Four Texas chambers join forces to stage conference in Dallas


North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce CEO Tony Vedda, left, and State Rep. Rafael Anchia


DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

Two presidential appointees and a state representative are among the speakers scheduled to appear at the Business Equality Conference, being presented Friday, Sept. 9 in Dallas by four Texas’ LGBT chambers of commerce.

North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce CEO Tony Vedda said that because not everyone can take off a week and travel out of state to attend a conference, he wanted to bring some of the information he’s gotten at recent national chamber conferences back to share with his colleagues here in Texas. And LGBT chambers in Austin, San Antonio and Houston have signed on to help with the effort.

The conference begins with a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Vedda said that allows people plenty of time to grab a quick flight in to Dallas from anywhere around the state.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia will talk about legislative activities. Two presidential appointees — Small Business Association Regional Administrator Yolanda Garcia Olivarez and SBA Assistant Administrator Eugene Cornelius — will discuss the president’s initiative to engage with more LGBT businesses.

The SBA is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with the North Texas Chamber outlining how the two organizations can work together, and SBA representatives will hold two breakout sessions during the afternoon.

One will concentrate on tools for success, including accessing SCORE volunteers who mentor aspiring entrepreneurs. The other will focus on access to capital for small businesses.

Other sessions will focus on issues, including how to get business certifications. The GLBT Chamber offers LBGT certification, but business attendees might also qualify for minority-owned, women-owned, veteran or disability certification.

Another breakout session will focus on creating a welcoming environment for transgender employees.

Vedda said an attorney whose practice focuses on doing business with the government will discuss understanding government contracts.

At the closing session, Texas Association of Business President Chris Wallace will speak about the upcoming legislative session and discuss how anti-LGBT legislation is bad for business.

Vedda said Texas is fortunate to have four active LGBT chambers, while many states still have none.

“Our ability to work together on programming like this makes us stronger,” Vedda said. “It helps us all advance our mission to achieve equality through business.

The Business Equality Conference takes place 11:30 a.m-5:30 p.m. on Sept. 9 at UNT Dallas School of Law, 1901 Main St. $35 for chamber members. $45 general admission.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2016.