Still debating if you will attend the 2013 National Business and Leadership Conference? Maybe some of these stories from fellow MBA Members will convince you. Below are viewpoints from chamber affiliate leaders, small businesses, LGBT business enterprises and entrepreneurs that will help you understand some of the opportunities available to you at the conference.
Dawn and Lisa, Bowled Over Promotions:
“As a newly certified NGLCC LGBTBE in 2012 we were very excited about the opportunity to attend the National Conference in Chicago. Lisa had done some research on the NGLCC website prior to the conference to try to get a better idea of what to expect, but nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to experience.
The entire first day was a comprehensive orientation for newly certified businesses and first time conference attendees designed to help get the most out of the conference and; more importantly how to get the most out your certification. These tools were and are essential to maximizing the business opportunities that come with certification.
Each day concluded with a corporate sponsored networking mixer where we met numerous business contacts and supplier diversity executives from the MANY corporations that were in attendance. Small business owners, some of whom are in the same line of business as us, provided a wonderful opportunity to share company histories, industry insights and best practices. Since the event takes place at a national level the competition factor seems to largely fall away.
The keynote speakers at the numerous corporate sponsored luncheons were amazing. Listening to the CEO of Ernst & Young discuss his and his company’s vision on business diversity was extremely refreshing. Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank shared her most inspiring story of success and gave too many nuggets of wisdom to mention. From the law of scarcity to leveraging the media she shared a humorous & colorful story of her rise to the top of the real estate market.
The match making sessions gave us the opportunity to sit down one on one with the supplier diversity executives of many Fortune 500 companies to explain our business, what we do and to receive feedback on how we can further build a business relationship with their companies. We are looking very forward to being able to meet with more representatives at the Dallas conference this year having a much better idea of what to expect and having had the opportunity to hone our company pitch.
The most fun networking event, took us by chartered bus to the top of the former Sears tower for a private party with breath taking views of Chicago, outstanding butler passed canapés and an open bar.
One of the attendees that I met was actually in search of a very specific product which he had been trying to find without success. After talking with him about his passion for a specific pen, I assured him that if it was out there, I would find it for him. After returning home, I set out to find his coveted pen. As it turns out, I did find it. After working together for a period of time he ended up placing an order for 10,000 of these pens for a Boutique hotel chain in lower Manhattan NY. Opportunities abound and can come from just about anywhere. That’s the beauty of the NGLCC conference. It is like a giant Networking, educational conference that can do no less than expand your contacts in the world. Since retuning from the conference last year, we have done business with a few of the contacts we met in Dallas, have connected on Linked In with many, many more.
Without a doubt, one of the best investments we have made in our company is attending the National NGLCC conference and going forward, it will always be included in our annual budget. For us, the business we were able to close paid for the trip. With that kind of return, it’s kind of hard to argue against going year over year.”
Thor, Falk Research:
“As the owner of a Marketing Research business, I find that I can get so caught up in the work that we do that I fail to find the time to actually market my business. Attending the NGLCC helped me to recommit myself to marketing my business and, more importantly, how to market my business to companies that embrace diversity. The conference provided me with an excellent opportunity to meet representatives from a variety of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies and to learn how to best market our services to those companies.
One of the things I learned at the conference is that I should actively communicate my certification even when that certification is not why I am in negotiations with a client. I recently landed a contract with Wyndham Resorts and my certification as an NGLCC Business Enterprise gave me the edge I needed. I have been a first tier supplier to AT&T for decades but letting them know about my LGBTBE certification helped me to win a very profitable contract that will begin within the next month.
Beyond making business connections, the conference was fun and I made a lot of new friends. It was exciting to see so many LGBT business owners all in one location! “
Robert, MBA Orlando:
Jason Montgomery, MBA Orlando: