At this summit, the importance of LGBT companies was reiterated. They contributed more than $1.15 billion to the national economy in 2017!
Bob Witeck, an LGBT business strategist, and consultant, also reminded the evolution of businesses. Twenty-five years ago, many feared financial losses if they openly supported the LGBT community. Since then, things have evolved. Policies to protect same-sex employees are more and more available.
And we have seen companies taking a stand against anti-LGBT policies. Remember their reaction against the bill to prevent transgender people from using public restrooms.
Witeck mentioned inclusion and diversity were important criteria for Amazon when they were looking for a region to set up a second headquarters in the US.
“They haven’t put that out there as No. 2, 4, or 7 thing they are looking for, but they have said inclusion and diversity matters. I was very encouraged to hear it, see it and witness it,” he said.
Lizabeth Kleintop, a chamber LGBT Business Council board member, asked companies to sign a chamber-sponsored “business pledge” and have a Business Council LGBT sticker on their businesses' windows.
“The pledge says to the members of the LGBT community that, yes, you’re welcome here,” said Kleintop. “We want your business as well; we’re including you.
“It’s not just about LGBT; it’s about everybody.”
You can check the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce's LGBT business pledge out at www.lehighvalleychamber.org/lgbt-pledge-form.html