Community News

Congrats to 2022 PNC LGBT Business Award Winner, Beyond the Bell Tours!

Philadelphia, PA (May 2022) – The Independence Business Alliance is excited to announce the recipient of the 12th Annual PNC Bank $5,000 LGBT Business Award, given by PNC Bank to an LGBT or allied IBA-member business that is poised to grow, innovate, and give back to the community. This year, the award goes to LGBTQ-focused Beyond the Bell Tours in Philadelphia!
 
Beyond the Bell tours are a social enterprise committed to “Putting the People Back in People’s History.” They create inclusive historical walking tours of Philadelphia highlighting marginalized communities, peoples, and histories. They tell stories of people they love and admire. People who have shaped our city through movements, activism, and resistance.
 
Rebecca Fisher (she/her/hers), who co-founded the business with Joey Leroux (he/him/his), had this to say about what the $5,000 means to their organization: “In this moment while anti-LGBTQ+ laws are being passed across the country, we are heading towards light and love by celebrating our LGBTQ  ancestors who have fought for our rights before us on our 2022 Pride Trolley Tour. We are grateful to IBA and PNC for their support in helping us tell LGBTQ stories with pride this June.”
 
IBA Executive Director Zach Wilcha says, “We are incredibly grateful for PNC’s commitment to our organization and the our community’s small businesses. As a founding corporate partner of the IBA, their PNC LGBT Business Award has impacted innovative and creative businesses for 11 years now, and we can’t wait to celebrate future winners.”
 
Congratulations to Beyond the Bell Tours, and all of the other incredible applicants!
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Philadelphia Area Alliance of Diverse Chambers of Commerce Announce New Coalition To Work Collectively for Economic Growth

October 6, 2021 | For Immediate Release
Philadelphia, PA — Today, the Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia, a collective of local diverse chambers of commerce, announced a formal partnership to focus on working collaboratively to facilitate entrepreneurship and growth, to advocate collectively on shared issues, and to increase each member’s organizational efficiency. The Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia (DCCPHL) includes the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Independence Business Alliance (Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce). This announcement coincides with Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week 2021, which highlights Philadelphia’s minority businesses and the resources that help them grow.

The diverse business communities represented by the alliance of chambers account for an annual estimated contribution of more than $3 trillion to the U.S. economy. The DCCPHL will work collectively, as a community, to meet the unique challenges minority business enterprises face when they engage with our local economy. With the goal of economic uplift for and within the diverse minority business community, this coalition will speak with a united voice on issues where members unanimously align. This collective will aim to identify areas of collaboration among diverse businesses and will advocate for the advancement of policies that support the growth of diverse-owned companies at the tables where decisions are made. This partnership will work together to advocate for, educate, and connect our businesses for the greater good.

“Minority-owned businesses are the pillar of their communities and are the key to the revitalization of neighborhoods across our region. This coalition will be crucial in uplifting their efforts and ensuring minority-owned businesses have a stronger voice in the inclusive growth of our City,” said Regina A. Hairston, CEO & President of the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE.
““For the past year and a half going through the pandemic, one lesson learned is that small and micro diverse business issues were not understood and not well served. There is a strong need to focus on these businesses to help them provide jobs to contribute to the local and regional economy,” said Narasimha Shenoy, President of the Board of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia. “Asian businesses alone account for 10% of businesses in the city, with 9700 hundred of them having more than one employee. Diverse chambers are organized to meet unique needs of its businesses. The Diverse Chambers Coalition will collectively advocate to better serve our diverse small and micro businesses to grow the local and regional economy.”
Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce noted, “Diverse small businesses are the backbone of our communities, but they often feel powerless. Bringing the diverse chambers together through this coalition will enable us to be more effective in advocating for the policies and resources that will help small diverse businesses thrive.”
“Diverse Chamber Coalition leaders have realized through our collaborative efforts that we can better advocate for our businesses, especially small ones which comprise the backbone of the city’s economy, when we speak with a unified voice,” said Zachary Wilcha, Executive Director of the Independence BUsiness Alliance. “Demonstrating commitment to diversity is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the smartest thing to do for businesses large and small. This coalition is unified behind a common theme: Diversity is good for business; and that’s good for Philadelphia.

For additional information, please contact:

Regina A. Hairston, President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE rhairston@aachamber.org

Narasimha Shenoy, Chairman Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia
nshenoy@asianchamberphila.org

Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce
jrodriguez@philahispanicchamber.org

Zachary Wilcha, Executive Director, Independence Business Alliance
zach@thinkiba.com

About the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE: The AACC is the leading advocate for minority owned business in the Delaware Valley and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Its purpose is to enhance the growth and effectiveness of African-American owned businesses in the Delaware Valley, and thereby, to improve the economic conditions within the regional African-American community. Its primary goal is to further the interests of businesses by responding to the needs of the business community and serving as an advocate for the purpose of increasing economic opportunities for the African-American community. https://www.aachamber.com/

About the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia:The AACC promotes and fosters relationships between Asian American and non-Asian communities, providing technical assistance and educational services for the start-up and growth of Asian American businesses, and bringing together Asian American business owners and professions, serving as a liaison between the federal, state and local governments and other chambers of commerce organizations, and promoting education programs to increase awareness of Asian American businesses. We are dedicated to promoting regional economic growth between Asian & non-Asian businesses while advancing business-friendly public policies, servicing our members through outstanding programs, benefits, and services. https://asianchamberphila.org/

About the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce: Established in 1990, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GPHCC) is a not-for-profit organization devoted to promoting the advancement and economic growth of Hispanic businesses and professionals in the greater Philadelphia region. We accomplish this through educational programs, and a broad range of services and special events. The GPHCC proactively serves a diverse membership—consisting of entrepreneurs, Latino businesses, Latino professionals, corporations and government—with the overriding goal of helping these critical constituencies capitalize on the many opportunities their diversity, enhanced by our Latino multicultural mix, offers. Our Mission is to develop, promote and advocate for Hispanic business in the Greater Philadelphia region while encouraging the advancement and economic growth of the Hispanic community. https://www.philahispanicchamber.org/

About the Independence Business Alliance: The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce. The IBA provides opportunities, access and resources to LGBTQ+ businesses, LGBTQ+ professionals, and our visible allies in the Greater Philadelphia area. The mission of the Independence Business Alliance is to promote Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ business and leadership communities to enhance financial opportunities, foster diversity, develop leadership and collaboration, and advocate for positive change. www,thinkiba.com

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IBA Holiday Party 2021

IBA Holiday Party 2021 December 14th, 6pm – 9pm Morris House Hotel, Philadelphia

It’s been too long. We can’t wait to see you and celebrate in person! This year’s Holiday Party will:

· Take place under a large, open, heated tent in a courtyard
· Have indoor and outdoor areas to match everyone’s comfort level
· Require folks to wear masks when indoors and not eating or drinking
· Be full of lite fare options and have an open select bar
· Require a proof of vaccination
· Be capped at a number which falls safely within regulations of the venue and City

The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is a membership-based business organization dedicated to making the Philadelphia region an influential and diverse LGBTQ+ business community with an impact on economic development, business equality, and policy issues. The IBA is a proud official affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). IBA serves more than 750 professionals across over 300 member businesses in Greater Philadelphia. There are more than 70 Certified LGBT Business Enterprises in IBA’s footprint, which collectively generate nearly half a billion dollars of revenue each year.

The annual IBA Holiday Party has become the largest LGBTQ+ holiday gathering of its kind in the Greater Philadelphia region, where members and non-members alike join together to celebrate the holiday spirit and network one last time before the new year. Our last Holiday Party in 2019 was our largest ever, and brought more than 300 together for holiday cheer and business success! The event has become an exciting way to engage business sponsors who would like exposure to our members and their companies.

TICKET PRICES:
-Tickets are selling fast and we WILL sell out!
-Early Bird prices have ended. After November 25th, ticket prices are $100 for IBA Members, and $120 for Non-Members.
-Not a member but know you want to come to the event? Become a member NOW so that you can receive the Member-discount ticket price!
-Can’t make the event in-person and want to support the IBA? Purchase a $90 “Support from Home (not attending)” ticket at any time to show your support!

Purchase your tickets here!

Email Operations Coordinator kai@thinkiba.com with any questions.

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Presenting: Our IBA Holiday Party 2019 Sponsors!

We are so grateful to this dynamic group of LGBTQ+ and allied supporters. Thank you all for your support of the Independence Business Alliance!

Presenting Sponsor
Philly AIDS Thrift | Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room

Hospitality Sponsors
The Curtis Atrium by Constellation Culinary
Industry and Commerce Imageworks

Cheer Sponsors
44 Business Capital
Borgata
Independence Blue Cross
PHLDiversity

Good Tidings Sponsors
Gian-Grasso, Tomczak, & Hufe, P.C.
GSK
KASHIYAMA
Tavern Group

Silver Bell Sponsors
Berner Klaw
Broadway Grille
Cuba Libre
Dr. Michelle Angello
Fulton Bank
Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia
Insperity
Integrity Staffing Solutions
Live Nation
Metropolis
MTR Therapy
Phillies
Sellers Dorsey

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IBA + IBX LGBTQ Health Fair

The Health Fair is back! This one-of-a-kind event, in combination with our popular monthly ConnX mixer, will take place on Monday, October 21st from 5pm to 7:30pm at Independence LIVE space, conveniently located at 20th and Market in Center City, Philadelphia.
This third annual LGBTQ health & wellness event will provide unique opportunities for IBA members to purchase vending space, and all are welcome to attend, network, and learn more about LGBTQ-friendly wellness services in our community.
The Health Fair will also feature cooking and exercise demonstrations, all set in a state-of-the-art space that is dedicated to wellness. In addition to drawing our regular ConnX crowd, this event will be highly publicized and open to the public.

We welcome any health or wellness related businesses to join us by tabling! (Nutrition, fitness, stress management, family health, financial health, legal, dental, hospitals, technology, massage, etc.)

We look forward to celebrating the wellbeing of the community with you!

Register here

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Congrats to 2019 PNC Award Winner, MTR Therapy

Philadelphia, PA (May 2019) – The Independence Business Alliance held their Business Leaders Luncheon presented by Bristol-Myers Squibb at the Lucy on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, commemorating the growth and achievement in the Greater Philadelphia LGBT business community with a full house of LGBTQA leaders.

The afternoon featured a presentation of the 9th annual PNC Bank $10,000 LGBT Business Award, given by PNC Bank to an LGBT or allied IBA-member business that is poised to grow, innovate, and give back to the community.

Winners from the last few years have gone on to do incredible things with the award from building a website to increase book sales to establishing a mentoring program to creating a method of using technology to prevent bias in the hiring process. Winners from the last few years have gone on to do incredible things with the award from building a website to increase book sales to establishing a mentoring program to creating a method of using technology to prevent bias in the hiring process.

This year, the award went to certified LGBT-owned business, MTR Therapy. Founded and led by Michael Tyler Ramos, MTR Therapy was established in March 2015 as a solo practice but quickly grew into a group practice. They have a primary office location in Rittenhouse Square and additional locations at the William Way Center and in Lawrenceville NJ. They are open 7 days a week and also offer virtual services to those individuals to those who are unable to be seen at one of their locations.

The Mission of MTR Therapy is to increase accessibility for all to obtain high quality mental health services within our diverse communities. They operate from a holistic approach, integrating the mind and body to support all individuals along their journey. They are intentional in working with the communities they are a part of and having staff reflect those communities. Their mantra is services for the community by the community.

Their PNC Award-winning proposal is a Young Adult Initiative Career and Identity Development Group for people of color who identify as LGBTQ+ and are within the ages of 18-25 – an 8-week group they have developed to support LGBTQ youth of color. Additionally, they will leverage the practice foundation in trauma and provide individualized care to those who are in need of additional support to ensure completion of such a group. As insurance will not cover the costs of the services provided, the PNC Award grant will support MTR’s mission of increasing access to the community. This program aligns with the goals of PNC and the IBA in providing a healthy space for LGBTQ youth of color to process their identity as well as explore their college and career goals.

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2018 IBA/DVLF Scholarship Winner: Jiahong Xu

The IBA and DVLF extend our sincere congratluations to Jiahong Xu! Jiahong is a student leader and alumni fellow at the Wharton School where he is an MBA candidate. Hailing from a small, conservative village in China, he grew up to be the first person in his family to attend college. After working with the LGBT group at his college and graduating he joined the team at Accenture, where he did pro bono consulting for many LGBT organizations. At Wharton, he’s helped connect Chinese companies to network with LGBT students and has helped organize panels about making Wharton and others places of business more inclusive places.

In 2016, he was awarded the World Economic Forum Annual Global Shaper Award out of 5300+ applicants for his long journey in pushing LGBTQ equality agenda in working place.

His goals to advocate equality for LGBTQ community will not stop after graduating from Wharton. Instead, he says this will be a beginning of a new yet more exciting journey. He plans to leverage his previous experience and his network to launch a platform to help young LGBTQ talents to come to fruition.

In the short run, his goal is to bridge similar opportunities with LGBTQ individuals. In the long run, the mission of his platform is really to create career opportunities for our community. He plans to organize career panels and specific training workshops to better facilitate those young talents to fit into new roles. Lastly, he will launch a mentorship program that pairs up a senior LGBTQ professional or an ally with a junior talent.

We are thrilled to welcome Jiahong to our list of worthy winners.

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Wells Fargo and NGLCC Award $5,000 to IBA for Supplier Diversity Initiative

The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is proud to announce that the chamber was awarded a $5,000 grant on Thursday, August 25th at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s (NGLCC) 2016 International Business & Leadership Conference in Palm Springs, California.

Funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and administered by the NGLCC, this grant was awarded to expand capacity and offer technical assistance to the IBA ConnX Supplier Diversity Initiative. The main goal of the program is to foster the development, growth, and sustainability of certified LGBT business enterprises (LGBTBEs®).

“The IBA ConnX Supplier Diversity Initiative has become a vital resource to our members as they develop their businesses and engage in strategic planning,” said Rich Harrow, IBA President. “The program supports our mission of supporting our members through business growth, education, and advocacy. We are thrilled to receive this generous grant from Wells Fargo and NGLCC which will allow us to expand and enrich our program.”

“Wells Fargo is a proud, long-time supporter of NGLCC, and we share their commitment to helping small business owners succeed financially,” said Lisa Stevens, head of Small Business for Wells Fargo. “We are dedicated to providing funding that will support their entrepreneurship and leadership training programs, along with educational tools and resources to help diverse-owned business in communities across America grow and thrive.”

“The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is excited to see the Independence Business Alliance grow as an organization and a voice in the LGBT owned and allied businesses community. They have shown tremendous growth in the size of their business membership and outreach programs, embodying the mission that NGLCC has continuously strived for,” said Sam McClure, NGLCC Senior Vice President.

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NGLCC Honors IBA with National Chamber Excellence Community Impact Award

 

 

Philadelphia, PA – The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is proud to announce that the chamber was honored for excellence in community impact on Thursday, August 25th at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)’s 2016 International Business & Leadership Conference in Palm Springs, California.

 

“We are proud to receive recognition for both our Awards and Philanthropy Initiative as well as our Women in Business program,” said Zach Wilcha, IBA’s Executive Director. “Every year, we work hard to make a difference in our community. We’ve collaborated with small businesses, corporate partners and philanthropic groups in order to shine a light on the importance of diversity and giving back to the community and we don’t plan to stop now. We look forward to growing these programs so that we can leave an even greater impact on our community.”

 

NGLCC recognized the IBA for its Awards and Philanthropy Initiative, a program of awards dedicated to shining a spotlight on the local Greater Philadelphia LGBT business community, giving back to the community at large and building the leaders of tomorrow. In that effort, IBA has partnered with various community, philanthropic and corporate partners to create an exemplary awards program that includes an annual LGBTQ Scholarship in partnership with The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, the LGBT Business Award in partnership with PNC Bank, the Business Integrity Award in partnership with Integrity Staffing, and many other empowering endeavors. “NGLCC affiliate chambers like the IBA are using their relationships with corporate partners and advocacy groups to open doors for LGBT professionals creating more inclusive communities,” said Sam McClure, NGLCC Senior Vice President. “It is what makes IBA a role model for other LGBT Chambers.”

 

NGLCC also recognized the IBA for its Women in Business (WiB) program, designed specifically to increase the involvement of women in IBA activities and programs as well as the LGBT community at large. Over the past three years, the number of women who have join the IBA has risen exponentially greatly increasing the visibility of LBT women in IBA and the LGBT business community at large.

 

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Philadelphia Business Journal: LGBT Awards

IBA media partner, Philadelphia Business Journal, presents the 2016 LGBT Awards. This event will recognize the top 25 LGBT owned companies as well as the top LGBT Business Advocates.

 

Update: Nominations have closed as of Friday, September 16th. Mark your calendar for November 10th’s award ceremony.

Ticketing: IBA members receive discounted tickets with codeIBA2016″ – available for purchase here.

2016 Honorees

Chip Alfred
Philadelphia FIGHT

Rachel Stevenson
OutWord Today
LGBT Equity Alliance

Brian Seaman
Stradley Ronon

Danielle Ryan
Fox Rothschild

David Huting
PNC Wealth Management

Jason Derstine
Alura Business Solutions

Jade Gasper
Mark It Alternatives

Angela Giampolo
Giampolo Law Group

Rosalind Sutch
Ally/Advocate
Drucker & Scacetti

Sean Montgomery & Todd Bavol
Integrity Staffing Solutions

Scott Gray
Gray Consulting International

David Schellenberg
LinguiSearch

David Jefferys
Altus Agency

Cecilia Isaacs-Blundin
Comcast

Marc Coleman
Tactile Group

Tracy Levesque & Mia Levesque
Yikes Inc.

LGBT Companies

These companies are either headquartered or do a substantial amount of business in Greater Philadelphia. They all received a perfect 100 score from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation on corporate equality.
American Airlines

Bank of America

Blank Rome LLP

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Caesar’s Entertainment Corp.

Campbell Soup Co.

CBRE Inc.

Chubb Corp.

Comcast NBCUniversal

Dechert LLP

Deloitte LLP

EY

Exelon

IKEA Holding US Inc.

KPMG LLP

Lincoln National Corp.

Merck & Co. Inc.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Pepper Hamilton LLP

PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

Reed Smith LLP

SAP America Inc.

TD Bank N.A.

Vanguard Group Inc.

Wells Fargo & Co.

Questions about the event?  Contact Jason Garrison at jgarrison@bizjournals.com

Sponsorship Inquiries? Contact Ron Maver at rmaver@bizjournals.com

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Gloria Casarez: 1971-2014

The IBA joins the City of Philadelphia, the LGBT Community and all those touched by her life in mourning the passing of Gloria Casarez! She lent her voice so that others might have one! THANK YOU, GLORIA! We are a better city and a stronger community because of you!

Our condolences & sincerest symapathies go out to all of her friends and family, particularly her wife, Tricia Dressel and her Mom, Elisa Gonzalez.

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One Step Closer to Ending Workplace Discrimination

Another landmark victory for LGBT people has been added to a year of historic change in our nation. Thank you for doing your part to help the LGBT business movement reach this moment:

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the Senate yesterday in a 64-32 vote!

Our voice has been heard this year:

Watch this video from the White House on why ENDA is important not only to President Obama but also to the core values of the American people. Discrimination is “bad for business.”

Congratulations and stay tuned for further updates on efforts to getting it passed in the House–and into law!

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