

    On Thursday, the Greater Seattle Business Association is hosting its first ever LGBT economic summit, bringing together LGBT business leaders and allies from five different states and Canada too.

    Twelve different LGBT chapters will be represented from California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Hawaii.

    “We decided we need to come together and invite outside businesses, and actually start talking about and exploring the power that comes when all of us work together,” GSBA President Louise Chernin said. “When you see that there are thousands and thousands of LGBT business owners and allied business owners and that together, we can affect laws, we can work on issues of equality, and we can support our community and non-profits, it will empower us.”

    “We are now made up of not only lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender, but allied businesses too,” Chernin added. “There are many businesses now that say they want to be a part of a chamber that is values driven. We are about business, but we are about community.”

    Karyn Schwartz is the owner of Sugarpill and a member of the LGBT community. She is a big believer in this economic summit and hopes to build business and relationships for all.

    “When I was coming out, there wasn’t a lot of visible, queer businesses. I think you need to be able to see yourself reflected out in the world, I think no matter where you come from you need examples of who you could become, and still be you,” Schwartz said. “Having a variety of people in all different kinds of business who are part of the LGBTQ community, I think is really inspiring to those of us who are already working, but also to younger people, those who are coming up behind us who might think, ‘Well, what can I do? Can I do what I want to do? Can I be who I want to be and be visible in the community?'”

    “I think it’s really important that people understand that none of us are going away. We didn’t fight this hard to be visible and successful just to lay down when people decided that it wasn’t ok for us to be here anymore. So I think being in a room with a lot of people who have been successful and are influential in their communities, I think that’s really important,” Schwartz added. “We have worked really hard to be a force to be reckoned with and we have a lot to share in places that maybe don’t have the resources, or the resilience, or the safety that we have here. And we have a huge responsibility to lift other people up.”

  • Labor Standards Outreach & Education

    | Mar 10, 2017

    Late last year GSBA received a significant grant from the City of Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS) to conduct outreach and education for our small businesses. We are part of a coalition with the Ethnic Chambers of Commerce Coalition, Business Impact Northwest, Cascadia Consulting, the Eritrean Community of Greater Seattle, and OneAmerica. Together with OLS and our partners we have created a curriculum to walk business owners through the current Seattle labor laws: wage theft, minimum wage, paid sick and safe time, fair chance employment, and secure scheduling.

    GSBA and our partners will be offering trainings throughout 2017. All are free and open to any business owner. One-on-one advice is also available for any business owner who has questions that go beyond the workshop. Here are some basic reminders:

    All places of employment must have THIS POSTER displayed in a conspicuous and accessible location at job sites in English and in the language(s) spoken by employees.


    Minimum Wage

    For 2017 the Seattle minimum wage is between $11 and $15, depending on the size of your business and benefits offered. Large employers (501+ employees) must pay $15 or $13.50 if they offer medical benefits. For small employers (>500 employees), the rate is $13/hour unless at least $2/hour is contributed toward medical benefits and/or the employee earns at least $2 in tips.


    Wage Theft

    Employers must pay all compensation owed on a regular pay day and give employees written information about their job and pay. The important details of this regulation that businesses should pay extra attention are the requirements around record keeping and what constitutes hours worked. Remember – work “off the clock” must still be paid!


    Fair Chance Employment

    Job ads cannot categorically exclude applicants with conviction or arrest records. Questions about conviction or arrest history can be asked, but only after screening for the job’s minimum qualifications. Applicants must have the opportunity to explain or correct their record. An employer must have a legitimate business reason that employing the applicant will harm the business or impact the employee’s ability to perform the job.


    Paid Sick and Safe Time

    Employers must provide employees with paid leave to care for themselves or a family member. As with minimum wage, there is a tiered accrual and use structure based on business size.

     PSST chart

    All employers must comply with the applicable laws. Retaliation is illegal in all cases.

    For more information about how to comply with Seattle's labor standards laws, please visit or contact the GSBA office about upcoming workshops and other educational opportunities.

    Workshops offered as part of our grant include:
    Tues May 23  |  1-3 PM  |  Seattle Public Library - Capitol Hill
    Thurs June 15  |  11:30 AM-1:30 PM  |  Business Impact NW
    Tues July 11  |  10-noon  |  Seattle Public Library - Queen Anne
    Thurs July 20  |  8-10 AM  |  GSBA Office
    Tues Aug 8  |  1-3 PM  |  Seattle Public Library - Greenwood
    Thurs Sep 21  |  11:30 AM - 1:30 PM  |  Business Impact NW

  • LGBT Economic Summit: Meet the Panelists

    | Mar 02, 2017

    Working Together for Shared Prosperity
    , the first-ever LGBT economic summit, will explore topics such as: leveraging the power of LGBT businesses; Blue State tourism; maintaining Left Coast politics in the post-election era; working together to promote diverse supply chains; and unlocking the power of bringing marginalized communities together.

    Through keynote presentations and panel discussions, attendees will share information, provide critical input to regional challenges, and build relationships with other LGBT and allied business leaders from Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and British Columbia.

    Meet our distinguished panelists:

    Adamson, Bryan_145x135
    Bryan Adamson, Seattle University School of Law

    Bryan is an Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University. He has published numerous articles that demonstrate a diverse and interdisciplinary approach to scholarship on topics ranging from civil rights through the lens of the judicial procedures and how media institutions rationalize and reinforce racial hierarchies. He currently teaches a Consumer Protection Clinic and Mass Media Law and Policy and is a member of the GSBA Board of Directors.

    Clark_145x135Sally Clark, University of Washington

    Sally is the Director of Regional and Community Relations at UW. Her duties include working with the City-University Community Advisory Committee, the University District Partnership, Urban@UW, and the Arboretum Botanical Garden Committee all in service to helping the University accomplish its mission – the preservation, advancement and dissemination of knowledge – while being a great regional neighbor and collaborator. Prior to working at UW, Sally served more than nine years on the Seattle City Council, including as Council President 2012-2013.

    Edison_145x135Roz Edison, Marination

    Roz Edison is the COO and co-founder of Marination. Often the called the Director of Many Things, Roz makes sure that the operations of Marination run smoothly across all locations. She's known for making a spreadsheet for just about everything. Roz grew up in Athens, Greece with an undergraduate degree in French, and a Masters degrees in both business and education. Prior to Marination, she served in Peace Corps Romania, worked in public education in Boston, and advised at the University of Washington. Roz loves data, street food and gadgets.

    Fugere_145x135Joe Fugere, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria

    Joe is the founder of Tutta Bella, the Pacific Northwest’s first certified, authentic Neapolitan pizzeria. In 2004, Joe opened his first restaurant and currently has five locations in the greater Seattle area. His restaurant group holdings expanded in 2016 to include operating The Hollywood Tavern in Woodinville, WA. Joe believes that there is a direct correlation between business success and creating shared values with employees, customers, peers, and community members. He regularly leads socially-responsible, small business initiatives in environments ranging from the White House to local neighborhood councils. In 2015, Joe testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions on behalf of Washington business owners and also met with Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, as part of his "Lead on Leave Tour." Joe is currently actively involved with One America, which is a leading force for immigrant, civil and human rights. By nurturing a meaningful business that also reaps economic and social benefits, Joe hopes to encourage other local businesses to make investments in staff and community.

    Gardner_145x135Jaebadiah Gardner, Onpoint Real Estate

    Jaebadiah Gardner is the Founder & CEO of GardnerGlobal, Inc. and the Managing Partner for Onpoint Real Estate Services, LLC, a full-­service real estate brokerage firm in Seattle. He oversees the property management & development divisions, which include residential, multi-­family, condo buildings, and private and nonprofit clients. Jaebadiah is the driving force behind business development, real estate development and acquisition opportunities. Since its founding, GardnerGlobal, Inc. has grown from a team of one to nine, currently owns two companies and is heavily involved in the community fabric of Seattle. In addition, Jaebadiah is developing a 115-­unit affordable housing building and a 70-unit apartment building in Seattle. Jaebadiah's focus is building business through investments, partnerships and community.

    GILLIS_143x135Gladys Gillis, Starline Luxury Coaches

    Gladys founded Starline Luxury Coaches with a vision and a limited fleet of three shuttle buses. Over the years, she has become a respected leader in the transportation industry. Gladys has served on the board of World Affairs Council since 2010 and just recently finished her term as Chairman of the Board in February, 2015. She remains an active voice for the transportation industry at the national level. Since 2012 she has expanded her operations in Pullman, WA with Wheatland Express and in June acquired A & A Motorcoach with yards in Yakima, Wenatchee and Pasco. She currently serves on the GSBA Board of Directors and the GSBA Corporate Advisory Board and is recognized as the CEO of the largest, women-owned fleet in the Pacific Northwest.

    Herrera_145x135Michael Herrera, SoCal Gas

    Michael Herrera is the LGBTBE advisor for Southern California Gas Company in the Supply Management and Supplier Diversity departments. Michael has been an integral part of the supplier diversity group meeting and exceeding SoCalGas' supplier diversity goals for the past couple of years.

    Michael is also an alumni of SoCalGas' Volunteer Local Diversity & Inclusion Council and Employee Diversity Council and leads the corporate sponsorships between SoCalGas and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, The Desert Business Association, The Golden Gate Business Association, The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce and The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

    Jimenez, Jen_145x135Jennifer Jimenez, Eastside Total Health & Lactation

    Jennifer Jimenez has been a Certified Nurse Midwife for over 20 years who earned multiple degrees from Columbia University. But when asked, she would say that her most valuable lessons were those taught to her by the Latino and Caribbean communities in the South Bronx, Washington Heights, and Harlem. She moved to Washington State from New York in 2015 and co-owns Eastside Total Health & Lactation (ETHL) in Kirkland. ETHL is a certified LGBT Business Enterprise that offers a gynecology, family building and lactation services with special attention for the LGBTQ and the single parent by choice communities.

    LEE_145x135Martha Lee, Chinese Chamber and the Ethnic Coalition of Chambers of Commerce

    Martha is the current president of ECCC for the Greater Seattle Area. She also serves on the board of the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce and was the President for 2014 to 2015. Martha is a 2016 recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the White House. She has over 35 years of financial and management experience in various Senior Vice President and CFO positions with Royal Philips Electronic Corp.

    McClure_145x135Sam McClure, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

    Sam serves as Senior Vice President at the NGLCC. In this role, Sam oversees the Affiliate Relations, External Affairs, and Supplier Diversity departments and is a member of the executive leadership team. In 2014, Sam led NGLCC’s legislative campaign to pass California Assembly Bill 1678, the first law of its kind in the nation which added certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) to the Supplier Diversity program of the California Public Utilities Commission. In 2015, she lead the team that achieved the first statewide Executive Order to add not only LGBTBEs, but also Disability Owned & Veteran Owned Business Enterprises (DOBEs & VBEs) to the small business development opportunities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is a leading voice on organizational development strategies and LGBT business inclusion. Driven by entrepreneurial spirit and an appetite for community and economic development, she is a passionate advocate for the LGBT community and a champion of Business Equality.

    McDermott_145x135Joe McDermott, King County Council

    Joe McDermott is currently serving his 7th year as a member, and 2nd consecutive year as Chair, of the King County Council. Holding a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs, he served a decade in the state legislature prior to joining the Council. Joe is a passionate advocate for vibrant and safe communities, reliable transit and transportation options, our environment, and civil rights. He currently resides in West Seattle with his husband Michael.

    Montes_145x135Frank Montes, California Hispanic Chamber

    Frank Montes uses his skills as a professional advocate to impact change at State and National levels in order to create a wide range of opportunities that will generate growth, education and prosperity for families, businesses and communities. In his work as a business owner, he uses his personal experience as an entrepreneur to identify with and understand his clients' needs and challenges. Mr. Montes has worked on local, regional and state legislative issues for the last six California state legislative assemblies and is fostering a professional history of representing individuals with elected and appointed boards. Additionally, he has lead efforts with volunteers, private consultants, and representatives of governmental agencies. As a proficient supporter, Mr. Montes has specific knowledge to address public policy issues that affect small business including lending, taxes, health care and shortage of skilled workers.

    Mirabella_145x135Joe Mirabella, Seattle Office of Economic Development

    Joe is the Communications Director for the Office of Economic Development. Previously, he served as Mayor Ed Murray's Social Media Manager. Joe is a former GSBA Board Member and has a passion for the intersection of equality and business.

    Morales_145x135Mark Morales, State of CA, Dept. of Insurance, Diversity Task Force

    Mark Morales has over 20 years of business banking experience and specializes in SBA financing and loan programs for diverse owned businesses. Mark was recognized by the SBA as the first lender nationwide to fund an SBA loan for an LGBT business in 2015. In March 2015 Mark was appointed to the California Department of Insurance's Insurance Diversity Task Force whose mission is to encourage increased procurement from California’s diverse suppliers and diversity amongst insurer governing boards. He is the first LGBT Business Enterprise advocate/representative since the task force inception in 2011. Mark is the President of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (LAGLCC) Board of Directors.

    Murray_145x135Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle

    Edward B. Murray became Mayor of Seattle in 2014 after 18 years in the Washington State Legislature, where he was a champion for LGBT rights. Within the first six months as Mayor, he convened a committee comprised of business, labor, and non-profit stakeholders to work out the terms of a deal that would benefit all involved and set the highest minimum wage in the nation. For this work, he was named one of Politico Magazine's "50 thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction." Recently he has made headlines as one of the most prominent voices for sanctuary cities. Read more of his official bio here.

    Nelson_145x135Dean Nelson, and Whistler Pride and Ski Festival

    Dean has 11 years experience in LGBT travel and tourism as the producer of world class events including the annual Whistler Pride and Ski Festival; founder and executive producer of the 2010 Pride House at the Olympic Winter Games; and contributor and mentor for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games (London) Pride House, 2014 Olympic Winter Games (Sochi) virtual Pride House campaign, and the 2014 FIFA Women's World Cup Pride House. In 2016, Dean was awarded the Distinguished Alumni: International Human Rights Leadership Award from Thompson Rivers University for a decade of campaigning LGBT visibility in Travel and Tourism. He is a past board member of Travel Gay Canada and Vancouver Pride Society.

    Norwalk_145x135Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle

    Tom Norwalk is President & CEO of Visit Seattle, the private, nonprofit marketing organization that promotes Seattle as a destination for international and domestic leisure travel, meetings and conventions. Norwalk oversees more than 60 employees in the organization’s main Seattle office as well as sales offices in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. He is responsible for all of the bureau’s operations, sales and marketing, finance and budget management and business development.

    Nyhus_145x135Roger Nyhus, Nyhus Communications

    Roger has advised numerous business and government leaders around the world since founding his firm in 1994. He excels at strategic public relations, public affairs and advocacy for innovative organizations and their leaders.
    In 2010, Roger was named Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Seattle Business Association, and Nyhus Communications earned the Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award in 2009.

    Olson_145x135Karen Olson, Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass

    Karen Olson is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass. Karen has the honor of working with some of the region’s top destinations to connect visitors with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She leads an amazing team of marketing, sales, and guest service specialists to turn guests into fans and moments into memories.

    Robinson_145x135Tim Robinson, Visit Spokane

    Tim Robinson is the Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at Visit Spokane, the official destination marketing organization for Spokane County, Washington. Tim joined Visit Spokane in 2013 as Director of Public Relations & Communications. Prior to working in the travel industry, Tim was a TV reporter and anchorman in Seattle (KING 5), Sacramento and Reno.

    Thornhill_145x135Curtis Thornhill, Apt Marketing Solutions

    Curtis Thornhill is the CEO of Apt Marketing Solutions, a firm that brings enterprise marketing practices to businesses of all sizes. Apt Marketing was named to the 2016 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies and was profiled in Adweek magazine. Curtis frequently speaks and writes about improving the impact of technology, data, and processes in marketing.

    Trimiew_145x135Jason Trimiew, Facebook

    For nearly two decades, Jason has worked at the intersection of the marketplace and social impact in international microfinance, venture philanthropy, and community and economic development. In 2016, Jason joined Facebook to launch the company's first supplier diversity program and create more opportunity for diverse-owned firms do business with Facebook and the people and communities that Facebook connects. Prior to joining Facebook, he designed and led the community impact initiatives for Super Bowl 50, resulting in more than $20 million in grants for Bay Area nonprofits and contracts for local businesses. Jason was formerly a Managing Director at REDF and is the founder of Trimiew Strategy Group, a consultancy that helps clients develop, implement, measure, and scale products and programs that produce results for good.

    YarceBeto Yarce, Ventures

    Beto Yarce is an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico who moved to Seattle 14 years ago. He is the Executive Director for Ventures, a nonprofit organization that empowers individuals with limited resources and unlimited potential to improve their lives through small business ownership. Beto is passionate and inspired by the mission and for the opportunity to support other entrepreneurs with their dreams and helping them create their vision in a business.

    Yaeger_145x135Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

    Ken Yeager has been a pioneer for LGBTQ rights in Santa Clara County for nearly four decades. In 1984, he co-founded a four-county LGBTQ political action group called the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee after coming out in the OpEd pages of the San Jose Mercury News. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed as the first chairperson of Santa Clara County's AIDS Prevention Task Force. Upon his election to the San Jose Community College District in 1992, he became the first openly gay elected official in the County. Ken then served six years as a San Jose City Councilmember and has served on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors since 2006. In 2008, Ken became a Deputy Commissioner for Civil Marriage and has since solemnized over 100 same gender unions. In 2015, he created the Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the first county-level office dedicated to serving the unique needs of LGBTQ residents.

    Learn more about the LGBT Economic Summit here.



  • Paid Family Leave is coming to WA

    | Mar 01, 2017

    Paid family leave is coming to Washington!

    What precisely that will look like is still under negotiation. There were multiple proposals in the Legislature this year, although none of them made it out whole. The final product will be the result of negotiations between the caucuses in Olympia. There is also discussion from Seattle Councilmember Lorena González about establishing a Seattle-specific policy should the statewide policy not succeed.

    The United States is one of only eight countries in the world without a national paid family leave policy. Only 14% of the US workforce is covered by a paid family leave plan. The Family and Medical Leave Act provides 12 weeks of job protection - but not pay - for some employees of companies with more than 50 employees.

    What is paid family leave (PFL) in Washington?
    While policies vary greatly across the United States, there have been several constants across all the proposals in Washington this year. They have included paid leave for qualifying circumstances such as: a new child, the serious illness of a family member, and exigency for military leave.

    How is PFL funded?
    Proposals in Washington all have the program funded as a payroll tax administered by the Washington Employment Security Department. Proposals differed in whether the tax would be payed by the employees themselves or by a joint 50-50 contribution from both employees and employers. This tax would be pooled together for all workers in the state to access

    What are the proposed benefit levels of PFL?
    Proposals in Washington have varied in the amount of leave provided from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Other jurisdictions have offered 4 weeks (Rhode Island), 6 weeks (California, New Jersey, San Francisco), 8 weeks (DC), and 12 weeks (New York State). The percentage of pay recieved while on leave varies across the country from 45% to 70%, while proposals in Washington range from 67% to 90% of average weekly wages, with additional provisions for those employees with incomes below statewide average weekly income.

    Are the jobs of employees on leave protected?
    All Washington proposals include provisions for protecting the jobs of those employees whose paid family leave. Some proposals included exemptions for businesses with 8 or fewer employees.

    More Information
    Economic Opportunity Institute
    National Conference of State Legislatures - Reports on Paid Family Leave
    Spokane Public Radio: Family leave proposals get hearing in Washington Senate
    Q13 FOX - New bill fights for 6 months of paid leave
    Trish Stroman: Paid Family Leave Doesn't Just Benefit Employees

  • Amy Woidtke: Making Space For You

    | Feb 24, 2017
    Amy-Woidtke-Logo-V002Amy is the Seattle time-saving, clutter busting organizer & assistant fiercely committed to guiding busy, growth-oriented LGBTQ and Allied professionals, who are serious about delegating and getting organized, to achieve transformation in their mental, emotional and physical space through Home and Office Organizing, Move Management and Lifestyle Maintenance. Clients experience increased freedom of time and energy so they can focus on broadcasting their brilliance and have more fun!
    This year, Amy has launched into public speaking and writing a book on making space for you.

    Her services combine that which she loves most: Making a difference in the quality of the lives of others, empowering change through intentional action and organizing spaces to create functional, feel-good launching pads.

    In this time of increased pace and demand on every day life, it's become even more crucial - and challenging - to make space for ourselves through self-care, decreasing overwhelm and streamlining our energies so we can live our best lives. Amy's services give clients that much needed “fresh air” in their mental, emotional and physical spaces. Clients literally call her their lifesaver.

    AW website 2.2016When she's not kicking butt for clients, Amy loves to spend time with family, including her partner Sebastian, their daughter, granddaughter and adorable handicapped kitty Merkat, whom they call their own personal superhero...she doesn't let two goofy back legs keep her down! Amy also loves movies, crafting, dancing, doing yoga and being in community. 

    Amy feels GSBA membership is important because it helps us to be easily found and in service to our LGBTQ and Allied community in the greatest ways possible. The GSBA offers an established platform for building connections and business, deepening relationships and giving back in a fun, friendly, feel-good environment which keeps on giving - just like the Energizer Bunny! She had the time of her life at the Taste being a walking greeter and dishing out compliments to all the fabulous attendees.

    Amy is friendly, resourceful and well-networked. She loves to give a super connection as much as she loves to receive one. If you see her out and about, don't be shy about introducing yourself! To learn more, visit
  • Winter Policy Update

    | Feb 15, 2017
    GSBA has been very active this winter, serving as your voice on LGBT civil rights and small business issues across our region.

    We have hosted small business round tables with Seattle City Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Kshama Sawant, in partnership with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. Dozens of our members were present at these events and were able to speak one-on-one with their elected representatives about the realities and challenges facing small business owners in Seattle.

    Continuing our work with the Office of Labor Standards, GSBA held its first workshop for small business owners on understanding the City of Seattle's six labor laws. We will continue to offer these events throughout the year along with our partners on the outreach and education grant. We worked hard to get the voice of our members to City Council when the head tax was proposed -- and defeated -- in January. On February 15 GSBA testified to City Council in support of the proposal to provide a dedicated funding source for the Office of Labor Standards through existing B&O tax revenue. This solution was drafted by Councilmember Burgess in consultation with both business and labor representatives.

    In Olympia we have greatly increased our presence on the ground by hiring a contract lobbyist. GSBA is actively involved in fighting to repeal Initiative 200, add a small business perspective to negotiations around paid family leave, ban assault weapons, support a statewide tourism marketing agency, and ban conversion therapy.

    We are actively working with our federal delegation - both Democrats and Republicans - to express our concerns relating to the change in administrations. We remain extremely worried about the status of LGBT anti-discrimination orders, about the safety of our undocumented students, attacks on women and minorities, and the general threats to our economy that could be severe with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. At the end of the month we will be convening a meeting with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and leaders of the LGBT community to talk about ways in which we can work together.

    Most pressingly, we are actively working to relaunch the Washington Won't Discriminate campaign. While I-1515 failed to gather enough signatures last summer, our opponents are back with an even harsher effort to rollback our anti-discrimination laws and specifically target the transgender community with Initiative 1552. GSBA continues to lead the business community in fighting back to preserve our civil rights for the LGBT community.

    If you would like to get involved in GSBA's advocacy work, contact Public Policy Manager Matt Landers.
  • GSBA Supports AG's Campaign to Ban Assault Weapons

    | Feb 15, 2017

    The GSBA Board of Directors, acting on the recommendations of the Public Policy Task Force and Public Policy Council, has voted to endorse HB1134 / SB5050  which would ban the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity (more than 10 rounds) magazines. This legislation was proposed from the office of Attorney General Bob Ferguson. This legislation is similar to laws passed in Connecticut and New York, both of which were upheld as constitutional by the US Supreme Court. This legislation grandfathers current gun ownership, as well as exempts use by police and military. Existing weapons would not be required to register, but they are required to be safely and securely stored.

    GSBA has a long history of supporting gun control bills as an issue of importance to both the LGBT community and to small businesses. Most tragically shown in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, the LGBT community remains a target of violent acts of hate. Businesses and organizations, including several of our members and friends in the Seattle area, have been victims of gun violence as well. After all, what bank employee hasn't had a gun in their face at some point? Year after year, GSBA members overwhelming continue to support gun control measures like this one and we are proud to stand with our partners to make a safer society for us all.

    Track the bill here.

  • Business of the Year: ZippyDogs

    | Feb 14, 2017

    Photo of Elise and Kelli of ZippyDogs
    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 2016 Business of the Year is ZippyDogs, founded by Elise Lindborg and Kelli Henderson.

    ZippyDogs is a true Puget Sound LGBT business success story. Founded by Elise Lindborg and Kelli Henderson in 2000, Zippy Dogs is a proud LGBT leader-of-the- pack in helping companies reach their business goals through the creative use of promotional products.  They offer more than 800,000 items at their built-green world headquarters and are experts in made-in-the-USA and eco-friendly products. When Zippy Dogs was launched, the first organization they joined was GSBA and they used several GSBA members to help get their business going. In 2011, Zippy Dogs became a certified LGBT business enterprise through the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), through which both Kelli and Elise received scholarships to attend the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. From 2013–2014, they were recognized as the NGLCC supplier of the year. Elise and Kelli now share their expertise with other LGBT business owners by teaching workshops on how to successfully become part of a supply chain. They have given back to the LGBT community in many other ways including donating product and dollars to dozens of LGBT organizations, in addition to sponsoring CenterLink’s annual Executive Director Summit. Elise and Kelli’s vision is to continue to help other companies grow their businesses while growing their own as well.

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.
  • Nonprofit of the Year: YouthCare

    | Feb 14, 2017

    Melinda Giovengo
    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 2016 Nonprofit of the Year is YouthCare, led by President and CEO, Melinda Giovengo, PhD.

    Established in 1974, YouthCare’s mission is to build confidence and self-sufficiency for homeless youth by providing a continuum of care that includes outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education and employment training. During the 1990s, YouthCare made a commitment to provide LGBT-specific programming. LGBT youth are overrepresented in the youth homeless population and, with up to 40 percent self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning, many of them kicked out of their homes for being who they are. YouthCare has a 12-space queer and gender neutral housing program where LGBT youth can stay for up to 18 months. YouthCare staff are trained and supported to understand, advocate and teach about the inequities for youth.  YouthCare’s Orion Center is one of only five programs in the nation that provides transitional housing and education (including life skills) with the goal of helping homeless youth find their way back to school and into jobs, plus providing 24-hour drop-in services including access to food, showers, laundry, and social services. Executive Director Melinda Giovengo is published on issues surrounding homeless youth and speaks locally and nationally on youth homelessness. She is highly regarded for her expertise and her passion.  

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.
  • Corporate Leader of the Year: John Zmolek

    | Feb 13, 2017

    Photo of John Zmolek
    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 2016 Corporate Leader of the Year is John Zmolek, President and CEO, Verity Credit Union.

    A fitting title for John Zmolek could be Chief Community Enhancement Officer, because Verity Credit Union’s mission of enhancing the community and the lives of its members is what excites John the most.  Since becoming CEO in 2014, John has increased the credit union’s membership by 10 percent after many years of flat growth.  He believes that when you focus on the mission of improving communities, individual success will follow.  Verity employees are as motived as he is – 89 percent recently surveyed stated that they are motivated to fulfill the mission.  John came to Verity in 1986 as a board member, then joined the staff as CFO in 1990, and served in several executive capacities during his rise to CEO. Over the years, Verity has been an outlier in their field. During the housing crisis, 70 percent of their refinanced loans were successful when the industry standard was under 50 percent. Under John’s leadership, Verity adopted an advocacy policy and became the only credit union in the country to sign onto the amicus brief of the United State v. Windsor case and the only credit union in the state to become a business coalition partner of Washington Won’t Discriminate in 2016. Verity has been a generous sponsor and supporter of numerous GSBA activities and events such as Young Professionals with Pride. They are also a committed supporter of the Pride Foundation and participate in the SPD Safe Place program.

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.
  • Business Leader of the Year: Ann Paris

    | Feb 13, 2017

    Ann Paris Photo
    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 2016 Business Leader of the Year is Ann Paris, Paris Insurance Services.

    Ann Paris professional life started on the stages of Germany as an opera singer. She spent the next 27 years educating, counseling, advocating for and ultimately securing insurance coverage for her clients with disabilities, HIV/AIDS and who are transgender. This was music to their ears, as finally having insurance transformed their lives. The cornerstone of Ann’s business is a firm commitment to the well-being of her clients and their employees. She is an ardent advocate for her clients and takes on pro-bono cases when a client’s resources are limited. Ann’s compassion and persistence doesn’t stop with her commission; she never abandons a client, especially ones with serious chronic illnesses. In the late 1980s, Ann started pressuring insurance companies to provide life insurance policies for same sex beneficiaries. She has been an ardent advocate for the fair treatment of trans people by their insurance companies and their right to access health care. In her business, she advises trans clients as they transition, something she has personally experienced when her husband transitioned after they became a couple. Through Spirit of the Sound, Ann and her husband Randy spent many years and logged many miles traveling the state educating the progressive Christian community on the spiritual needs of LGBT individuals. They formed a panel of four – a gay man, a lesbian, a bisexual woman, and a transman, and shared stories and answered any and all questions.  Ann has been active in GSBA for two decades including serving on the Scholarship Steering Committee.

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.
  • Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Capehart

    | Feb 10, 2017

    Jonathan Capehart
    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 36th Annual GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner Keynote Speaker is journalist Jonathan Capehart.

    Mr. Capehart is a member of The Washington Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog. He is also an MSNBC contributor, appearing regularly on "Hardball" and other dayside programs. Prior to joining The Post in 2007, Capehart was the deputy editor of New York Daily News’s editorial page from 2002 to 2005. He worked as a policy adviser to Michael Bloomberg in his successful campaign for mayor of New York City, he was a national affairs columnist for Bloomberg News from 2000 to 2001, and he was a member of the Daily News editorial board from 1993 to 2000. Mr. Capehart and the Daily News editorial board won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for their series on the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.
  • Community Leader of the Year: Dr. David Breland

    | Feb 09, 2017

    David Breland
    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 2016 Community Leader of the Year is Dr. David Breland, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Seattle Children's Hospital.

    Dr. David Breland joined the faculty at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the 2009 and is now Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and became Clinical Director since 2015. His research interests include adolescent male health, depression, transgender youth and disenfranchised youth. He has authored many book chapters and research articles and is a national leader on these topics. He has been a champion of gender affirming care for the last six years and has recently opened the Seattle Children's Gender Clinic. This clinic is the only multidisciplinary clinic in our region for youth who are transgender or gender nonconforming. Only five children’s hospitals in the country have clinics dedicated to caring for young people with gender identity concerns. The Gender Clinic works to create best practices for children, adolescents, and young adults, working to coordinate care all in one location. As Clinic Director, David is committed to providing the highest levels of care to young patients who often struggle to navigate the healthcare system. He has been actively involved with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and has been the Co-chair of Project Alpha, a nationally recognized program in conjunction with the March of Dimes to teach young men about relationships and STDs. David is Board President of Seattle Counseling Services and a member of the Seattle Men’s Chorus for six years. He received Seattle Met Magazine’s Top Doctor Recognition in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.
  • GSBA supports statewide tourism marketing campaign

    | Feb 08, 2017

    The GSBA Board of Directors, acting on the recommendations of the Public Policy Task Force and Public Policy Council, has voted to endorse HB 1123 / SB 5251 to establish an independent industry-led Tourism Marketing Authority for our state.

    Washington is currently the only state in the country without a tourism marketing program. Competing western states spend between $7-50 million per year. With our state’s incredible cultural and natural amenities, tourism is already our 4th largest industry, with visitors spending $21 billion each year, contributing $1.8 billion in state and local tax revenue and supporting 170,500 jobs. Tourism consumer marketing returns at least $25 in new visitor spending for each $1 spent, one of the largest returns on investment we could have. This effort will expand the benefits of tourism in rural and economically distressed regions of the state, and will generate tax dollars from out-of-state interests to help fund other state priorities.

    With our commitment to marketing our region as an LGBT-friendly destination, GSBA enthusiastically supports this effort to support our small businesses, communities around the entire state, and generate funding for a wide range of priorities.

    Track the bill here.
    More information from the Washington Tourism Alliance | FAQs

  • Community Leader of the Year: Aidan Key

    | Feb 08, 2017

    Aidan Key
    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 2016 Community Leader of the Year is Aidan Key, Gender Diversity.

    Through hard work, strong leadership, and community organizing since 1982, Aidan Key has brought Seattle to the forefront of support for the trans community. The positive impact of programs he has founded for teens and children is unparalleled. As an educator, author, speaker, and organizer, Aidan’s work has helped countless families with trans children, professionals working with trans patients and clients, and trans adults. He wrote the chapter on trans youth in the landmark Trans Bodies, Trans Selves manual. In 2001, building on the work of earlier transgender pioneers, Aidan founded the Gender Odyssey conference, then in 2007, the Gender Odyssey Family conference for families with transgender children, and GO Professional Seminar for professionals and providers. Aidan has the largest network of support groups in the nation at Seattle Children’s Hospital for parents of transgender and gender non-conforming children. These groups are now an integral part of the new Gender Clinic at Seattle Children’s founded by Dr. David Breland. To support the work of all these trailblazing trainings and support groups, he founded Gender Diversity: Education and Support Services and serves as the organization’s director. He was named an inaugural member of the Trans 100 Awards in 2013 and helped Three Dollar Bill Cinema launch the Seattle Translations Film Festival. Aidan is a past GSBA scholar and has been a member since 2008

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.
  • Special Recognition - Voice for Economic Justice: Dow Constantine, King County Executive

    | Feb 07, 2017

    Dow ConstantineThe GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 2016 Special Recognition - Voice for Economic Justice is awarded to Dow Constantine, King County Executive

    West Seattle native Dow Constantine has a strong record of public service, working as an intern and legislative assistant before being elected himself as a Representative and then Senator from the 34th District. Appointed to the King County Council in 2002, he was then elected as King County Executive in 2009. He has focused on instilling a culture of performance that changes the way King County does business, while forging partnerships with residents, cities, employees, and other County leaders to craft real, sustainable reforms. Dow led the County’s efforts to enroll nearly 200,000 uninsured residents in affordable healthcare, has been a strong champion of regional mass transit, and is an outspoken advocate for environmental protection. One of the focuses of his second term as County Executive is building equity and opportunity. With that in mind, in August 2016, Dow signed an executive order making King County the largest county in the country to track the number of public contracts awarded to LGBT-owned businesses. Within weeks, LGBT businesses and nonprofits gained access to and won contracts from King County. As he signed the order, County Executive Constantine stated, “We are once again putting King County at the national forefront of social change and justice. We are stronger when we reduce barriers to opportunity so everyone can fully participate in our economy. By supporting local LGBT entrepreneurs, we are making progress toward a just, equitable society.”

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.
  • New Business of the Year: 701 Coffee

    | Feb 06, 2017

    Sara Mae Brereton and Rachel Brereton, Co-Owners
    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    The 2016 New Business of the Year is 701 Coffee.

    701 Coffee opened its doors two years ago in the Central District as a community-oriented and inclusive gathering place for the neighborhood. Owners Sara Mae and Rachel Brereton wanted to be the kind of business they preferred to patronize, one where all customers are treated with respect and compassion. Many of their customers are LGBT and some are homeless. Having experienced homelessness themselves, they knew what it felt like to be turned away, treated as invisible. As a result, they’ve served many homeless youth on the house, no questions asked, no judgments made. They were proud to have worked their way out of being homeless, into being business owners and wanted to “pay it forward”. Within a year of opening, construction on 23rd Avenue nearly shuttered the shop. The massive roadwork along this vibrant arterial had a devastating financial impact on all of the business in the path of construction – most of them minority owned neighborhood small businesses. With the grit it takes to work your way out of homelessness while raising four children, the Breretons led the community action effort in 2016, demanding compensation from the City of Seattle for losses resulting in $685,000 (approximately $25,000 per store) paid to the businesses impacted by the construction. Still holding strong at 23rd and Cherry, their innovation continues as they launching a second venture, homemade cashew cheese.

    GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards | Feb 16 | Seattle Marriott Waterfront
    Learn more about the Awards and Recipients here.

  • In Memoriam: Anna Melle Hilgermann

    | Feb 06, 2017

    Dear GSBA Members and friends,

    Anna Melle HilgermannIt is with great sorrow that we let you know that Anna Melle Hilgermann, a great Pioneer in LGBT rights died early Monday morning, December 26, 2016.

    It wasn’t that long ago that GSBA honored Anne with a Special Recognition, Voice for Social Justice Award.

    To learn about Anne’s deep commitment to social justice is to learn about our history. Anne Melle was a lifelong activist for social justice, long before she even knew what that meant. She has spent the majority of her life helping parents understand and accept their gay kids, as well as helping gay kids understand their parents.

    Long into her 90’s, Anne continued on with her work as a board member of Seattle Out and Proud, the organization that puts on Seattle’s Pride Festival.

    Anne's involvement with the LGBT community started years before her own two gay sons came out to her. In the 1960's her hairdresser (who had a gay son) asked for Anne's support and go with her to a Parents of Gays meeting in Chicago. (This group was organized by the pioneering homosexual rights Mattachine Society years before PFLAG was established.) Moved by the wrenching stories she heard Anne quickly became a skilled meeting facilitator. Thus she began a lifelong effort to help parents understand and accept their LGBT kids, LGBT kids to understand their parents, and to fight hard for full rights for all LGBT people as if they were her own grandchildren.

    Parents of Gays incorporated with PFLAG in the early 1970's, and Anne began her 40-year association with PFLAG. She continued working in Chicago until moving to rural Maine where she encountered a very different set of issues confronting LGBT people. After 15 years Anne moved to Seattle where she has worked continually at Seattle PFLAG. In 2007 she received recognition from National PFLAG for her outstanding service to PFLAG and LGBT communities across the country. Besides her PFLAG work Anne has served with much pleasure for several years on the board of Seattle Out and Proud, the organization that puts on Seattle's Pride Parade and related activities.

    Aware of other people facing all sorts of discriminations and inequalities, Anne has worked on many non-LGBT projects over these same years. These included co-founding a food bank, volunteering as a public school teacher's aide, teaching women how to better manage their finances, collecting clothing for children of battered women, and providing emotional support for elderly folks at a nursing home.

    Anne was always ready to respond to any need and help as many people realize their full potentials and help build a community that treats all people with kindness, dignity, and equality. We will miss you Anne but are forever grateful to you for your commitment and love you gave so freely to the LGBT community.

    -- Louise Chernin, President & CEO, GSBA