The GSBA Blog


  • How the EU's General Data Protection Regulation could affect your U.S. business

    by Tonya J. Gisselberg
    | Jan 30, 2018


    Tonya-J.-GisselbergHow could a regulation enacted in the European Union (EU) have anything to do with businesses in the US?
    Read on to learn how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is broad enough to impact even small U.S. businesses that have customers in, or market their products or services to, EU residents. Violation of the GDPR carries with it hefty fines which are intended to be “effective, proportionate and dissuasive.” The EU is serious about enforcing the GDPR. It’s important for U.S. business owners to learn about the GDPR and become aware of the risks for failing to comply with the GDPR.

    The GDPR embodies the philosophy of data stewardship. Businesses are caretakers of other people’s data and have an obligation to handle the data responsibly. U.S. businesses that embrace the data stewardship philosophy, going beyond doing the minimum to comply with the GDPR, have the opportunity to turn their GDPR efforts into a market place differentiator that matters to consumers.

    This article focuses on businesses that deal directly with consumers. Businesses that deal only with other businesses also have many obligations under the GDPR. The GDPR applies to all entities, including nonprofits and non-governmental organizations, that come into contact with personal data from EU residents.

    What is the GDPR?

    The European Union General Data Protection Regulation provides the most extensive personal information protections in the world. The U.S. protects personal information according to sectors, such as health care and financial services, but does not protect personal information across the board. In the EU, people have a fundamental right to protection when their personal data is processed. Processing includes any operation that is performed on personal data, such as collection, recording, organizing, structuring, storing, adapting and the list goes on. It’s safe to say that the definition is broad enough to cover any use or possession of personal data. The GDPR generally applies to the processing of personal data of EU residents, with limited exceptions.

    Let’s take a minute to discuss what personal information is. Many Washington State business owners may be familiar with Washington State’s definition of personal information in the data breach context: An individual’s first name or first initial and last name, in combination with a Social Security number, a driver’s license or Washington identification card number or an account, credit or debit card number plus information that would permit access to an individual’s account.

    The GDPR speaks in terms of “personal data,” not “personal information,” a distinction without a difference for the purposes of this article. The GDPR defines personal data as “any information relating to an identified and identifiable natural person; an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.”

    Clearly, the EU definition for personal data is much broader than the Washington State definition for personal information. Only one factor is required to identify a person under the GDPR. A name is not required for data to be classified as personal data. Information which is not considered personal information in the U.S. can be considered personal data in the EU. U.S. business owners should understand how the GDPR defines personal data so that they can determine whether they are collecting personal data from EU residents.

    The GDPR takes a risk-based approach to protecting personal data. “The likelihood and severity of the risk to the rights and freedoms of the data subject should be determined by reference to the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing. Risk should be evaluated on the basis of an objective assessment, by which it is established whether data processing operations involve a risk or a high risk.” Businesses are required to identify risks related to processing personal data and to take appropriate actions to mitigate those risks.

    Which businesses must comply with the GDPR?

    The GDPR applies to U.S. businesses that either 1) offer goods and services to people residing in the EU, regardless of whether a payment is required or 2) monitor the behavior of people within the EU.

    Offering goods and services to people residing in the EU requires more than having a website that can be accessed anywhere in the world. The GDPR applies when a business envisages offering goods or services in one or more EU countries. Other factors considered in determining whether the GDPR applies are making the website available in languages spoken in the EU, making the goods or services available in currencies used in the EU and mentioning other EU customers on the business’ website.

    Monitoring the behavior of people within the EU includes tracking them on the Internet. Even if your business does not offer goods or services to people residing in the EU, if your business uses the Internet to track people residing in the EU, the GDPR likely applies to your business. If your business’ tracking includes profiling an individual so that decisions or predictions can be made about that individual, the GDPR is even more likely to apply to your business.

    What does the GDPR Require Businesses to Do When Processing Personal Data?

    This section describes some of the GDPR’s major requirements, but does not include an exhaustive list.

    The GDPR requires businesses to comply with personal data processing principles.

    • Lawful, fair and transparent processing;
    • Purpose limitation. Data collected for one purpose cannot be further processed for an incompatible purpose;
    • Data minimization. Data collected shall be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary for the processing purpose;
    • Accurate. Data shall be accurate and kept up to date;
    • Storage limitation. Data shall be kept in a form which permits identification of people for no longer than is necessary for the purposes of the processing; and
    • Integrity and confidentiality. Data shall be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security.

    Processing is lawful under the GDPR only when the individual gives consent, the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract, the business that controls the data has a legal obligation to process it or processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the individual or another person, plus two other situations that are not relevant to this article.

    The consent requirements are strengthened by the GDPR, compared to previous EU law. Consent must be freely given and as easy to withdraw as it is to give. The business owner must be able to demonstrate that the individual gave consent. Consent requested for one matter must be clearly distinguishable from other matters. The request for consent must be presented in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language.

    The GDPR enumerates individuals’ rights in the categories shown below. These rights place corresponding obligations on businesses in processing individuals’ personal data:

    • Transparent information, communication and modalities for the exercise of the rights of the data subject. Requires concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible communications to be made to individuals regarding data processing.
    • Information to be provided where personal data are collected from the data subject. A business must provide an individual with certain information when the information is obtained from the individual.
    • Information to be provided where personal data have not been obtained from the data subject. A business must provide an individual with information on personal data processing even when the business did not collect the information directly from the individual.
    • Right of access by the data subject. An individual has the right to obtain from a business confirmation of whether personal data concerning that individual is being processed, and, if so, access to the personal data, the purposes of the processing and other information about the processing.
    • Right to rectification. An individual has the right to get the business to correct inaccurate personal data.
    • Right to erasure (‘right to be forgotten’). An individual has the right to get the business to erase personal data about her.
    • Right to restriction of processing. An individual has the right to get the business to restrict processing of data about her.
    • Notification obligation regarding rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing. A business must communicate to the individual that the business has corrected, erased or restricted the data processing according to the individual’s exercise of her rights.
    • Right to data portability. An individual has the right to receive her personal data in a commonly used, machine-readable format and has the right to transmit that data to another business.
    • Right to object. An individual has the right to object to processing data about her.
    • Automated individual decision-making, including profiling. An individual has the right not to be subject to decisions based solely on automated processing, including profiling, which produces legal effects concerning her or significantly affects her.

    The rights of individuals to the protection of their personal data are not absolute, but must be balanced against other fundamental rights. Fundamental rights include the respect for private and family life, home and communications; the protection of personal data; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of expression and information; freedom to conduct a business; the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial; and cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.

    The GDPR requires businesses to keep extensive records of processing personal data. Businesses with fewer than 250 persons are relieved from these obligations in many instances, but each business must still keep sufficient records to fulfill its obligations to individuals according to the rights listed above. For example, all businesses are required to respond to individuals’ requests to correct or erase their data or move their data to another business.

    Other GDPR requirements include data protection by design and default, secure data processing, data protection impact assessments in some situations and a 72-hour timeline for notifying authorities of a data breach.

    What are the Penalties for Failing to Comply with the GDPR?

    The GDPR enables supervisory authorities in the EU to impose administrative fines of up to 20,000,000 EUR or 4% of total worldwide annual turnover (gross revenue), whichever is higher, for violating the GDPR. The EU starts enforcing the GDPR on May 25, 2018. Many U.S. companies are scrambling to try to comply with the GDPR by that date.

    Conclusion

    While many U.S. companies are scrambling to comply, there are still many business owners that are unaware of the GDPR and unaware that the GDPR could apply to their business. It makes sense for all U.S. business owners to determine whether the GDPR applies to their operations, and, if so, to make conscious decisions about implementing the GDPR’s requirements into their operations. Those businesses that aspire to provide their consumers with more protection than minimum compliance requires may be able to turn their GDPR compliance efforts into value added programs that matter to consumers.


  • Bringing your voice to Olympia

    by Matt Landers, GSBA Public Policy & Communications Manager
    | Jan 26, 2018

    GSBA staff, board, and scholars joined Equal Rights Washington for their annual LGBTQ lobby day in Olympia on Tuesday, January 23. This annual event elevates the common agenda of our whole community and reminds legislators that LGBTQ Washingtonians are an important constituency. Many of our partner organizations were present as well, including the Washington SAFE Alliance, Gay City, Ingersoll Gender Center, and UTOPIA Seattle.

    GSBA was able to meet directly with Representatives Clibborn, Orwall and Van De Wege, and Senators Liias and Keiser. We also were able to share our priorities with the offices of Representatives DeBolt, Hansen, Kagi, Macri, Orcutt, Sells, Senn, and Senators Chase and Saldaña. This is one of the busiest legislative sessions in memory, with over 1,000 bills submitted in the first two weeks alone, according to Senator Jamie Pedersen. With the Democrats taking control of the Senate with a one-vote majority, there is a lot of pent-up energy for progressive priorities.

    Luckily, that means that there are several LGBTQ priorities that appear to be moving swiftly and successfully through both houses of the legislature, with strong committee support and bipartisan majorities. GSBA shares ERW's priority bills - banning conversion therapy, updating the Uniform Parentage Act, preventing bullying of trans students, training long-term care workers on the LGBTQ community, and expanding healthcare to trans people and other women who previously lacked access. Additionally we could share our economic priorities such as creating a statewide tourism marketing fund, supporting the equal pay act, and establishing uniform statewide regulations. (Read more about our priority bills here.)

    Lobby Day is an invaluable and easy way to get involved with your legislators. ERW provided an excellent training to volunteers on how to speak with policymakers, how to talk about the specific priority bills, and provided additional educational opportunities throughout the day. GSBA strongly encourages those who are able to join us at future events in Olympia and in Seattle. We are proud to represent your voice, but it's even stronger when you can join us and take part in the civic process!
     

    Download the 2018 GSBA Legislative Agenda


  • A business voice for equal pay

    by Matt Landers, GSBA Public Policy & Communications Manager
    | Jan 25, 2018
     
    GSBA's mission is to combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT community and those who support equality for all. We know that LGBT people across the board earn less than straight men, with even greater disparities when intersected with gender, race, and other factors (National LGBTQ Task Force, Center for American Progress, Williams Institute). For that reason, GSBA is supporting the Equal Pay Opportunity Act (HB 1506, SB 5140) and HB 1533 which would prohibit employers from seeking job applicants' wage and salary history or requiring that the wage or salary meet certain criteria.

    As an organization concerned with the economic opportunities of the LGBT community, we know that using a prior salary to set a future one serves only to perpetuate disparities and discrimination. Employees should be paid according to the work that they currently do, not according to the work they did at another establishment.

    As a business organization, GSBA also wants to ensure that the regulations put in place are realistic and actionable, and not detrimental to the workplace. When first approached about the Equal Pay Opportunity Act several years ago, we had certain concerns about HR staff requirements and privacy of employee data. We want to thank bill sponsor Representative Tana Senn for hearing those concerns and addressing them in subsequent versions.


  • Review of Hate Crime Prevention, Response, and Reporting in Seattle

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing
    | Jan 23, 2018

    Reported hate crimes and incidents in Seattle have increased 230 percent since 2012, and the city is now focusing on a phased approach to improving accuracy in documenting and responding to future cases.

    The city auditor’s office has created a report that analyzes the past five years of data regarding hate crimes and incidents in Seattle. Race was the biggest factor in the 1,126 incidents reported between January 2012 and November 2017 -- POC being the primary victims -- followed by 722 incidents involving LGBTQ community members.

    The auditor’s office published its Phase One report reviewing hate crime prevention, response and reporting in September 2017. Its January Review of Hate Crime Prevention Response and Reporting in Seattle makes nine recommendations in the following categories: reporting, training, using data, city coordination, and regional coordination.

    A future Phase Two audit will include analysis of cases, a socio-demographic analysis by the University of Washington and a review of prevention efforts. Seattle University will be studying the affect of hate crimes on indirect victims by convening student focus groups to determine the “ripple effect."


  • Mayor Durkan Announces $1.4 Million to Support Seattle’s Small Businesses

    by Kamaria Hightower
    | Jan 23, 2018

    Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the award of $1.4 million in funding to support small businesses owned by historically disenfranchised communities in Seattle, including immigrants and refugees, people of color, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGTBQ community.

    “Our small businesses are an economic engine in Seattle, and they create the rich texture and culture of our neighborhoods and our entire City,” said Mayor Durkan. “These investments from the City of Seattle are focused on making sure our small businesses have the tools they need to thrive, to create good-paying jobs, and to keep building economic opportunity.”

    Awarded through the City’s Office of Labor Standards’ (OLS) Business Outreach and Education Fund, the funding supports local organizations’ outreach, education and compliance assistance efforts to Seattle’s small businesses in those communities, helping ensure they have the tools they need to fulfill their responsibilities under Seattle’s labor laws. This includes City laws such as: Minimum Wage, Wage Theft, Paid Sick and Safe Time, Fair Chance Employment, Secure Scheduling and the Hotel Employees Health and Safety ordinance.

    Recipients of the funding will emphasize outreach to employers not typically served by traditional methods: businesses owned by low-income and historically disenfranchised communities, including immigrants and refugees and people of color, as well as women, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. Grant recipients will engage and build relationships with local small businesses through a range of activities, including holding workshops, direct outreach, providing linguistically appropriate information, and offering ongoing support to business owners in neighborhoods across the City on issues like recordkeeping compliance and economic development.

    The City has selected five organizations and partnerships to receive funding for a two-year (24 month) period estimated to begin the first quarter of 2018 and end in the first quarter of 2020.

    Recipients include the Seattle Business Education HUB ($164,050), founded by Felix Ngoussou, who also owns Lake Chad Cafe, both in the Central District; the Latino Community Fund ($282,966); the Ethnic Chambers of Commerce Coalition ($565,960), which includes a number of chambers representing Asian-owned businesses, as well as the Greater Seattle Business Association; the Ethnic Business Coalition ($275,590), and Ventures ($111,434).

    Seattle has approximately 36,500 businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and small businesses account for more than half of all jobs in Washington State. Seattle’s small businesses employ nearly 200,000 people in the City.

    For more information about the Office of Labor Standards or the Business Outreach and Education Fund, contact Business Liaison Darius Foster at 206-386-1238, email darius.foster@seattle.gov or visit http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards.


  • Three Essential Financial Statements

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing
    | Jan 22, 2018

    Accurately tracking financial data is not only critical for running the day-to-day operations of your small business, but it is also essential when seeking funding from lenders or investors to take your business to the next level. 

    In addition, keeping tabs of your finances can help ensure your products and services are priced right, identify what your margins are, determine your cash flow and make filing taxes easier.

    Here are three basic financial statements that are important for your small business:

    1. Balance sheet: This statement provides an overall financial snapshot of your small business. As an equation, it looks like liabilities + owner’s equity = assets. The two sides of the equation must balance out.

    2. Profit and loss statement: A profit and loss statement - also referred to as an income statement - enables you to project sales and expenses and typically covers a period of a few months to a year.

    3. Cash flow statement: This statement highlights how much money is coming in to (cash inflows) and going out of (cash outflows) your business. Cash inflows include cash sales, accounts receivable collections, loans and other investments. Equipment purchased, expenses paid, inventory and other payments are considered cash outflows.

    Read this full blog at www.sba.gov/blogs.


  • Ambassador Profile: Toraya Miller


    Toraya Photo - Photo2"I’ve been in the banking industry for over 20 years and my passion is helping customers and organizations reach their success. Whether that’s through strategic planning or connecting them with business partners to reach their goals.

    GSBA proudly serves a community that advocates for small businesses, nonprofits, and supports community relationships and I am honored and extremely excited to be an Ambassador. I’ve enjoyed connecting members and future members of GSBA with invaluable resources, shared experiences, and networking opportunities. I’m passionate about valuing diversity, equity, and reinforcing GSBA’s mission throughout all communities. Celebrating milestones and overcoming challenges as we help build generations of leaders.

    My employer, First Financial Northwest Bank, is a proud GSBA sponsor!"


  • Five Ways to Fund Your Startup

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing
    | Jan 11, 2018

    What are some ways to get funding as a startup with little to no business history?

    Whether you are in the initial stages of starting your business or looking for additional funding to grow; prepare to be flexible and creative. Remember, your source of funding may not all come from a single place.

    In fact, many entrepreneurs and small business owners piece together their funding from separate places and at various times. Funding from friends and family is a very popular option to raise funding for a startup. According to the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, the vast majority of startup funds (82 percent) came from the entrepreneur, or from family and friends.

    Other than family and friends, here are five quick ways to get funding for your startup:

    1. Business Credit Cards – Unsecured revolving lines of credit in the form of business credit cards are a powerful tool to consider.

    2. Microloans – For amounts under $50,000, you should consider a microloan. The SBA works with designated intermediary lenders across the country to provide microloans to small business.

    3. Crowdfunding – One of the fastest ways to cast a big net for attracting investors to a business is through crowdfunding.

    4. Credit from Vendors – Vendor credit is the largest use of capital from business-to-business and remains the number-one alternative to personal and small business loans.

    5. Personal Business Loan – Securing a traditional business loan can be a time-consuming process and uphill battle for a startup. In a recent study, only 34 percent of small businesses received traditional funding through their bank, compared to 75 percent of larger businesses.

    Read this full blog at www.sba.gov/blogs.


  • Prevent harassment and bullying of transgender students

    by Matt Landers, GSBA Public Policy & Communications Manager
    | Jan 11, 2018

    Summary
    : Senate Bill 5766 expand the existing law prohibiting harassment, intimidation, and bullying of any student to specifically include transgender students.

    GSBA position: GSBA is strongly in support of SB 5766. We have always supported the inclusion of LGBTQ students in anti-bullying laws, and we know all too well the long-lasting consequences that this kind of harassment can have on our community. As a business organization with the first LGBTQ scholarship fund in the country, we are particularly interested in the well-being of our students.

    LGBT youth - and especially transgender youth - are at an increased risk of being bullied. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality and GLSEN, "75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school and those who are able to persevere had significantly lower GPAs, were more likely to miss school out of concern for their safety, and were less likely to plan on continuing their education."

    SB 5766 requires all school districts in Washington State to enact plans and policies respecting transgender students that, at minimum, incorporates the model transgender student policy and procedure created by the Washington state school directors' association.
     

    Bill information:
    • SB 5766
    • ACTION ALERT: Urge your legislators to support SB 5766!
    • Call or email your legislators (find them here)
    • What to say: "Hi, my name is _____ and I am your constituent. Please vote YES on Senate Bill 5766 to help defend transgender students in their schools."

  • Ban conversion therapy in Washington State

    by Matt Landers, GSBA Public Policy & Communications Manager
    | Jan 11, 2018

    Summary: Senate Bill 5722 will protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors against exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy. Performing conversion therapy would be considered unprofessional conduct for any licensed health care provider and subject them to loosing their license.

    GSBA position: GSBA is strongly in support of SB 5722, which would restrict the practice of conversion therapy. As the largest LGBT chamber of commerce, with over 1,300 business and nonprofit members, GSBA is proud to bring a strong voice on behalf of both the LGBT and business communities to this issue.

    Many states and jurisdictions, including the City of Seattle and our neighbors in Oregon, have already recognized the deep and lasting harm that conversion therapy does to LGBT youth. Conversion therapy is dangerous and has been rejected by every credible medical and mental health organization for decades, but there still remain some providers who offer this practice. Minors are particularly vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and even suicide. The American Psychological Association found in 2007 that there is no methodologically sound research supporting the efficacy of conversation therapy.

    The state has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors and in protecting them against exposure to the serious harms caused by conversion therapy.

    As one of the largest business organizations in the state of Washington, GSBA is fully in support of declaring that performing conversion therapy on a patient under 18 years of age constitutes unprofessional conduct for any license holder. 

    We personally know many people who have been subject to these so-called treatments, including many of our members and our Scholars. GSBA and our 1,300-strong membership strongly urge the Washington Legislature to adopt SB 5722 and ban the deeply harmful practice of conversion therapy.
     

    Bill information:
    • SB 5722
    • ACTION ALERT: Urge your legislators to support SB 5722!
    • Call or email your legislators (find them here)
    • What to say: "Hi, my name is _____ and I am your constituent. Please vote YES on Senate Bill 5722. It is time to end the harmful practice of conversion therapy and protect LGBTQ youth in Washington State."

  • 7 Marketing Resolutions to Make This New Year

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing
    | Jan 04, 2018

    What can your small business do differently in 2018 to boost the results of your marketing efforts? Here are seven marketing resolutions every entrepreneur should make for the coming year.

    1. I resolve to build relationships with customers.
    2. I resolve to understand the customer journey better.
    3. I resolve to take content marketing to the next level.
    4. I resolve to learn more about micro-influencers.
    5. I resolve to harness the potential of email marketing.
    6. I resolve to make time for marketing.
    7. I resolve to stay up-to-date on marketing technology.

    Read the full blog at www.sba.gov/blogs.


  • Meet the 2018 Young Professionals Advisory Council

    by Alanna Francis, Office & Events Coordinator
    | Jan 02, 2018


    ADAMS. JONATHANJonathan Adams
    , MSW is a Queer Black individual hailing from Tacoma, WA. Jonathan received their Bachelor’s Degree at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in sociology, where their passion for advocacy, justice, and racial equity was cultivated. In 2017, Jonathan received his Master of Social Work with honors from the University of Southern California with an emphasis in Social Innovation, Change, and Global Social Work.

    In his vocational career, Jonathan has been deeply invested in their community as a youth outreach coordinator, a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) intern, a media specialist, Diversity Center Alum, and through working on projects at various non-profits as well as through teaching sociology. Through all of this involvement, Jonathan is continuing to cultivate a well-rounded sense of radical solidarity, activism, and inclusion for vulnerable populations.

    Jonathan believes deeply in the words of Audre Lorde: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives.” Jonathan continues to learn, grow, and challenge themselves in the work that needs to be done for his community. As they continue their journey, they will continue to challenge whiteness and continue to advocate for Black and non-Black POC’s in their community. Jonathan loves theatre, travelling, supporting their partner’s art, and dancing—specifically West African folk and hip-hop so come gig with me insta: @ja_lando.

    BlomgrenJennifer Blomgren has served over a year on the Young Professionals with Pride Advisory Council.  She currently works as an Employment Specialist and the Equity and Inclusion Project Manager at Navos. In the past, she has worked as a housing specialist for young adults the YMCA and a domestic violence shelter advocate at the YWCA. Through her professional development Jennifer has made a lifelong commitment to the values of equity, inclusion, and working to advocate for marginalized communities.  

    This journey began when she spent five years of study on societal cultures within the United States and briefly lived in the Dominican Republic studying cultural structures. She identifies as a proud Queer Woman of Color and enjoys connecting with co-workers who are advocating for the advancement of equity and inclusion in their Professional lives.

     


    CAMPBELL, SUNNISunni Campbell is an experienced digital marketer with a passion for people, creative ideas and the power of digital storytelling. A graduate of the University of Washington, she studied Communications and Cultural Anthropology while leading kayak tours in the summer. Today she can be found enjoying copious amounts of fine espresso while crafting search strategy with her team at Wheelhouse DMG.

    When not perfecting her digital nomad skills, Sunni is surely pursuing adventures big and small. Whether snowboarding, traveling or seeking out the perfect sunset, she’s always on the hunt for beauty and joy. Sunni is a committed volunteer in her native Seattle, with many years of experience supporting organizations close to her heart, like HRC, Daybreak Star and SJF. She is excited to be contributing her time to the YPAC, bringing her passion for media, culture and technology to her queer community.

    FLANARY, SCOTTScott Flanary moved to Seattle in August 2017. He works with Moss Adams, a public accounting firm, where he currently leads recruiting efforts throughout Washington. He loves working with young professionals! After graduating from Auburn University, Scott worked with Columbia, Johnson & Wales, Tufts, and Harvard Universities in a variety of admissions and recruiting capacities. In 2010, Scott graduated with a Master's in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he specialized in first-year and senior-year student development. In October 2011, Scott co-founded OutWOD: the nation’s largest national initiative for bringing together LGBTQ athletes and their allies in CrossFit-style competitions. Over the years he has raised over $5,000 for charities such as The LA LGBT Center, The Trevor Project, and buildOn. You may have seen Scott on television: he won the 29th season of The Amazing Race. Nowadays he travels for fun and competes in, or judges at, local CrossFit competitions.

    HAM, BRENNONBrennon Ham is a queer, mixed-latinx, young professional with diverse life experiences and a bright passion for equity, justice, and community-building.  After graduating from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, Brennon moved to Seattle in 2011.

    Since landing here, Brennon has worked with many LGBTQ organizations and is currently supporting queer and trans young people as the Youth Leadership Development & Community Engagement Coordinator for The Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse, a by-and-for organization providing advocacy-based counseling to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

    And, as if that weren’t gay enough, Brennon plays in a gay dodgeball league – go team pink!  Brennon loves to paint, drink wine, and is the proud papi of a sweet senior dog named Anabelle.  The two live in the dreamy Columbia City neighborhood with Brennon’s partner.  Brennon is thrilled to bring lots of love, grit, and fun to the YPAC!

    MARTIN, AHIAhi Martin-McSweeney writes, “I grew up in the Bay Area of California, but I have lived in Seattle for 10 years and consider it home. While my academic background is in child development, I have found myself drawn to the service industry and have built a career in food & hospitality with local companies invested in their people. Both Starbucks & Taylor Shellfish Farms have provided avenues to connect with people across the human spectrum, and given support to myself and others on our journeys to living out and proud.

    My wife & I have a toddler who rules our lives, and we live in Magnolia. In my spare time (not that parents have much), I work with Rat City Roller Derby as a coach and former skater. Another Seattle institution, they have been instrumental in my professional and personal development and are always striving to be a haven and resource to the queer community.”

    PRIVETTE, STEVENSteven Privette hails from North Carolina made his Seattle debut in May 2017. He works for the American Heart Association as the Go Red For Women Business Development Director. His position allows him to facilitate meaningful conversations with community stakeholders in creating a health driven legacy in the Puget Sound.

    When he is not working, you can find Steven with friends, at the yoga studio, or with his adorable Frenchie named Charlotte. A zest for travel has lead Steven to incredible destinations, his favorite being Costa Rica. “I have made it a priority to travel abroad every so often to continue my commitment to being a lifelong learner. Such experiences have given me a unique perspective on life that you can only gain by getting out of your comfort zone."

    Combining his passions for connecting people and engaging communities, Steven is enthusiastic to serve on the GSBA YPAC!

    SAVAGE, DANADana Savage is Managing Partner at Helios Law Group, PLLC. In addition to managing the general operations of the firm, Dana represents clients in cases involving small businesses, civil rights advocacy, family law, debt defense, and crisis management. Dana’s primary areas of expertise include multi-jurisdictional litigation and contractual disputes.

    Ms. Savage also volunteers throughout Washington by committing her talents and making financial contributions to organizations such as the KCBA Neighborhood Legal Clinic, the Tacoma Rainbow Center, the Greater Seattle Business Association, and CENTS. Dana is also a former volunteer supervising attorney for the International Refugee Assistance Project, where she mentored law students in obtaining refugee resettlement visas for persecuted individuals United States theaters of military operations. As part of her commitment to providing greater access to legal resources to those in need, Ms. Savage maintains an open-door policy of providing free legal consultations to Washington’s LGBTQ+ community.

    Tom ThorogoodTom Thorogood is a software engineer at Amazon, currently leading development of a product to overhaul how Amazon schedules  volunteer trainers, and to provide course owners meaningful data to improve their course content. He has previously worked in communications roles in both nonprofit and small business sectors. At Amazon, Tom also co-runs a wine tasting club, so is always on the lookout for new, interesting wines!

    Tom achieved his Bachelor's of Environmental Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006. He moved to Seattle in 2013, and has never felt more at home.

    He and his partner Joel live in Queen Anne, locked in a cold war between their histrionic pets. They tread carefully around their poltergeist, Paulie, who doesn't seem to mind them most of the time.
     


  • Seattle’s Minimum Wage Increases on January 1, 2018

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications, GSBA
    | Dec 29, 2017

    The City of Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) announces the increase to the Seattle minimum wage beginning on January 1, 2018. The increase to the minimum wage reflects inflation adjustments and annual increases required by the Minimum Wage ordinance.

    The 2018 minimum wage for large employers (501 or more employees) who do not pay toward the individual employee’s medical benefit plan is $15.45/hour. The 2018 minimum wage for large employers who do pay toward the individual employee’s medical benefits is $15/hour.

    The 2018 minimum wage for small employers (500 or fewer employees) who do not pay at least $2.50 per hour toward the individual employee’s medical benefits and/or where the employee does not earn at least $2.50 per hour in tips is $14/hour. The 2018 minimum wage for small employers who do pay at least $2.50 per hour toward the individual employee’s medical benefits and/or where the employee does earn at least $2.50 per hour in tips is $11.50/hour.

    Revised Labor Standards posters for 2018, which are required to be posted by all businesses with workers in Seattle, have been mailed to every business with a Seattle business license. English copies are also available for download at the Revised Labor Standards posters for 2018, which are required to be posted by all businesses with workers in Seattle, have been mailed to every business with a Seattle business license. English copies are also available for download at the OLS Website and can be picked up at OLS at 810 3rd Avenue, Suite 375, and at every City of Seattle Customer Service Center. OLS is in the process of translating the poster into twelve other languages.

    • Help for employers: For free and private compliance assistance with Minimum Wage and any Seattle labor standard, or to schedule a training, call 206-256-5297 or email business.laborstandards@seattle.gov.
    • Help for workers and the public: To ask a question, file a complaint, or provide information, call 206-256-5297, email workers.laborstandards@seattle.gov, visit the OLS in downtown Seattle at 810 Third Ave. Suite 375, or click here to fill out a web form
    • Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance applies to employees working in Seattle, regardless of the employees’ immigration status.

    Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance applies to employees working in Seattle, regardless of the employees’ immigration status.


  • 2017 President's Award: Meade Thayer

    by Greater Seattle Business Association
    | Dec 28, 2017

    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    Presidents_award2017 President's Award: Meade Thayer

    Meade Thayer has been part of the GSBA Scholarship Steering Committee since its inception a decade ago. His expertise in the field of education, admissions, and financial aid, as Executive Director of Northwest Association of Independent Schools for 16 years, has made him one of the most valuable resources in growing the Scholarship Fund to what it now is. Meade’s philosophy is to ask a lot of questions to better understand what someone wants to accomplish, and then help them find the resources to accomplish their goal.  Meade asks the hard questions, then rolls up his sleeves to do the hard work to figure out the best answers, all with compassion and generosity. Beyond his professional expertise, he is also personally one of the most generous financial donors to the fund. In his ‘retirement’ this self-avowed sports junkie (with emphasis on the Seahawks) continues to serve as a Consultant with NWAIS’ Leaders Supporting Leaders program and to volunteer in his community and, we hope for years to come, to share his expertise and dedication to helping the Scholarship Fund improve the lives of countless scholars. This year to honor his contribution, we will award the Meade Thayer Scholarship to a deserving future leader.

    We flourish as a community. We value our local and independent businesses, support our nonprofits, and come together to recognize, value, and celebrate the strength we have when we all work together. Together We Rise.

    The 37th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner | Feb 15, 2018


  • 2017 Special Recognition: Voice of Social Justice Bob Ferguson

    by Greater Seattle Business Association
    | Dec 28, 2017

    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    Bob_Ferguson2017 Special Recognition - Voice of Social Justice: Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General

    As the state’s chief legal officer, Attorney General Bob Ferguson is committed to protecting the people of Washington against powerful interests that don’t play by the rules. He was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017 after successfully blocking President Trump’s executive order barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. An internationally ranked chess master, he has won each of the lawsuits against the federal government that have been heard so far. He personally argued before the Washington Supreme Court against Arlene’s Flowers in their attempts to deny service to a same-sex couple. The Supreme Court subsequently ruled unanimously that refusing to serve same-sex couples violates the Consumer Protection Act and the Law Against Discrimination. In his own department, he formed the Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit, the very first within the Attorney General’s Office dedicated to protecting the civil rights of all those who live in our state, as well as the Counsel for Environmental Protection. There are few as well suited to the Voice for Social Justice Award as Attorney General Ferguson, whose vigorous defense of all Washingtonians has been critical in safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of thousands across our state.

    LISTEN: Sure, things are stressful. But how’s the Constitution?

    We flourish as a community. We value our local and independent businesses, support our nonprofits, and come together to recognize, value, and celebrate the strength we have when we all work together. Together We Rise.

    The 37th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner | Feb 15, 2018


  • 2017 Nonprofit of the Year: Planned Parenthood

    by Greater Seattle Business Association
    | Dec 28, 2017

    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    Planned_Parenthood2017 Nonprofit of the Year: Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, Christine Charbonneau, CEO

    Since 1939 Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands has been an important part of our community and represents the largest Planned Parenthood territory in the country. Their mission is to support the lifelong sexual health of the people of our communities, and to foster a community where every child is a wanted child by providing high quality, affordable reproductive health services in settings that protect the dignity, privacy, and rights of each individual. PPGNHI has many community partnerships including the ACLU of Washington, Legal Voice, and Northwest Health Law Advocates. They operate 27 physical health centers and in addition provide telehealth options throughout the region, to enable wider access to health care. PPGNHI serves people of all genders and sexual orientations. They provide non-judgmental care to better outcomes for sexual and reproductive health, including expanded annual well-visits to include people of all genders and anatomy. Adapting to the needs of the community, even when under constant legislative attacks has made them nimble when facing adversity and receptive to the thoughts and needs of those they serve including the LGBTQ community which led them to take a stand as a powerful voice in support of marriage equality. They keep their mission at the forefront of all that they do and understand the balance of all elements of that mission including direct service, education, and advocacy.
     
    We flourish as a community. We value our local and independent businesses, support our nonprofits, and come together to recognize, value, and celebrate the strength we have when we all work together. Together We Rise.

    The 37th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner | Feb 15, 2018


  • 2017 Green/Sustainable Business of the Year: Fremont Brewing

    by Greater Seattle Business Association
    | Dec 28, 2017

    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    Sara_Nelson2017 Green/Sustainable Business of the Year: Fremont Brewing, Sara Nelson, Owner

    Fremont Brewing, co-founded by Sara Nelson and her husband, Matt Lincecum, is the third largest independently-owned craft brewery in Washington and their Interurban IPA is the nation’s best-selling independent, packaged IPA sold in the state. Besides making delicious beer and maintaining consistently high quality, Fremont gained a reputation early on as a “green brewery” because of their zero-waste practices and use of organic ingredients. From the beginning sustainability has been a core value for Fremont Brewing, infusing everything they do – from brewing operations to employee benefits, to civic engagement, generous donations program, ingredient procurement, and more. They are nationally recognized for leadership in sustainability and commitment to triple bottom line sustainability – environmental, economic, and social sustainability – which lies at the foundation of everything they do from providing excellent benefits to their employees and their families to giving back to the community, to all things traditionally thought of as “green.” They do this in three main ways: in their production operations and infrastructure, by procuring and promoting sustainably grown ingredients and through advocacy and leadership at the local, state, and national levels. The National Brewers Association’s rates them in the top tier for water, electricity, and gas conservation.
     
    We flourish as a community. We value our local and independent businesses, support our nonprofits, and come together to recognize, value, and celebrate the strength we have when we all work together. Together We Rise.

    The 37th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner | Feb 15, 2018


  • 2017 Community Leader of the Year: Aleksa Manila

    by Greater Seattle Business Association
    | Dec 28, 2017

    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    Aleksa_Manila2017 Community Leader of the Year: Aleksa Manila, Founder, Pride ASIA

    Drug counselor by day, drag diva by night, Aleksa Manila is a celebrated and respected drag personality and a favorite emcee/host, speaker/panelist, performer/model at many events in the region because of her smart and sassy presence onstage and her ease of engaging her audience. Aleksa recently received the prestigious Dr. Bob Wood Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention, and was 2014 Grand Marshal at the 40th Seattle Pride Parade alongside her hero, George Takei. In her professional career, Aleksa when “not-in-face” is the Program Coordinator of Project NEON (Needle Exchange and Sex Education Outreach Network) and Program Supervisor of Addiction Services at Seattle Counseling Service (SCS). In addition, she founded ICON, the biggest fundraiser for SCS which raises over $100,000. In 2012, Aleksa founded Pride ASIA whose mission is to celebrate, empower and nurture the multi-cultural diversity of the LGBTQ communities through the Asian Pacific Islander lens. Aleksa states, “We learn to be resilient, persevere, and thrive as LGBTQ people.” It is a sense of community that makes her successful. Whether it is being part of Pride Asia, SCS, or as an individual, she takes pride in being a drag queen and she uses drag as an opportunity for dialogue for LGBTQ issues and disparities. Aleksa Manila…a true Seattle star!

    We flourish as a community. We value our local and independent businesses, support our nonprofits, and come together to recognize, value, and celebrate the strength we have when we all work together. Together We Rise.

    The 37th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner | Feb 15, 2018


  • 2017 Corporate Leader of the Year: René Neidhart

    by Greater Seattle Business Association
    | Dec 28, 2017

    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    Rene_Neidhart2017 Corporate Leader of the Year: René Neidhart, General Manager, Renaissance Seattle Hotel

    René started his career in hospitality at the age of 15 as a cook at a hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. Moving to Toronto (without even knowing English) and eventually to Seattle, Renaissance Seattle General Manager René Neidhart has been in hotel management for over two decades in Seattle. As an out and proud gay man, he has created diverse teams that enable employees to bring their authentic selves to work. Since coming out later in life he has been completely up-front about his orientation in his places of employment and has welcomed and encouraged LGBT groups and clients at his hotels. René has served on the GSBA Board of Directors, Scholarship committee, and the GSBA Travel & Tourism Advisory Board. He was instrumental in the creation of the Evening of Hope Gala and has served on the Board of YouthCare and the Seattle Hotel Association. René also attributes his success to his personal involvement and relationships, understanding the customers’ needs and taking a win-win attitude into every transaction.

    We flourish as a community. We value our local and independent businesses, support our nonprofits, and come together to recognize, value, and celebrate the strength we have when we all work together. Together We Rise.

    The 37th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner | Feb 15, 2018


  • 2017 New Business of the Year: Diverse City LLC

    by Greater Seattle Business Association
    | Dec 28, 2017

    The GSBA Business & Humanitarian Awards honor businesses and business leaders who are successful, exemplify the highest standards of their profession, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community.

    Cheryl_Ingram2017 New Business of the Year: Diverse City LLC
    Cheryl Ingram PhD, Owner

    Diverse City is a consulting firm founded by Cheryl Ingram PhD, specializing in diversity and equity assessments, training, and coaching. It is immediately apparent upon meeting Dr. Ingram for the first time that she is a hard-working entrepreneur who lives and breathes diversity and inclusion, motivated by her passion to connect people and make the world a better place – for ALL people. Diverse City’s mission is to eliminate discrimination and oppression in every workplace and educational institution and Cheryl does this work with passion, expertise, and thoughtfulness. Her ability to assess, train, and redesign programs with an inclusive and equitable lens is innovative and inspiring. The goal of Diverse City is to work with companies and build long-term sustainable diversity and inclusion practices. They specialize in numerous components of diversity and inclusion, including unconscious bias, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, religious discrimination, and other components of diversity. Passionate about many issues and generous with her spare time Dr. Ingram also donates her time and talents to numerous nonprofits in Seattle.
     
    We flourish as a community. We value our local and independent businesses, support our nonprofits, and come together to recognize, value, and celebrate the strength we have when we all work together. Together We Rise.

    The 37th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner | Feb 15, 2018