Vedda attends conference

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce celebrated National Small Business Week last week by gathering LGBT chamber leaders from Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, Spokane and Minneapolis in Washington D.C.

Tony Vedda of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce was among those that met.

“My leadership role in NGLCC allows me to be an advocate, not only for people in my region, but for LGBT chambers around the country,” said Vedda

Chamber members strategized new ways to strengthen affiliate LGBT chambers and drive small business growth among the organization’s 29,000 members.

NGLCC has been a vocal proponent for President Obama’s Small Business Agenda, which calls for “improved access to government contracts [for small business] as well as avoid contract bundling,” according to a statement released by NGLCC.

NGLCC also signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. Department of Commerce in January to “promote cooperation and collaborative action” and “to identify LGBT-owned businesses for the Department’s outreach and contracting requirements.”

— David Taffet

—  John Wright

National CoC honors North Texas business, leaders

NT gay chamber, Burns, American Airlines bring home awards


WINNING SMILES | North Texas Gay and Lesbian Chamber President Tony Vedda, from left,, American Airlines’ George Carancho, Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns and Burns’ husband J.D. Angle attended the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s awards dinner, where the North Texas chamber, American and Burns were all honored.

The North Texas Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns and Fort Worth-based American Airlines all brought home awards.

The NTGLCoC was named Chamber of the Year. Growth, member services and leadership development were cited as reasons for the award. NTGLCoC Board Chair Derrick Brown and President and CEO Tony Vedda were cited for their leadership.

The award had been announced earlier in the year but the award was presented at the group’s national dinner, with more than 800 people in attendance, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

“It was a very good night for North Texas,” said Vedda.

Burns won the NGLCC/American Airlines ExtrAA Mile Award. Past winners include NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and tennis legend Martina Navratalova.  The North Texas Chamber gives its own ExtrAA Mile Award and presented it to Burns earlier this year for his work following the Rainbow Lounge raid.

The national chamber presented the award to him “for courageously sharing his own struggles and desperation as a gay teen during a recent city council meeting in response to the recent epidemic of LGBT youth suicides and bullying.”

American Airlines was named Corporation of the Year by the national chamber. That award honors companies that are committed to expanding economic opportunities for LGBT-owned businesses.

“It’s well deserved,” said Vedda. “But it’s no surprise to us that they would be recognized. They received our first Corporate Ally award in 2006. We’re thrilled to have them as a major supporter of our organization since we started in 2005.”

The airline has also recently received similar awards from three other groups committed to diversity.

“American actively focuses on identifying minority, women-owned, LGBT and other diverse small businesses as potential suppliers,” said John MacLean, American Airlines vice president for purchasing and transportation. “These awards increase awareness of the importance we place on supplier diversity and our efforts to ensure that our supplier base reflects our customer base.”

Manager of Supplier Diversity and Business Strategies at American Airlines, Sherri Macko, was named Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year from Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council and Advocate of the Year by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Texas for the second time.

Macko, who is also from the Dallas area, serves on the board of the NGLCC Procurement Council.

The local chamber is accepting nominations for the 2010 Business Excellence Awards. Those honors will be given at the North Texas Chamber’s sixth anniversary dinner in March. Rebecca Covell, who won the 2009 Business Person of the Year award, and Burns are the honorary co-chairs of the event.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

How that gay McDonald's ad got the company kicked out of the national LGBT chamber

It’s difficult to understand how a gay-affirming McDonald’s ad from France that recently went viral could lead an LGBT group to sever ties with the company, but that is apparently what has happened. The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce wrote a June 3 letter to James Skinner, vice chairman and CEO of McDonald’s, informing the company of NGLCC’s decision:

“It is the intention of this letter to inform you of the souring state of relations between our two organizations and express our utter dismay at the blatant geographic pandering to the LGBT community in the recently released TV ad in France, while McDonald’s has continued to distance itself from the LGBT segment in the United States,” the letter begins.

The letter goes on to say, “Barring a significant change in policy on the part of McDonald’s, please consider this letter as official notice that the NGLCC will not accept future support or membership by McDonald’s or any of its subsidiaries.”

Remember, it was McDonald’s involvement with the NGLCC that led the anti-gay American Family Association to launch a boycott of the company in 2008. Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin posted an analysis earlier today that helps explain how we got from the AFA boycott to this point.

—  John Wright