The GSBA Blog


LGBT Economic Summit: Meet the Panelists

| Mar 02, 2017



Working Together for Shared Prosperity
, the first-ever LGBT economic summit, will explore topics such as: leveraging the power of LGBT businesses; Blue State tourism; maintaining Left Coast politics in the post-election era; working together to promote diverse supply chains; and unlocking the power of bringing marginalized communities together.

Through keynote presentations and panel discussions, attendees will share information, provide critical input to regional challenges, and build relationships with other LGBT and allied business leaders from Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and British Columbia.


Meet our distinguished panelists:



Adamson, Bryan_145x135
Bryan Adamson, Seattle University School of Law

Bryan is an Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University. He has published numerous articles that demonstrate a diverse and interdisciplinary approach to scholarship on topics ranging from civil rights through the lens of the judicial procedures and how media institutions rationalize and reinforce racial hierarchies. He currently teaches a Consumer Protection Clinic and Mass Media Law and Policy and is a member of the GSBA Board of Directors.

Clark_145x135Sally Clark, University of Washington

Sally is the Director of Regional and Community Relations at UW. Her duties include working with the City-University Community Advisory Committee, the University District Partnership, Urban@UW, and the Arboretum Botanical Garden Committee all in service to helping the University accomplish its mission – the preservation, advancement and dissemination of knowledge – while being a great regional neighbor and collaborator. Prior to working at UW, Sally served more than nine years on the Seattle City Council, including as Council President 2012-2013.


Edison_145x135Roz Edison, Marination

Roz Edison is the COO and co-founder of Marination. Often the called the Director of Many Things, Roz makes sure that the operations of Marination run smoothly across all locations. She's known for making a spreadsheet for just about everything. Roz grew up in Athens, Greece with an undergraduate degree in French, and a Masters degrees in both business and education. Prior to Marination, she served in Peace Corps Romania, worked in public education in Boston, and advised at the University of Washington. Roz loves data, street food and gadgets.

Fugere_145x135Joe Fugere, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria

Joe is the founder of Tutta Bella, the Pacific Northwest’s first certified, authentic Neapolitan pizzeria. In 2004, Joe opened his first restaurant and currently has five locations in the greater Seattle area. His restaurant group holdings expanded in 2016 to include operating The Hollywood Tavern in Woodinville, WA. Joe believes that there is a direct correlation between business success and creating shared values with employees, customers, peers, and community members. He regularly leads socially-responsible, small business initiatives in environments ranging from the White House to local neighborhood councils. In 2015, Joe testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions on behalf of Washington business owners and also met with Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, as part of his "Lead on Leave Tour." Joe is currently actively involved with One America, which is a leading force for immigrant, civil and human rights. By nurturing a meaningful business that also reaps economic and social benefits, Joe hopes to encourage other local businesses to make investments in staff and community.

Gardner_145x135Jaebadiah Gardner, Onpoint Real Estate

Jaebadiah Gardner is the Founder & CEO of GardnerGlobal, Inc. and the Managing Partner for Onpoint Real Estate Services, LLC, a full-­service real estate brokerage firm in Seattle. He oversees the property management & development divisions, which include residential, multi-­family, condo buildings, and private and nonprofit clients. Jaebadiah is the driving force behind business development, real estate development and acquisition opportunities. Since its founding, GardnerGlobal, Inc. has grown from a team of one to nine, currently owns two companies and is heavily involved in the community fabric of Seattle. In addition, Jaebadiah is developing a 115-­unit affordable housing building and a 70-unit apartment building in Seattle. Jaebadiah's focus is building business through investments, partnerships and community.


GILLIS_143x135Gladys Gillis, Starline Luxury Coaches

Gladys founded Starline Luxury Coaches with a vision and a limited fleet of three shuttle buses. Over the years, she has become a respected leader in the transportation industry. Gladys has served on the board of World Affairs Council since 2010 and just recently finished her term as Chairman of the Board in February, 2015. She remains an active voice for the transportation industry at the national level. Since 2012 she has expanded her operations in Pullman, WA with Wheatland Express and in June acquired A & A Motorcoach with yards in Yakima, Wenatchee and Pasco. She currently serves on the GSBA Board of Directors and the GSBA Corporate Advisory Board and is recognized as the CEO of the largest, women-owned fleet in the Pacific Northwest.

Herrera_145x135Michael Herrera, SoCal Gas

Michael Herrera is the LGBTBE advisor for Southern California Gas Company in the Supply Management and Supplier Diversity departments. Michael has been an integral part of the supplier diversity group meeting and exceeding SoCalGas' supplier diversity goals for the past couple of years.

Michael is also an alumni of SoCalGas' Volunteer Local Diversity & Inclusion Council and Employee Diversity Council and leads the corporate sponsorships between SoCalGas and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, The Desert Business Association, The Golden Gate Business Association, The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce and The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.


Jimenez, Jen_145x135Jennifer Jimenez, Eastside Total Health & Lactation

Jennifer Jimenez has been a Certified Nurse Midwife for over 20 years who earned multiple degrees from Columbia University. But when asked, she would say that her most valuable lessons were those taught to her by the Latino and Caribbean communities in the South Bronx, Washington Heights, and Harlem. She moved to Washington State from New York in 2015 and co-owns Eastside Total Health & Lactation (ETHL) in Kirkland. ETHL is a certified LGBT Business Enterprise that offers a gynecology, family building and lactation services with special attention for the LGBTQ and the single parent by choice communities.

LEE_145x135Martha Lee, Chinese Chamber and the Ethnic Coalition of Chambers of Commerce

Martha is the current president of ECCC for the Greater Seattle Area. She also serves on the board of the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce and was the President for 2014 to 2015. Martha is a 2016 recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the White House. She has over 35 years of financial and management experience in various Senior Vice President and CFO positions with Royal Philips Electronic Corp.


McClure_145x135Sam McClure, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

Sam serves as Senior Vice President at the NGLCC. In this role, Sam oversees the Affiliate Relations, External Affairs, and Supplier Diversity departments and is a member of the executive leadership team. In 2014, Sam led NGLCC’s legislative campaign to pass California Assembly Bill 1678, the first law of its kind in the nation which added certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) to the Supplier Diversity program of the California Public Utilities Commission. In 2015, she lead the team that achieved the first statewide Executive Order to add not only LGBTBEs, but also Disability Owned & Veteran Owned Business Enterprises (DOBEs & VBEs) to the small business development opportunities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is a leading voice on organizational development strategies and LGBT business inclusion. Driven by entrepreneurial spirit and an appetite for community and economic development, she is a passionate advocate for the LGBT community and a champion of Business Equality.


McDermott_145x135Joe McDermott, King County Council

Joe McDermott is currently serving his 7th year as a member, and 2nd consecutive year as Chair, of the King County Council. Holding a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs, he served a decade in the state legislature prior to joining the Council. Joe is a passionate advocate for vibrant and safe communities, reliable transit and transportation options, our environment, and civil rights. He currently resides in West Seattle with his husband Michael.


Montes_145x135Frank Montes, California Hispanic Chamber

Frank Montes uses his skills as a professional advocate to impact change at State and National levels in order to create a wide range of opportunities that will generate growth, education and prosperity for families, businesses and communities. In his work as a business owner, he uses his personal experience as an entrepreneur to identify with and understand his clients' needs and challenges. Mr. Montes has worked on local, regional and state legislative issues for the last six California state legislative assemblies and is fostering a professional history of representing individuals with elected and appointed boards. Additionally, he has lead efforts with volunteers, private consultants, and representatives of governmental agencies. As a proficient supporter, Mr. Montes has specific knowledge to address public policy issues that affect small business including lending, taxes, health care and shortage of skilled workers.


Mirabella_145x135Joe Mirabella, Seattle Office of Economic Development

Joe is the Communications Director for the Office of Economic Development. Previously, he served as Mayor Ed Murray's Social Media Manager. Joe is a former GSBA Board Member and has a passion for the intersection of equality and business.


Morales_145x135Mark Morales, State of CA, Dept. of Insurance, Diversity Task Force

Mark Morales has over 20 years of business banking experience and specializes in SBA financing and loan programs for diverse owned businesses. Mark was recognized by the SBA as the first lender nationwide to fund an SBA loan for an LGBT business in 2015. In March 2015 Mark was appointed to the California Department of Insurance's Insurance Diversity Task Force whose mission is to encourage increased procurement from California’s diverse suppliers and diversity amongst insurer governing boards. He is the first LGBT Business Enterprise advocate/representative since the task force inception in 2011. Mark is the President of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (LAGLCC) Board of Directors.

Murray_145x135Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle

Edward B. Murray became Mayor of Seattle in 2014 after 18 years in the Washington State Legislature, where he was a champion for LGBT rights. Within the first six months as Mayor, he convened a committee comprised of business, labor, and non-profit stakeholders to work out the terms of a deal that would benefit all involved and set the highest minimum wage in the nation. For this work, he was named one of Politico Magazine's "50 thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction." Recently he has made headlines as one of the most prominent voices for sanctuary cities. Read more of his official bio here.


Nelson_145x135Dean Nelson, GayWhistler.com and Whistler Pride and Ski Festival

Dean has 11 years experience in LGBT travel and tourism as the producer of world class events including the annual Whistler Pride and Ski Festival; founder and executive producer of the 2010 Pride House at the Olympic Winter Games; and contributor and mentor for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games (London) Pride House, 2014 Olympic Winter Games (Sochi) virtual Pride House campaign, and the 2014 FIFA Women's World Cup Pride House. In 2016, Dean was awarded the Distinguished Alumni: International Human Rights Leadership Award from Thompson Rivers University for a decade of campaigning LGBT visibility in Travel and Tourism. He is a past board member of Travel Gay Canada and Vancouver Pride Society.


Norwalk_145x135Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle

Tom Norwalk is President & CEO of Visit Seattle, the private, nonprofit marketing organization that promotes Seattle as a destination for international and domestic leisure travel, meetings and conventions. Norwalk oversees more than 60 employees in the organization’s main Seattle office as well as sales offices in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. He is responsible for all of the bureau’s operations, sales and marketing, finance and budget management and business development.

Nyhus_145x135Roger Nyhus, Nyhus Communications

Roger has advised numerous business and government leaders around the world since founding his firm in 1994. He excels at strategic public relations, public affairs and advocacy for innovative organizations and their leaders.
In 2010, Roger was named Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Seattle Business Association, and Nyhus Communications earned the Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award in 2009.


Olson_145x135Karen Olson, Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass

Karen Olson is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass. Karen has the honor of working with some of the region’s top destinations to connect visitors with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She leads an amazing team of marketing, sales, and guest service specialists to turn guests into fans and moments into memories.


Robinson_145x135Tim Robinson, Visit Spokane

Tim Robinson is the Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at Visit Spokane, the official destination marketing organization for Spokane County, Washington. Tim joined Visit Spokane in 2013 as Director of Public Relations & Communications. Prior to working in the travel industry, Tim was a TV reporter and anchorman in Seattle (KING 5), Sacramento and Reno.

Thornhill_145x135Curtis Thornhill, Apt Marketing Solutions

Curtis Thornhill is the CEO of Apt Marketing Solutions, a firm that brings enterprise marketing practices to businesses of all sizes. Apt Marketing was named to the 2016 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies and was profiled in Adweek magazine. Curtis frequently speaks and writes about improving the impact of technology, data, and processes in marketing.


Trimiew_145x135Jason Trimiew, Facebook

For nearly two decades, Jason has worked at the intersection of the marketplace and social impact in international microfinance, venture philanthropy, and community and economic development. In 2016, Jason joined Facebook to launch the company's first supplier diversity program and create more opportunity for diverse-owned firms do business with Facebook and the people and communities that Facebook connects. Prior to joining Facebook, he designed and led the community impact initiatives for Super Bowl 50, resulting in more than $20 million in grants for Bay Area nonprofits and contracts for local businesses. Jason was formerly a Managing Director at REDF and is the founder of Trimiew Strategy Group, a consultancy that helps clients develop, implement, measure, and scale products and programs that produce results for good.

YarceBeto Yarce, Ventures

Beto Yarce is an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico who moved to Seattle 14 years ago. He is the Executive Director for Ventures, a nonprofit organization that empowers individuals with limited resources and unlimited potential to improve their lives through small business ownership. Beto is passionate and inspired by the mission and for the opportunity to support other entrepreneurs with their dreams and helping them create their vision in a business.


Yaeger_145x135Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

Ken Yeager has been a pioneer for LGBTQ rights in Santa Clara County for nearly four decades. In 1984, he co-founded a four-county LGBTQ political action group called the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee after coming out in the OpEd pages of the San Jose Mercury News. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed as the first chairperson of Santa Clara County's AIDS Prevention Task Force. Upon his election to the San Jose Community College District in 1992, he became the first openly gay elected official in the County. Ken then served six years as a San Jose City Councilmember and has served on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors since 2006. In 2008, Ken became a Deputy Commissioner for Civil Marriage and has since solemnized over 100 same gender unions. In 2015, he created the Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the first county-level office dedicated to serving the unique needs of LGBTQ residents.


Learn more about the LGBT Economic Summit here.