Members

Membership Spotlight: Mark Katelhon (he/him/his)

Description of product or service:
I am a Financial Advisor who helps LGBTQ clients gain financial clarity in today’s fast paced times. I have an unequalled passion for educating people in the LGBT community on retirement planning risks and protecting themselves and their loved ones. I have almost 30 years experience in serving the community in the areas of life & disability insurance, group health plans as well as investments and wealth management. My clients include individuals, professionals, small businesses and their families.

How many years have you been with company or in business?
I have been with Lincoln Financial for 3 years and in the financial services business for almost 30 years.

What company or organization you respect most and why?
I greatly respect Inter-American University in San Juan Puerto Rico. They treated me as one of their own the entire time I attended the English-speaking trimester program. IAU is middle states accredited by the Middle States Higher Education Association in Philadelphia. The University was founded in 1902 and has an ABA accredited Law school as well. If I come into a lot of money, I will remember IAU in my estate plans.

Which business leader or innovator do you most want to emulate and why?
Probably Mark Segal from the PGN. He is an innovator, publisher and author and believes in our community. He refused to back down from politicians or the police when it was dangerous to do so and we all have benefited from the inroads that he paved for us. His courage has enabled the local LGBT community to thrive and prosper.

What is the most important business decision you’ve made to date?
The two most important business decisions I have made are joining the IBA and transitioning my financial insurance and investment practice over to Lincoln Financial from another company.

What is the most important life decision you’ve made to date?
The most important life decision that I made was to go back to graduate school in 1993 and earn an MBA in 1996 from Inter American University in San Juan, PR. It was a totally rewarding experience. I was immersed in a Spanish speaking environment both at school and in everyday life on the island. Additionally, Puerto Rico has a rich and diverse LGBT community. In fact, it was someone from the LGBT community, Ben Gillespie that started the St. Patrick’s Day parade on the island.

When and why did you join the IBA?
I joined the IBA to make friends and create new business contacts in the LGBT community. I could not think of a better way to accomplish both objectives. And the IBA staff has been supportive as well giving us platforms to meet people such as the Virtual Coffee hour and Connx.

Since joining the IBA, what has been the greatest advantage to you and your business being a member of the Chamber?
The greatest advantage to joining the IBA has been to give me access to business, professionals and entrepreneurs in the LGBT community. Joining the IBA has opened doors that otherwise would not have been opened.

What is your proudest moment, honor, or achievement?
My proudest achievement was obtaining a 3.88/4.0 MBA in Finance and Marketing from IAU

What programs, outreach, or organizations are you involved in that give back to the community?
I have been a sponsor for the Elder Care Initiative as well as have participated in their events. Supporting LGBT seniors is a passion of mine. I have also provided free workshops at the William Way Center over the years on different financial topics to all that show up. I met a lot of diverse and really nice people there.

What is a little known fact about you?
I’m really shy and had to overcome this by practicing public speaking and standing in front of a mirror memorizing a speech until it became second nature.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I like to explore new restaurants in the city and suburbs. Especially Fishtown and Northern Liberties.

To date, what has been your most favorite vacation spot?
My favorite vacation spot over the years has been the Island of Puerto Rico. Since my first trip there in 1986, I have been back and forth at least 40-50 times. I liked it so much that I moved there to attend graduate school. The weather is great, and the people are very friendly. I also like Fort Lauderdale and Orlando for quick get-a-ways.

What is the last book you read?
“I will teach you to be Rich” by Ramit Sethi

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>, <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/news/" rel="category tag">News</a>, <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/uncategorized/" rel="category tag">Uncategorized</a>

Member Spotlight: Braxton Fleming (he/him/his)

Description of product or service:
We are a luxury supply company that specializes in Hormone Replacement Dopp Kits for the transgender and allied communities. Our mission is to give shot day a better overall experience, by offering a sleek product that keeps your HRT/Personal Needs organized and prepared no matter where you are. We are travel friendly but also used right at home. We know how stressful life can be and adding on medication weekly, or biweekly. We make taking your shot a breeze, no matter where you are.

How many years have you been with company or in business?
3

What company or organization you respect most and why?
The organization that I respect the most is NGLCC, they have welcomed me into the chamber like I was their son. There is no other business-related organization of such caliber that makes you feel like family as much as the members of NGLCC.

Which business leader or innovator do you most want to emulate and why?
I look up to Gary Vaynerchuck hands down the greatest entrepreneur of our time, his whole persona and go getter attitude with the most gracious empathy for all people while creating and making heart-felt content. The fact he honors and respects his parents for raising him the way they did, for him to become such a great influencer of our time. This is special to me because I believe both of my parents had a major impact on my current status as an adult today. I owe them everything that is coming to me because they place the wisdom, integrity and strength within me to make it this far.

What is the most important business decision you’ve made to date?
The very first business decision I made was the most important, it was to weigh the risk with reward to start this brand. Without taking that huge risk of losing it all was one of the biggest decisions to get this brand started.

What is the most important life decision you’ve made to date?
Most important life decision was to transition, I honestly felt as though I was in fetus form before my transition. It was necessary to become who I am today because I wouldn’t be where I am at this very moment, that major life shift has put me on a track where I feel my most confident and focused.

When and why did you join the IBA?
I recently join the IBA in 2020, because I was invited to NYC Chamber Event in late 2019 and the warmth and networking connections there made me want to became a member of Chamber within my own community.

Since joining the IBA, what has been the greatest advantage to you and your business being a member of the Chamber?
The networking opportunities and the ability to help people reach one another within our LGBTQ community even if their current status doesn’t hold value to you, it may be of help to someone else you know. The sharing and caring of business is the greatest advantage.

What is your proudest moment, honor, or achievement?
My proudest moment was when I was explaining this business idea to my father who is also an entrepreneur, and I said “Dad I ordered 300 bags to kick start my business!” and when I explain what I was doing and the business plan behind it, he replied “Do you think 300 bags is enough?!” At that moment I knew I had something of great need for my community and not only did I know it but the man I always looked up to confirm its’ greatness.

What programs, outreach, or organizations are you involved in that give back to the community?
We have worked with several transgender own businesses to help promote and give back to the community. Such as Point of Pride Organization, Black Trans TV, Flavnt Streetwear and many more. We also have a special fund where portions of our sales goes to our Stealth Bros Support Fund, where we give back yearly to the transgender community whether it be help with Top Surgery Funds or ordinary transgender supplies that are needed for our daily living.

What is a little known fact about you?
I am obsessed with the gym; it is an essential part of my daily growth and overall mental health.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I do love to indulge on a good cigar with a nice glass of cognac on ice.

To date, what has been your most favorite vacation spot?
My favorite vacation spot thus far has to be California, I truly love California.

What is the last book you read?
7 Daily Habits of Highly Effective People

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>, <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/uncategorized/" rel="category tag">Uncategorized</a>

Member in the Spotlight: Mallory Hanfling

Description of product or service:
Courage To Grow Counseling is a Queer-friendly outpatient therapy practice located in South Philly. Using mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and psychodynamic approaches, I work with my clients in a supportive, non-judgmental, and compassionate space to better understand themselves… why they may choose to do things, and cope in ways, that have been unproductive, problematic or even harmful to their wellbeing. Through mindfulness we develop new skills that promote peace & serenity.

How many years have you been with company or in business?
1

What company or organization you respect most and why?
I’m a huge fan of the Walnut Psychotherapy Center, Attic Youth Center, Morris House, Galaei, and The Therapy Center of Philadelphia. I hope that once my business grows I can emulate their financial accessibility to the community I love, other than my current sliding scale, and offer Queer-intersectional competence training for emerging clinicians and build another safe space in our city.

Which business leader or innovator do you most want to emulate and why?
I want to emulate the likes of Brené Brown, Jen Sincero, and Danna Bodenheimer. These women have been professional role models and have courageously created things they believed in, and believed in themselves in the process. They modeled permission to take risks and kick ass!

What is the most important business decision you’ve made to date?
Believing in myself enough to take a huge risk, quit my financially comfortable job in a high school with students I loved, and be my own boss.
What is the most important life decision you’ve made to date?
Being Out and Proud. I know that being able to be Out and Proud is a privilege, and I choose to use that privilege to create a safe space to encourage others to be their most authentic selves and help them feel comfortable in their own skin. I am grateful for the support I had while coming out, and my hope is to do the same for as many other people as I can.

When and why did you join the IBA?
I joined the IBA this past summer to connect with other Queer business owners and learn more about the LGBTQIA* community.

Since joining the IBA, what has been the greatest advantage to you and your business being a member of the Chamber?
I love meeting new people at the ConnX events and developing new professional relationships with the people I meet through IBA. There is so much collective knowledge for success in this group of humans and I am grateful to learn as much as possible!

What is your proudest moment, honor, or achievement?
Choosing myself. I mean this in a couple of different ways. Feel free to ask me about it the next time you see me 🙂

What programs, outreach, or organizations are you involved in that give back to the community?
I am a Board Member on the Events Committee with The Spruce Foundation. The Spruce Foundation is an all-volunteer, next-gen-led non-profit based on Philadelphia. We’re focused on cultivating the next generation of philanthropists through community giving and grant-making in support of Philadelphia’s youth. I’m hosting a Cabaret to fundraise our LGBTQIA* grant (last year’s winner was Galaei) on 2/21 at Ruba Club! I hope to see you there!
What is a little known fact about you?
Yo hablo Español. Ik spreek ook en klein beetje Nederlands.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Donuts. All of the donuts.

To date, what has been your most favorite vacation spot?
My favorite place I have been so far is Amsterdam. Everything there is full of history and charm, and mostly love and joy. I have family friends in Amstelveen, right outside of the city center, and my Dutch family make Amsterdam feel like home away from home. Gezellig!

What is the last book you read?
Jen Sincero’s “You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life.” This book was actually the impetus to take the leap and begin Courage To Grow Counseling. Highly recommended if you want to uncover your own bad-assery!!

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>

LGBTBE in the Spotlight: Windows Management Experts

Description of product/service of your company:

WME is a leading system integrator for Microsoft Infrastructure, Security and Cloud solutions. A Microsoft Certified Partner with gold competencies in datacenter, device and deployment, cloud productivity, EMS and cloud platform; WME has over 50 years of combined experience and passion for transforming IT operations through the development of solutions, products and managed services that make the job of their customers easier. 

WME’s Strategic Services division concentrates on strategic talent strategies, partnerships and acquisitions partnering with organizations to assess and solve information technology challenges leveraging digital technologies — cloud, mobile, security, infrastructure, and data.

WME’s Managed Services for SMB is geared towards managing the entire IT footprint for small business (40-200 users) and our Tier 3 Managed Service focuses on providing Microsoft support for mid-market and enterprise clients.

How many years have you been with your company?

WME was founded in 2008.

What were you doing before you founded your business?

My background is actually in IT with a focus on systems management leveraging Microsoft management technologies and windows deployment solutions. I worked as a consultant for 20 years with Avanade, Microsoft, CSS and 1E before starting my business in 2008. I also dabbled in real estate shortly before starting my own business but we don’t discuss that now, lol.

What makes your business stand out when compared to other businesses in your field? 


The word focus comes to mind. We are a focused solution integrator with solutions in Microsoft infrastructure, cloud and security technologies. It’s what allows us to provide a deep level of expertise that are our clients and partners expect when bringing us in. Our focus is what allows us to stay ahead of new technology trends, train up on those trends and leverage the relationships to dogfood technologies we implement within our internal IT department at WME.

How has being a member of the LGBT community impacted your business, if at all? 


When I first started my career, the whole diversity and inclusive aspect was not well communicated and, in some cases, missing. You look around and you don’t see people like you. It definitely felt lonely working in corporate America with no group or support structure so you start to feel left out. There have been many times working in parts of the deep south and Midwest that you encounter those that are not supportive of who you are. It can be really a tough place to be in which is why being certified and making a stand is so important for me as the owner.

Why has WME decided to start its own supplier diversity program, and why is it important to you?

Over the course of the last 2 years and through our active involvement with the IBA and NGLCC we have met a ton of suppliers that we have partnered with to win bigger deals together. The power of partnership with suppliers is hugely important. What I found is those same suppliers could also be providing us with goods and services internally. It was at the annual IBA holiday party when this came to light when a large supplier/corporate partner and I spoke about WME providing managed services for their internal IT needs as well!! I just knew then that I had to formalize our program.  Not only that but it was important to set the stage formally that we are in fact open for business to work with diverse businesses. Communicating that on our website and formalizing our supplier diversity program raises the bar for us internally as well to be what we say we are namely a diverse and inclusive business.

It also is part of our mission this year to focus on our core values and emphasize that we are business with diversity and inclusion at our core representing also the values of Integrity, Open Communication, Leadership, Innovation, Partnership, Collaboration and Fun.

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I’ve already had several people reach out to us who want to work with WME because of our diversity and inclusion program. Our program simply provides a way for others to feel welcomed, supported and accepted to do business with WME as well as work for WME as an offshoot. I’m excited what the future holds for WME.

How has being a Certified LGBTBE through NGLCC impacted your business? 


Initially it was my husband Chris Querubin who was the advocate for WME to get certified. At that time, he was very involved with Equal Rights WA in WA state to get domestic partnerships on the ballot and I was a part of that. It was during that time people were really rallying around to make marriage available for all. This opened my eyes up to the possibility of making a stand as a LGBTE business in the technology community. Getting certified was the first step but it wasn’t until 2018 that we really started stepping up and leveraging our certification. The impact it had on the business is huge. We’ve showed up at the local events, building relationships with other suppliers and diversity supplier/procurement professionals in our area. For me it’s always been about partnerships since day one of my business and identifying other suppliers that can be a compliment to our solutions is key. I never rule out any contact I meet for I am meeting them for a reason bigger then I really know or recognize now.

What advice would you give to an LGBT person starting a business?

Show up at the events. Start building relationships with other suppliers today by identifying their core competencies and strengths to build your network and directory. You just never know who you will meet that could utilize their product or services. Next is be open. Be open to making a connection with no expectations. We are all in this together so let’s lift each other up and find non-competing areas we can partner together and win that billion dollar contract.

 

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>

Member in the Spotlight: Carolyn Natrin

Description of product/service of your company:

Insperity offers a unique HR outsourcing solution that makes it possible for small business owners to reduce their costs and mitigate their risks related to being an employer.

 

How many years have you been with your company?

I started my career as a Business Performance Advisor at Insperity in November of 2017.

 

Company or organization besides yours that you respect most:

I love companies that champion things like LGBT equality, sustainability, and social justice.  That’s why I like IBM, Microsoft, Gap, EY, Hyatt, Apple, Dropbox, Comcast, and local organizations like IBA, Equality Pennsylvania, William Way, Equality Forum, and so many others.

 

Business leader or innovator you want to emulate:

I’ve recently been reading good things about IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty, and Patagonia’s, CEO, Rose Macario. I’m secretly a huge fan of Queen Elizabeth I who ran a small country very well and didn’t shy away from making the hard decisions.

 

Most important business decision:

I spent most of my career providing HR solutions to very large companies in corporate America.  Choosing to become a Business Performance Advisor at Insperity was a difficult decision because I knew I’d be focused entirely on supporting the needs of small business owners, and I mistakenly thought their needs would be very different and outside of my knowledge base and comfort zone.  I decided to move forward with the job anyway based on Insperity’s stellar reputation and depth and breadth of services, and quickly learned that the challenges faced by small businesses aren’t all that different from large businesses.  Small companies just don’t have access to the same resources.  Insperity levels the playing field between a large and small employer by making big company resources available to the small business owner.  In this way, the work I do at Insperity is much more impactful and personally rewarding than anything I’ve done before, and I’ve never been happier.  Choosing to join the team at Insperity was the most important and best business decision I’ve ever made.

 

Most important life decision:

I have always strived to be authentic so I think coming out may be my most important life decision.  I want people to know who I am.

 

When and why you joined the IBA:

At Insperity, our mission is to help businesses succeed so communities prosper, and Business Performance Advisors like me are encouraged to work within our own communities.  IBA events are a fun way to tap into the local LGBT community to make new friends and valuable business connections.  I attended my first IBA ConnX in November 2017 and couldn’t believe how many people I met that night.  I became a member right away.  A year later, I no longer feel like I’m walking into a room full of strangers because I’ve made so many friends, yet there are always a ton of new faces at every event too.

 

Greatest advantage to being a member:

There’s a common bond between IBA members that feels almost like a sibling relationship.  IBA is so unlike other chambers in that way.

 

Proudest moment, honor, or achievement:

A few months before marriage equality became the law of the land, I legally married my long-time partner, and we’ll be celebrating 20 years together this year.

 

How are you involved with giving back to the community?

At Insperity, we’re committed to giving back to our communities and enriching the lives of others. Insperity’s philanthropic efforts totaled $6.2 million last year. As an Insperity employee, I’m happy that we’re required to participate in community involvement events on at least a quarterly basis. I’ve also been an active member of nonprofit committees and boards supporting the LGBT community, and I’m passionate about dog rescue (particularly boxers).

 

Little known fact:

When the weather is nice and temperatures are above 50 degrees, I’m a weekend landscape oil painter.

 

Guilty pleasure:

Hands down, my guilty pleasure is fine wine.

 

Favorite vacation spot:

Anywhere in Europe, but Italy and France in particular for the art, food, wine, and architecture.

 

Last book read:

No Man’s Land: Where Growing Companies Fail, Doug Tatum – loved it!  If you’re a small business owner, read it!!

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>

Member in the Spotlight: Gary Hines

How many years have you been with the company? 

3

Description of product/service of your company:

The Gary Hines Consulting Group, LLC – Project Management, Program Development and Coordination, Business Research and Analysis, Career Counseling

 

Company or organization besides yours that you respect most:

That is a tough one, but I’ll be democratic and say OIC- Opportunities Industrialization Center.  Started in Philadelphia by Rev. Leon Sullivan in the 60’s.  They have been providing economic and workforce empowerment to minorities and underserved communities for decades.  They are now a national organization.

 

Business leader or innovator you want to emulate:

 Again, extremely difficult to choose one, but I will say Jack Drummond who is the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement and a community activist.

 

Most important business decision:

To work on a big project for a government agency. The dilemma was whether I could handle the assignment.

 

Most important life decision:

Moving to California at 21.

 

When and why you joined the IBA:

I joined in 2015 when I launched my business!

 

Greatest advantage to being a member:

Networking and community support.

 

Proudest moment, honor, or achievement:

Receiving Master’s Degree while working full time.

 

How are you involved with giving back to the community?

I currently sit on Philadelphia Fight’s Advisory Board, and am a former board member at William Way Community Center, former City Commissioner for the Mayor’s Commission for African American Males, and former advisory board for Drexel University’s STEM programs.  I’ve volunteered for Philly Black Pride, was a juror for Qflix, a current member of Men of All Colors Together, Former host of LGBT-centric “The Catacombs” Online Radio show on G-Town Radio, and former writer at the Colours Organization.

 

Little known fact:

I protested the City’s Soda Tax in front of City Hall and filmed a commercial for the Beverage Industry (it never aired).

 

Guiltiest pleasure:

Most British TV dramas and sweet and tangy treats (chocolate covered pretzels).

 

Favorite vacation spot:

NYC & Montreal.

  

Last book read:

Currently reading “ The Perfect Nanny” by Leila Slimani.

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>

Member in the Spotlight: CliqueCam

CliqueCam provides unique photo booth activation’s for companies and brands seeking to elevate their event experience.                                                                           

 

How many years have you been with the company? (number only):

I started this business 2 years ago

 

Description of product/service of your company:

I created Greater Philadelphia’s premier boutique photo experience company to provide unique photo booth activation’s for companies and brands seeking to elevate their event experience.  We specialize in creating an elevated experience for our clients – from boomerangs to digital green screens, social media sharing to on-screen personalized animations.

 

Company or organization besides yours that you respect most:

Honestly, that is a really tough call and I cannot choose just one.  I truly respect all the women-owned (and built) businesses that I am surrounded by on a daily basis – from my best friend to my sister to Mary K. Dougherty.

 

Business leader or innovator you want to emulate:

Emily Bittenbender is a true #BADAS* in Philadelphia.  As the owner of Bittenbender Construction, she started a 100% woman-owned construction company 15 years ago that is committed to diversity and focuses on a collaborative environment. I met her over 4 years ago at a CCPA luncheon and her excitement, enthusiasm and passion for her industry really struck a chord with me.  I have followed her career and growth ever since!

 

Most important business decision:

My most important business decision was co-founding Party Partners of Philadelphia (www.partypartnersphilly.com) in 2013 with my 6 partners.  We were the trailblazers in creating a truly collaborative environment within the hospitality community in Philadelphia.  We started as a small group of leaders (7 total) and decision makers in the hospitality and events industry with a focus on making a difference.  Since 2013 we have grown to 25 members and give back to the community through campaigns such as Party Partners Against Cancer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

 

Most important life decision:

Learning that my passion for fashion may not translate to what is best for my career. For years I chased the dream of working in the fashion industry (I dabbled several times throughout my career), however once I accepted that my true calling lies in events and I can still love fashion and not rely on it for my financial stability, I was much happier!

 

When and why you joined the IBA:

I joined the IBA back in 2014 when I was the sales & marketing manager for Fogo de Chao.  I met Zach when he was new to the IBA – he was so committed and passionate about the LGBTQ community in Philadelphia and was seeking more hospitality related members.  I was thrilled to introduce him to my networking group, Party Partners of Philadelphia and the rest is history!

 

Greatest advantage to being a member:

Networking and growing with this wonderful community.  Every member is open, engaging and focused on helping each other achieve their goals as a member.

 

Proudest moment, honor, or achievement:

In 2015 I accepted a nomination for the Leukemia & Lymphoma’s Society Woman of the Year campaign – a unique opportunity to help the more than one million Americans who are living with blood cancers by helping raise critical funds to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.  I rose over $35,000 in just 10 short weeks and started #PartyPartnersAgainstCancer which celebrates 5 years of support to LLS as of 2018!

 

How are you involved with giving back to the community?

Refer to my proudest moment!!

 

Little known fact:

I have a fear of heights

 

Guiltiest pleasure:

Shoe shopping!

 

Favorite vacation spot:

St. John is my favorite island to visit and snorkel with the sea turtles

 

Last book read:

Last book I read was #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso and I am currently reading The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>

Member in the Spotlight: Queerality

January Member in the Spotlight: Queerality: Chris Landtroop

 Description of product or service:

Queerality is dedicated to creating, supporting, and stewarding art and education to influence a social shift that inspires intersectionality and inclusivity.

 How many years have you been with company or in business?

1

 What company or organization you respect most and why?

Ahh, there’s so many – GALAEI, The Attic Youth Center, and Morris Home just to name a few local organizations doing great work for our community.

 Which business leader or innovator do you most want to emulate and why?

Well, I can’t just choose one – is 5 too many? Haha! I want to be a hybrid of Marc Coleman of The Tactile Group, Amber Hikes of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, Cara Rossi of Santander, Jone Magagna of The Magagna Company, and Lee Huang of Econsult Solutions.

 What is the most important business decision you’ve made to date?

Leaving an organization in Philly that didn’t quite agree with my professional vision. Because I left that position, though it be one of my most prideful professional titles, I have received so much more than I could have ever expected.

 What is the most important life decision you’ve made to date?

Moving to Philadelphia in December 2015.

 When and why did you join the IBA?

I have been a “member” of IBA since I joined PGMC’s Board of Directors in July 2017; I became my own REAL member (haha) in December 2017 – IBA is just too great an organization to only be a member by default.

 Since joining the IBA, what has been the greatest advantage to you and your business being a member of the Chamber?

The greatest advantage of being a member of the IBA is having the opportunity to develop professional relationships with amazing LGBTQI+ folks, entrepreneurs, and city leaders that have evolved into personal friendships.

 What is your proudest moment, honor, or achievement?

My proudest moment was ripping off the band-aid so-to-speak on my original life in Texas. After living in lies and shame, I quit my beloved career of almost nine years, in a school district I had been a part of for over 20 years, and made the decision to travel the country spontaneously and independently for two months before making the decision to move to Philadelphia. After being in Philly for just 16 hours, I knew this was a place where I could live in authenticity – personally and professionally.

 What programs, outreach, or organizations are you involved in that give back to the community?

Queerality was created as a for-profit, for-service business model to give back to local non-profit organizations and educational agencies who support the queer community. In addition to giving free dollars to organizations, we also volunteer at events like Philly Pride’s GSA Fair, attend events such as the Holiday Open House at William Way Community Center, and are planning workshops for 2018’s Trans-Health Conference.

 What is a little known fact about you?

I’m addicted to black pepper. Like, I take off the pepper shaker cap and just pour it on my food. The more pepper, the better!

 What is your guiltiest pleasure?

DO NOT TELL ANYONE – okay, you can. Over the holidays, I learned that there is a Real Housewives of Dallas, and of course, I binge watched Season 1 because it, sadly, reminds me of home. Haha!

 To date, what has been your most favorite vacation spot?

I’ve never done much vacationing, but my home-away-from-home before moving to Philly was Seattle, WA; since moving to Philly, I’ve only traveled back to my hometown, Dallas, TX. Nevertheless, I desperately want to go to Thailand and Italy.

 What is the last book you read?

Currently reading Whatever Arises, Love That by Matt Kahn.

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>

Announcing Our New Corporate Partner, Jefferson

The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is thrilled to welcome Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health as a Gold Corporate Partner. The news was announced this morning, at the IBA’s annual President’s Breakfast.

 

“Jefferson contributes $6.5 billion to the region’s economy and it is imperative that we support our local businesses and LGBT neighbors with this impact,” said Joseph Hill, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. “Our membership in Philadelphia’s Independence Business Alliance will help us connect to local LGBT businesses and increase supplier diversity. It also signifies our commitment and support of the LGBT community.”

 

Jefferson, located in the greater Philadelphia region and southern New Jersey, is reimagining health care and education to create unparalleled value. Jefferson is 28,000 people strong, dedicated to providing the highest-quality, compassionate clinical care for patients, preparing tomorrow’s professional leaders for 21st century careers, and discovering new treatments to define the future of care. Jefferson’s newly recalibrated Office of Diversity and Inclusion plays central role in promoting diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency through its interaction and collaboration with a variety of offices and schools. This work reduces health and education disparities, increases student body and faculty diversity, and promotes an inclusive environment for the entire university. Their recent commitment to establishing procedures and plans for supplier diversity initiatives makes them a perfect fit for the IBA.

 

“This partnership is breaking ground for the IBA in corporate partnership in the eds and meds space,” says IBA Executive Director, Zach Wilcha. “This partnership is made all the more significant by the fact that this is an industry for which our city is among the leading cities in the world. The inclusion of, and support for, LGBT businesses in this sector is a great asset for our community.”

 

Jefferson has a strong history of support for and alliance with the LGBT community, and we are thrilled that its partnership with the IBA will highlight that commitment.

Posted in <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/announcements/" rel="category tag">Announcements</a>, <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/members/" rel="category tag">Members</a>, <a href="https://www.thinkiba.com/category/news/" rel="category tag">News</a>