The GSBA Blog


  • GSBA Reflects on 2017

    by Brandon Macz
    | Dec 13, 2017

    The Greater Seattle Business Association capped off 2017 with an annual meeting where Business & Humanitarian Awards recipients were announced and local lawmakers gave an optimistic preview of the 2018 legislative session.

    GSBA president Louise Chernin shared highlights from the past year, including how the state’s largest LGBTQ chamber of commerce in 2017 raised $950,000 in student scholarship funding. This year marked $3 million in total awards to LGBTQ and allied students to pursue their leadership potential over four years.

    “There is no one doing that,” Chernin said, “so I just have to say that is really remarkable to stay with a student for four years.”

    This was also the first year the GSBA led a leadership academy with students from around the country.

    Antioch University provost Benjamin Pryor said the school’s partnership with GSBA has allowed the university to identify challenges for its LGBTQIA students and improve on its environmental education and mental health counseling. Antioch is also developing a post-graduate certificate for LGBTQIA counseling.

    The chamber took a leadership position in the fight to oppose Initiative 1552, said GSBA chair Drew Ness, which failed to get enough signatures to make the November ballot this year. It would have restricted people to use the bathroom, locker room and other facilities that correspond with their biological gender... more.


  • GSBA members appointed co-chairs of Seattle Small Business Advisory Council


    Signing an Executive Order at Elliott Bay Book Company, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan established the Seattle’s first Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC). Tasked with ensuring small businesses have a role in informing policies and programs as well as access to resources, the council will provide input on impact of City decisions, make policy recommendations, and help increase access to tools and resources available to small businesses.

    “Inventing the future and supporting vibrant neighborhoods means supporting small businesses that call Seattle home. Our small businesses must be a part of solving our urgent challenges of affordability and growth,” said Mayor Durkan. “With this first ever council, Seattle’s diverse and innovative small businesses will have a voice in City Hall and be a part of creating and crafting solutions.”

    As part of today’s announcement, Durkan announced four co-chairs including: Joe Fugere, Owner of Tutta Bella; Taylor Hoang, Entrepreneur and Executive Director, Ethnic Business Coalition; Donna Moodie, Owner of Marjorie Restaurant and CEO of Mint Holding a food and design company; and Tracy Taylor, Manager of Elliott Bay Book Company.

    The SBAC charter will be determine by February 1, 2018 with the first meeting by March 1, 2018. SBAC members will represent businesses of different sizes, different industries, different neighborhoods, and from different sectors, stages, and ownership models and will include under-represented entrepreneurs: women, immigrants, refugees people of color, and the LGBTQ community.

    Seattle has about 36,500 businesses with fewer than 50 employees that employ nearly 200,000 people in Seattle. Across Washington State, small businesses account for more than half of all of our jobs in Washington State. Collectively, our small businesses employ nearly 200,000 people in Seattle.


  • Ambassador Profile: Caroline Millet

    by Caroline Millet
    | Nov 30, 2017

    ambssador caroline millet career paths 300x300"Hello, GSBA! I’m a consultant at Career Paths NW in Lynnwood, though I really prefer the term “headhunter,” because I seek out top sales talent in multiple industries in service to my clients, while helping people take that next step in their career, with lots of coaching along the way. I first recruited in San Francisco during the dot-com boom… and bust. I bring to my role my industry experience in insurance, marketing, event management, hospitality management, digital marketing, and even the legal field. Sales is something I have always done in some form or another, so being a headhunter for sales talent now feels like coming full-circle.

    Prior to moving to Seattle from San Francisco nearly 13 years ago, I was a chef working at a wine bar and bistro, as well as catering and teaching cooking lessons. Given the option of what to cook, I would choose seafood or duck. Cooking and art are my first loves and even with my busy schedule of also being in school full-time, (graduation Aug 2018!), and being a single parent, I find time for both.

    Originally from Minnesota, my family was the first Vietnamese family there, ever. It was a good and challenging place to grow up at that time being of a different race. However, we were sponsored by fantastic people whom I loved as my parents and who insisted I be in 4-H for 11 years, learning public speaking, drama, writing, youth leadership skills, and creative and domestic arts. Perhaps that is why being an Ambassador for the GSBA is so important to me: connecting people and being part of a community that has a mission and shared values feels right to me.

    ambssador caroline millet career paths NW 300x300In my scant spare time, I enjoy being with my 10-year-old daughter and our friends, photography, going to artist and makers shows, sharing meals, volunteering, and enjoying theater, dance, and music. If the weather is agreeable, I can be found at the beach or on a hike, and as long it’s not pouring rain, it’s normal to find me walking Greenlake on a Sunday morning before I buckle down to study. I also enjoy pet-sitting, own a snake, and love a good scotch- the peaty stuff. Throw in dark chocolate, and that’s a good treat, right there.

    Seattle encompasses so many things I love and the GSBA keeps me engaged and involved with some of the best of Seattle. I am excited to be an Ambassador and meet and connect you at an upcoming event!"



  • Featured New Member: Industrious

    by Emily Streeper
    | Nov 30, 2017

    industrious3 600x337Industrious is a premium workplace platform, blending five-star service and stunning design to provide an unparalleled workplace experience for established professionals. Scheduled to open in January of next year, the company’s first Seattle office is located in the heart of Downtown, in Denny Triangle, right next to Jazz Alley and kitty-corner from the Amazon spheres.

    Industrious was founded in 2013 by Jamie Hodari and Justin Stewart, who are two childhood friends who grew up literally next door to each other.

    Gone are the ping pong tables, kombucha kegs in the corner and skateboards -- stereotypes of what coworking is -- instead, at Industrious, you’ll find office space as professional and innovative as its members’ businesses. Built on the principle of providing people the hospitality and design in the place they least expect it, the Industrious team is driven by making people excited and proud to go to work.

    Industrious members come from diverse industries including creative agencies, growing start-ups, and professional services firms in real estate, finance and legal. As one of the few coworking solutions that caters to freelancers and the Fortune 500, the Industrious team is proud to partner with GSBA and assist its member companies, of all sizes, find their next HQs.

    It’s an exciting time to be in the coworking space; both in Seattle and across the country. Businesses need great work environments in order to grow and succeed but very few are actually able to execute on this core necessity due to complicated, opaque and expensive processes.

    At Industrious Seattle, private offices are available for 1-7+ person teams, as well as national coworking memberships. The space will be equipped with Herman Miller seating and custom-made wood desks. Breakfast will be provided every morning featuring coffee, provided by Caffe Umbria. All levels of membership also include 24/7 access to the national footprint of Industrious offices.

    industrious2 600x337We are excited to partner with the GSBA to help us build an Industrious Seattle community that shares our commitment to promoting equality in business and reflects the diversity of our vibrant city. If you’re looking for a better work environment or on the search for your business’ next home, Industrious is offering a special discount to GSBA members. To learn more about the offer and to schedule a tour of the space, please reach out to Emily Streeper at estreeper@industriousoffice.com. Emily is the Community Manager at Industrious and has two cats she absolutely adores names Lola & Ware (“Yep, I like Tupperware!”).



  • EQUALUX: Thank You!

    by Louise Chernin, President & CEO
    | Nov 22, 2017

    EQUALUX_staff on stageEQUALUX: The TASTE of GSBA
     is about a community coming together for its own. How thrilling it was to see over 900 guests enjoying each other's company, wonderful food, incredible wines, outstanding entertainment; and giving so generously to the GSBA Scholarship Fund.

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, Scholarship Steering Committee, and staff of GSBA, I would like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks for your support of the GSBA Scholarship Fund.

    Over $950,000 was raised to provide education, hope, and a better future for LGBTQ and allied students!



    We are grateful for the generosity of our guests, volunteers, and local businesses for making this event a success. The GSBA Scholarship Fund cannot continue - or grow - its impact within the community through scholarships and leadership development without your support.
     
    Over the last year, your generosity has achieved so much. Your participation and gifts have allowed the GSBA Scholarship Fund to make a four-year commitment to our scholars and launch our first-ever leadership program, the GSBA Leadership Academy. We are overwhelmed by your commitment to our current and future Scholars!

    At this year's gala 1995 Scholar Chris Kuhel shared with you the impact the GSBA Scholarship Fund had on his life - so much so that he has returned to GSBA as a volunteer and donor. YOU made this possible! Chris is living the mission of the fund and has become a leader within our community. Because of you this continues to be the norm among our scholars. Following his story of resilience, we were astounded by the flood gates of generosity opened by the Florence & WM Beeks Foundation with their $25,000 donation. From there, the magic spread, with truly inspiring gifts from Glenn Johnson & Michael MelanconMeade Thayer, and Michael Copeland... resulting in $400,000 being raised during the Fund-A-Scholar portion of the evening.
     
    There are so many thank yous to be given for making EQUALUX such a great success. To begin, let's thank Jennifer Hopper and Jennifer Moran, our dream Co-Chairs who provided leadership and vision for EQUALUX; our incredible Board of Directors, led by Drew Ness; Scholarship Chair, Carrie Carson; the GSBA Staff - especially Carlos Chavez our Programs & Events Manager and Mark Rosén our VP of Development & External Relationships; and over 120 event volunteers!
     
    During dinner, one lucky table was treated to a gourmet meal by celebrity chefs Tamara Murphy (Terra Plata), Sheena Eliz (Anar & Mbar), Leslie Mackie (Macrina Bakery & Cafe), and Shota Nakajima (Adana). Once again our amazing auctioneer, Laura Michalek, and the delightful emcee, John Fisher, kept us engaged and bidding.
     
    EQUALUX: The TASTE of GSBA would not be possible without you, our guests, and our wonderful sponsors. A heartfelt thanks to our Title Sponsor: 1st Security Bank; our Presenting Sponsor: Comcast NBC Universal and our 2017 Voice of Scholarship: Interchange Media, and of course our Annual and Event Sponsors. And, what would EQUALUX be without our wonderful restaurant, catering, and wine sponsors: Adrice Wines, Aluel Cellars, Barrage Cellars, Bartholomew Winery, Browne Family Vineyards, Caprio Cellars, Damsel Cellars, Elsom Cellars, Fidelitas Wines, Goose Ridge Vineyards & Estate, Gorman Winery, Gruet, Guardian Cellars, Kerloo Cellars, Latta Wines, Laurelhurst Cellars, Mark Ryan Winery, Market Vineyards, Nine Hats Wines, Nota Bene Cellars, Patterson Cellars, Rotie Cellars, Structure Wines, Tranche Cellars, Va Piano Vineyards, 13 Coins Restaurant, Barrio - Mexican Kitchen + Bar, The Hi-Life, Honest Biscuits, Madres Kitchen, Rhein Haus Restaurant, Bocce Haus, & Bier Hall, Tankard & Tun Restaurant, and Taylor Shellfish Farms!
     
    We will continue to build on the year's successes with the support of our community with a re-energized commitment to supporting our next generation of scholars. There's so much more we can accomplish if we do it together - the need within our community for leaders is great!
     
    Because of all of you, our Scholars have the hope and support they need to become the next generation of leaders.

    Truly an evening for which to be thankful.

    If you were not at EQUALUX, there is still time to be part of the magic of giving. We invite you to make a year-end gift to your GSBA Scholarship Fund here.

    For equality,
    SIGNATURE_Louise
     



    P.S.
     If you would like to make your mark on the 2018 scholarship cycle, please consider giving the gift of time as a scholarship interviewer.



    Visit the EQUALUX photo gallery.

    Click here to see if employer has a matching gifts program.


  • Are you ready for Small Business Saturday?

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
    | Nov 21, 2017

    Small Business Saturday, November 25, 2017, is an annual shopping tradition dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

    Encouraging community members to Shop Small is about more than just shopping at small businesses. It’s a cause that helps to support local economies and promote vibrant, diverse communities. It’s also a nationwide movement fueled by shoppers, business owners, and organizers who come together and celebrate the community because they know it matters.

    __________________________

    SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

    Promote your business

    Pick up your Shop Small tote bags, welcome mats, pennants, and balloons at GSBA's LGBT Visitors Center beginning Wednesday, November 22. 

    Attract even more customers with the tools available at the online Shop Small Studio. You can create customized marketing materials for your physical  location, online shop, and social media with the Shop Small Studio —  in less than 2 minutes.

    Create Materials

    __________________________

    NEIGHBORHOOD CHAMPIONS

    Bring your community together

    Help rally small businesses and shoppers in your community on the big day, Nov 25, with inspiration and support from American Express.

    Champion the Community Cause
    Step up for Small Business Saturday as an individual, group, or organization.

    Organize a Community Event
    Throw at least one event on Small Business Saturday that brings the community and businesses together.

    Rally 10+ Small Businesses
    Reach out to at least ten eligible, local small businesses in your community and encourage them to participate in your event.

    Apply Now


  • Spotlight on Bank of America‚Äôs Ally Program

    by Bank of America
    | Nov 19, 2017

    Being a diverse and inclusive company is core to Bank of America’s ability to deliver on its purpose of growing responsibly by supporting the clients, communities and employees it serves. The company has a long standing commitment to LGBT employees and members of the community, demonstrated in a variety of meaningful ways including external partnerships, corporate values, policies, benefit programs, Employee Networks and the company’s ever expanding Ally Program.

    Bank of America’s Ally Program was introduced in 2013 by its LGBT Pride Employee Network, one of 11 Employee Networks at the company. LGBT Pride and its 14,000 members worldwide are focused on helping to attract LGBT talent to the company, the career development of LGBT teammates, supporting LGBT inclusive programs, and community support. The Ally Program encourages teammates to show support for LGBT colleagues and help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect.

    “Our allies have a profound impact on our employees’ abilities to bring their whole selves to work,” said Kim Vu, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Business and Community Engagement and an Ally at Bank of America. With more than 60 percent of Gen-Y LGBT college graduates going back in the closet when they start their first job, and seventy-three percent of closeted LGBT workers being more likely to leave their jobs within three years, Bank of America recognizes how disruptive this can be for employees wanting to reach their full potential. “Our allies take ownership in creating a workplace environment that honors diversity, equality and inclusion so all teammates can fully engage and its part of what helps to keep us competitive.”

    In addition to supporting a variety of national and local LGBT-focused organizations such as Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Seattle Police Department Safe Place and Seattle Pride, Bank of America’s LGBT Pride hosts Ally Week—an annual internal employee event to thank and recognize members of the Ally Program, educate employees on what it means to be an ally, and offer learning sessions on being more inclusive of LGBT teammates for all employees.

    “Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender isn’t always visible,” said Micheal Bailey, Bank of America Small Business Banker and one of the leaders of the bank’s LGBT Pride Seattle chapter. “Our LGBT employees, along with those who have other hidden diversity characteristics, may feel hidden themselves and that stress and anxiety can prevent them from achieving their life and career aspirations. We want our teammates to know that Bank of America is an inclusive workplace, where everyone’s backgrounds are valued.”

    Learn more about Bank of America's commitment to Diversity & Inclusion here


  • Staff Profile: Tristen Gardner

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
    | Nov 18, 2017

    GardnerTristenTristen Gardner
    , Development Officer, joined the GSBA staff in September. Tristen is the primary point of contact for all donors and reaches out to individuals who are interested in investing in the GSBA Scholarship Fund. In addition, Tristen is developing a program for engagement with past scholars.

    “I used to play with the Seattle Quake Rugby team but nowadays support them off the field. I also am a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood and believe in everyone’s right to access and receive birth control and safe sex options. Currently however, when I am not working I am pursuing my Masters in Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University.”

    Before coming to GSBA, Tristen worked with the Environmental Protection Agency as an environmental scientist. He specialized in hazardous waste cleanups and enforcement. His favorite part of that job was working with and educating at-risk communities on the perils of environmental contaminants and assisting community members in ways that they and their families can feel safe.


  • Donor Profile: Interchange Media, The Voice of Scholarship

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
    | Nov 18, 2017

    Michele Gomes and Jennifer Ting of Interchange Media Art Productions have created videos for the GSBA Scholarship Fund since 2013. In 2016 they became the official Voice of Scholarship.

    We caught up with Jenny and Michele between trips to film festivals to learn a little more about their story...

    “We started our business because we wanted to focus on positive storytelling,” explains Michele. “We have aligned our business model with our personal values. Our company mission is to put the eye of the camera on life sustaining values. We also contribute our success to building trusting relationships with our clients; our willingness to put in long hours, develop new skills, and invest in new technology; and networking and word of mouth referrals.”

    Jenny and Michele share may passions including protecting the environment and LGBTQ equality.

    They have produced documentaries and promotional materials for a variety of clients on subjects ranging from Ebola, to edible urban forests, to a backwoods legend who roams the Olympic peninsula barefoot. They have also created a PSA for the Tibetan community that was used to promote transgender rights and equality within the community, with the primary purpose of the video being shown to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

    Jenny has created two documentary films about the LGBTQ community. Her first film “Not Straight Forward,” about a Seattle lesbian who went on ten dates with ten different women, documents the political climate at the time. “Straight Into Gay America” is about a Lutheran pastor who traveled from Vermont to Washington D.C. in support of LGBTQ rights.

    Their award-winning documentary “Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction,” premiered on January 17, 2017, and has since been screened at festivals and IMAX theaters across the country. The film began airing on public television stations in April 2017. “It was exciting for us to be able to witness and document how New Englanders, Southerners, and people in Mexico are working together to save a critically endangered species. The film has helped people to understand the bigger picture and overall implications of what it takes to conserve a species at risk and has inspired people to volunteer and donate to marine conservation or other wildlife organizations.”

    When asked about their recent experiences traveling around the country with their film, Michele says “...we’ve witnessed that Good Will is very much alive. A great number of people care about the environment and are supporting conservation efforts all around the U.S. Actually all around the world. We have had large turnouts at screenings whether communities live by the ocean or not, so this is an indicator that many in the US are wanting to be informed about conservation and what kind of action they can take.”

    “We are very honored that Jenny and Michele, two amazing filmmakers, have become The Voice of Scholarship,” says Mark Rosén, GSBA VP of Development & External Relations. “Their work has enabled us to share our students’ stories, and the vision for the GSBA Scholarship Fund, with thousands of people at home and around the world.”

    Learn more about Michele and Jenny here.


  • Paving the Way for Non- Binary Birth Certificates

    by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Communications Manager
    | Nov 17, 2017

    This summer, Oregon became the first state to allow a non-binary “X” gender marker on IDs and driver’s licenses, followed quickly by the District of Columbia and California. Hopefully the Evergreen State will not be far behind! The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) issued a draft rule in August to add nonbinary gender options to birth certificates. People born in Washington can already request an updated birth certificate indicating a gender different than the one originally recorded, but they are limited to the options of “male” and “female”.

    “What we are trying to do is just have birth certificates align with people’s gender identity,” said department head Christie Spice in an interview with the Tacoma News Tribune.

    GSBA joined many partner organizations to sign on to a statement authored by Gender Justice League, Legal Voice, Transgender Law Center, and other partner organization to express support for a clear, accessible process through with Washingtonians can change the gender designation on their birth certificates. There is growing recognition in other parts of the U.S. (California, DC, Oregon) and countries (Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Nepal) that binary gender markers are insufficient as a means to accurately reflect gender and to ensure equality.

    The group is advocating for a series of principles around this rule change, including:

    • Non-discrimination:
    gender exists in many forms and no one should be preferred over the other. All people who need to change their gender designation should have access to this process with as few barriers as possible.
    • Accessibility: all people who need to change their gender designation on their birth certificate should be permitted to do so without significant expense, barriers, or arbitrary limitations.
    • Self-determination: individuals know their genders, and third parties do not need to be involved in this determination.
    • Safety and privacy: the private and identifying information provided by and for people seeking a gender marker change must be protected from public disclosure.

    As our society’s understanding of gender broadens, we hope that the categories a person could choose would recognize the spectrum of gender. The Department of Health has already expressed a desire for any alternative to “male” and “female” to be broadly and non-exclusively defined. The option least likely to exclude Washingtonians and most likely to avoid confusion would be to create an application form with a blank next to the word “Gender” where individuals can self-identify. Should the Department of Health require specific options, the group suggested that the terms “Non-Binary,” “Female,” “Male,” and “Not specified” would also be a positive step forward.

    GSBA is looking forward to advocating for laws, rules, and policies across our state that reflect the entirety of experiences from our communities.


  • Staff Profile: Meridian Mayer

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
    | Nov 16, 2017

    Mayer,MeridianMeridian Mayer, Sr. Membership Services Manager, joined the GSBA staff in September. Meridian works with GSBA members to ensure they make the most of their membership experience, remain a valued member of the GSBA community, and feel supported in their business efforts.

    “The consistent connecting element of my life has been remaining oriented toward equality, visibility, advocacy, and community and I am excited to contribute to this vital work as part of GSBA staff.

    When I’m not in the office, I enjoy mentoring fostered youth through the STAR Program at Amara Parenting and Adoption Services. This program is a fantastic way for me to remain connected to my adopted community and invest in youth.

    As a former Division II collegiate basketball player, I enjoy coaching and training. I’ve coached throughout Seattle and am grateful to be able to advocate for developing athletes. There’s also something to be said for a quiet, empty gym at 5am and the focus on the craft that comes with the silence.

    I’m thrilled to be part of the incredible work that GSBA does! The work is conducive to me being my best self, and I’m completely grateful for this opportunity.”

    Prior to joining GSBA, Meridian was the Sr. Manager, Membership Development &
    Premium Seating at Seattle Storm, WNBA.


  • My Member Go-To's

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
    | Nov 15, 2017

    Harding, Jenny"As a wedding & event planner, I have the pleasure of working with and referring a variety of highly reputable and talented GSBA member businesses to my clients. Tuxedos & Tennis Shoes: A DSquared Company and Cameron Catering are my go-to caterers, along with Lavish Roots Catering who is a newer business making big waves the past couple years. I call on Herban Feast often for their vast array of services offered at any of their gorgeous venues. Ray’s Boathouse is the perfect rehearsal dinner spot and Silver Cloud Hotel – Seattle Broadway always offers stellar service and affordable/flexible room blocks for out-of-town guests. I rely on Starline Luxury Coaches for transportation needs, Seattle Parties for top-notch DJ services, and ARIA Style for creative and classic floral décor and design. Goldmine Design and J. Rankin Jewellers provide a very unique and customized experience in choosing wedding bands. Street Treats and A La Mode Pies offer the yummiest of desserts and Fran’s Chocolates are always included in welcome gifts to out-of-town guests.

    Renaissance Seattle Hotel and Seattle Marriott Waterfront are among venues that have hosted the annual One Love Wedding Showcase and we have just chosen the King Street Ballroom & Perch as the venue for the 7th annual Showcase happening February 2018." -- Jenny Harding, Owner, New Chapter Weddings & Events

    Orion, Egan"To get the word out about events and to reach out to diverse communities within the LGBTQ sphere, I rely on the expertise and the reach of non-profits like Gay City, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, and GSBA, among others. Community partners and sponsors like Kaiser Permanente, Seattle Gay News, Seattle Gay Scene, Sound, Sound Transit, TomboyX, and Verity Credit Union remind us that we couldn’t do it by ourselves, nor would we want to." -- Egan Orion, Festival Director, Seattle PrideFest

    Williams, Craig"1st Security Bank takes good care of our financial needs, as well as providing a fantastic event space. Tuxedos & Tennis Shoes and Cupcake Royale fill that space and others with wonderful treats for our community friends. Nate Gowdy Photography helps us capture and share those memories with everyone.

    Girlie Press takes care of our printing and designing needs all year long and ZippyDogs is woof-tastic. Our out-of-town staff are treated like family at the Bacon Mansion. Thanks GSBA, for bringing us all together!" -- Craig Williams, Office Manager, Pride Foundation


  • LGBTQ-affirming Affordable Senior Housing in Capitol Hill

    by Ashwin Warrior
    | Nov 14, 2017

    Last month, Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) announced our plans to develop Seattle’s first
    LGBTQ-affirming affordable senior housing, right here in Capitol Hill. For many, the announcement of a project like this feels long overdue. The community has been
    sounding the alarm around this issue for years, and the need for affordable, LGBTQ-friendly housing is immense.

    Thanks to research from Dr. Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen with the University of Washington and Generations Aging with Pride, today we have the clearest picture yet of the unique challenges facing LGBTQ seniors. Compared to their peers, LGBTQ seniors are more likely to live in poverty, be at higher risk for illness, and have less support of children or biological family. LGBTQ seniors often find themselves isolated in traditional retirement communities, and are frequently forced back into the closet to survive.

    At a time when rising rents and rapid change threaten the neighborhood’s LGBTQ identity, projects in Capitol Hill that create a space to address these issues can’t wait.

    For Capitol Hill Housing, responding to the emergent needs of the community is an essential part of our mission. For over 40 years, we have worked to build not
    just affordable homes, but also vibrant and engaged communities. With this project, we have a unique opportunity to bring much-needed affordable housing to the neighborhood while also creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ elders in our community to age in place.

    Our plans are to develop this new housing at the southwest corner of 14th and Union. The initial concept calls for a seven-story building with up to 66 apartments affordable to individuals 55 years or older who make less than $33,000 a year. In accordance with fair housing laws, the building will be an LGBTQ-affirming community welcoming to all seniors, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The first floor will have space for local businesses or community groups that can help further the overall community vision. As part of the project, CHH will also make upgrades to the adjacent Helen V Apartments, a building we have owned for 16 years, and which offers an affordable home for low-income seniors and individuals with permanent disabilities.

    This is the outline, but we need the community to help us fill it in. In September, we hosted a gathering at Gay City to convene the community around this issue.

    Our work to engage the community is just beginning, and our efforts to incorporate the voices, stories, hopes, and aspirations of LGBTQ elders across our city will be ongoing.

    So far, we’ve been honored to have the counsel of over a dozen leaders from community organizations and government entities to help start articulating what LGBTQ-affirming senior housing in Seattle could look like. Bailey-Boushay House, City of Seattle, Entre Hermanos, Gay City, Generations Aging with Pride, King County HIV/AIDS Planning Council, LGBTQ Allyship, Lifelong, POCAAN, Seattle Counseling Services, Seattle Foundation and Virginia Mason Hospital have all helped us look at how to leverage design, social programs and health interventions in the building to support aging LGBTQ community members. In this regard, we are not starting from scratch, and can look to successful projects like 55 Laguna in San Francisco or the Town Hall Apartments in Chicago for inspiration.

    If all goes well, we hope to be able to begin construction in late 2018 and open in 2020. In the meantime, we hope this project will be a catalyst for conversation and greater action throughout the city.

    We are mindful that this is just one small, albeit important, step in a larger movement to address the needs of LGBTQ elders in our community.

    We’ll have more to share in the coming weeks and months. To be receive email updates on the project or to get more involved, please contact Ashwin Warrior.


  • Louise Chernin Appointed Member of Durkan Transition Committee

    by Kamaria Hightower, Communications Director, Mayor-Elect Jenny A. Durkan Transition Team
    | Nov 13, 2017

    Seattle Mayor-elect Jenny A. Durkan unveiled her full transition committee, a diverse and inclusive group of more than 60 community leaders and experts. The committee includes housing and homelessness advocates, social justice activists, transportation advocates, environmentalists, labor, and business leaders.

    "Our transition team reflects the best of Seattle. To solve our affordability, housing, and homelessness crisis, we need urgent action and innovative ideas. These community leaders and policy experts from all parts of Seattle will develop key achievable policy recommendations to make differences not just in the short term, but which help build a progressive, innovative and inclusive city for the next generation," said Mayor-elect Jenny Durkan.

    The transition committee will further develop short-term policy solutions focused on housing, homelessness, affordability, and many others. The committee will coalesce with final recommendations around the following: Environment and Transportation; Education, Economic Opportunity, Jobs and Innovation; Social Justice, Equity, and Healthy Communities; Good Government; Civil Rights and Criminal Justice Reform; and Affordability, Displacement, Housing and Homelessness.

    "We are facing unprecedented challenges as a city, and we want to have a myriad of voices at the table to ensure we are making decisions that will have the most impact and provide immediate relief within our communities,” Durkan concluded. Every member themselves will be reaching out to bring an even greater range of ideas to the table.

    Last week, Durkan selected former Deputy Secretary of the US Department of HUD and King County Executive Ron Sims, Transportation Choices Coalition Executive Director, Shefali Ranganathan, and Plymouth Housing Executive Director Paul Lambros as Co-Chairs of her transition committee.

    Transition Committee Members:
    Adrian Z. Diaz, Lieutenant, Seattle Police Department
    Angela Stowell, United Way, Campaign Co-Chair and Co-Founder of Stowell Restaurants
    Anne Lee, TeamChild, Executive Director
    Asha Mohamed, Women’s Advocacy Center, Co-Founder
    Behnaz Nelson, PTE Local 17, Executive Director
    Bill Hallerman, Catholic Community Services of King County, Agency Director
    Brianna Ishihara, Community Member
    Caleb Banta-Green, University of Washington, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, Principal Research Scientist
    Charlene Strong, Washington State Human Rights Commission, Chair
    Charles Royer, Former Mayor of Seattle
    Cherry Cayabyab, Community Activist
    Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club, Executive Director
    Dave Gering, Manufacturing Industrial Council, Executive Director
    Dave Stewart, Vulcan, Executive Vice President and General Counsel
    David Della, Former Seattle City Councilmember
    David Rolf, SEIU 775, President
    Diane Sosne, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, President
    Eileen Sullivan, Amazon, Senior Manager, U.S. State Public Policy
    Eileen V. Quigley, Clean Energy Transition, Director
    Emilio Garza, The Washington Bus, Executive Director
    Ezra Teshome, Community Leader
    Gordon McHenry, Jr., Solid Ground, President & CEO
    Helen Howell, Building Changes, Executive Director
    Jan Drago, Former Seattle City Councilmember
    Jerry Everard, Capitol Hill and Belltown Business Owner
    Jordan Royer, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, VP for External Affairs, Manufacturing Industrial Council Board Member, and Washington CeaseFire Board Member
    Jorge L. Barón, NW Immigrant Rights Project, Executive Director
    Juan Cotto, El Centro de la Raza, President of the Board, and Board Member of Sound Mental Health
    Kathleen Taylor, ACLU - Washington, Executive Director
    Lauren McGowan, United Way, Sr. Director, Ending Homelessness & Poverty
    The Honorable Leonard Forsman, The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, President and Suquamish Tribe, Chair
    Leonard Smith, Teamsters 117, Director of Organizing & Strategic Campaigns
    Linda Di Lello Morton, GSBA, Board Member, and Terra Plata, Owner
    Lisa Daugaard, Public Defender Association, Director
    Louise Chernin, Greater Seattle Business Association, President & CEO
    Lt. Kenny Stuart, Seattle Fire Fighters Union, IAFF Local 27, President
    Marcos Martinez, Casa Latina, Executive Director
    Mariko Lockhart, National Coordinator, 100,000 Opportunities Initiative - Demonstration Cities, The Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions
    Martha Kongsgaard, Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation, President
    Marty Hartman, Mary’s Place, Executive Director
    Mary Jean Ryan, Community Center for Education Results, Executive Director
    Maud Daudon, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, President & CEO
    Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, East African Community Leader
    Monisha Harrell, Equal Rights Washington, Chair
    Monty Anderson, Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council, Executive Secretary
    Nicole Grant, M. L. King County Labor Council, Executive Secretary Treasurer
    Norm Rice, Former Mayor of Seattle
    Ollie Garrett, Tabor 100, President
    Patrice Thomas, Rainier Beach Action Coalition, Strategist
    Paul Lambros, Plymouth Housing, Executive Director
    Riall Johnson, De-Escalate Washington, Campaign Manager
    Ron Sims, Former King County Executive and Former Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Roxana Norouzi, OneAmerica, Deputy Director
    Ruthann Kurose, Community Leader
    Ryan Calo, University of Washington School of Law, Lane Powell and D. Wayne Gittinger Associate Professor, Shefali Ranganathan
    Transportation Choices Coalition, Executive Director
    Sheila Edwards Lange, Ph.D, Seattle Central College, President
    Stephan Blanford, Education Researcher
    Taylor Hoang, Ethnic Business Coalition, Executive Director
    Thatcher Bailey, Seattle Parks Foundation, President and CEO
    Trish Millines Dziko, TAF, Executive Director


  • EQUALUX: Meet Our Celebrity Chefs

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
    | Nov 09, 2017

    FIRST COURSE

    ELIZ_ SHEENASheena Eliz, Anar and Mbar
    Sheena is a Washington state native with a deep appreciation for plants and herbs and a love of nature and working with local and indigenous ingredients. She recently joined the Mamnoon restaurant group, making healthy, Middle Eastern-inspired food. “I enjoy nourishing and connecting with people through shared meals, and I hope to continuously provide intimate and memorable experiences through food and beverage.”




    SECOND COURSE
    Nakajima_ Shota

    Shota Nakajima
    , Adana
    Chef Shota began his culinary journey at the age of sixteen, working for an acclaimed sushi restaurant in his hometown of Seattle. At the age of eighteen, Nakajima moved to Osaka, Japan to learn about the art of Japanese cuisine. While there, Nakajima had the opportunity to work for Michelin Star-rated Chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto. As one would expect, this experience changed Chef Shota’s perspective on cooking. Since returning to Seattle, it has been Nakajima’s dream to convey Chef Sakamoto’s approach to hospitality and Japanese cuisine in the United States.

    THIRD COURSE / ENTRÉE

    Murphy_TamaraTamara Murphy, Terra Plata, James Beard Award 
    In 2009, the Seattle PI named Chef Tamara Murphy one of five entertainment and culture icons to watch, and cited that she “… has been a Seattle cooking star for nearly two decades, but now she's moving beyond traditional restaurants into wild and vibrant collaborations.” This much honored and always inventive James Beard award-winner, and one of Food & Wine’s picks for Ten Best New Chefs in America, is doing just that as a restaurant owner and as author of TENDER: farmers, cooks, eaters. A force in the national culinary community, regionally, she has created events such as An Incredible Feast –The Good Farmer Fund and Burning Beast. In 2012, she opened Terra Plata on Capitol Hill to widespread acclaim.

    DESSERT

    Mackie_ LeslieLeslie Mackie, Macrina Bakery & Cafe
    Leslie picked up her kitchen skills at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, but baking was her true love. She was soon creating pastry for acclaimed chefs Lydia Shire and Susan Regis at Biba in Boston. While working as a restaurant consultant in Los Angeles, she found herself more and more interested in bread, drawn by the combination of science and intuition required when baking. She was among the first wave of Americans experimenting with recipes from European master bakers and a long, slow fermentation process. Mackie re-discovered the craft's traditional, almost spiritual importance.

    Leslie was head baker at Seattle's Grand Central Bakery, then in 1993 she opened her own place, Macrina. Leslie's recipes reach well beyond Seattle, from her appearances on Julia Child's "Baking with Julia" television series to features on many Food Network shows. Leslie received a 1999 outstanding contributor award and several nominations for the Outstanding Pastry Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation. Leslie has written two cookbooks: Macrina Bakery & Café Cookbook and More from Macrina. She is an active member in Les Dames d'Escoffier and currently serves on the board of the Bread Bakers Guild of America.


  • GSBA Hosts Statewide LGBTQ Advocacy Meeting

    by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Communications Manager
    | Nov 09, 2017

    Statewide LGBTQ Advocacy MeetingGSBA hosted nearly 30 LGBTQ organizations and groups from Washington State and five members of our LGBTQ legislative caucus to discuss the upcoming 2018 legislative session. With the State Senate flipping control to the Democrats, the community anticipates a much more productive session in 2018, with hopes of passing longstanding priorities such as banning conversion therapy and passing the Uniform Parentage Act to better protect and support LGBTQ families. Other topics discussed by the group included healthcare access for transgender people, supporting LGBTQ seniors and homeless youth, economic development, aligning statewide standards with the End AIDS Washington goals, and fighting back any further attempts to roll back or weaken Washington’s anti-discrimination laws.

    We are proud to have a strong network of LGBTQ advocacy organizations, individuals, and allies in all corners of the Evergreen State. Thank you to our LGBTQ legislative caucus members: Rep. Beth Doglio, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, Rep. Christine Kilduff, Sen. Marko Liias, Rep. Nicole Macri, Rep. Joan McBride, and Sen. Jamie Pedersen.


  • Small businesses speak out against anti-LGBTQ discrimination

    by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Communications Manager
    | Nov 09, 2017
     
    Small business leaders across the country understand that being open to the public means being open to everyone. We don’t shut our doors to people or discriminate against them because of what they look like, where they’re from, who they are, or who they love.
     
    But opponents of LGBTQ equality are increasingly attempting to establish a “License to Discriminate” in state laws, at the federal level, and in the courts– and they’re often pushing this discrimination in the name of supposedly protecting small business owners.
     
    This will be the case on December 5, when the U.S. Supreme Court will consider Masterpiece Cakeshop, a case of a bakery that denied service to a same-sex couple because they are gay – and in the lead-up to the case, we must come together to assert the importance of equality.
      
    Are you a small business owner who supports LGBTQ equality? If so, please add your name to the growing list of small business leaders speaking out against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Just click here.
     
    Your business name and city will be listed on Freedom for All Americans’ website along with hundreds of other small businesses and organizations who support nondiscrimination policies and oppose efforts to undermine or exempt businesses from LGBTQ-inclusive policies. Freedom for All Americans is the national campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide, and has been a vital partner of GSBA in our work with Washington Won't Discriminate.
     
    Small business owners are the backbone of our communities – communities where all people should be respected and no one should be denied service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And now more than ever, we need small business leaders to stand up and declare their support for LGBTQ non-discrimination protections.
     
    Inclusion and diversity are critical to a thriving economy and a dynamic workforce – and efforts to undermine or exempt businesses from LGBTQ-inclusive policies are bad for business and bad for the community.
     
    That’s why small business leaders are uniting against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. If you own a small business and are ready to take a stand, add your name to support LGBTQ equality and oppose these “License to Discriminate” proposals here.
     

  • EQUALUX: Call for Volunteers

    by Travis Mears, Director of Development & Scholarship Programs
    | Nov 07, 2017

    Equalux volunteers 600x337As we approach our 21st Annual EQUALUX: The TASTE of GSBA gala, it's becoming clearer by the day that this will be our biggest event EVER.

    It's amazing to see how dedicated our community is to supporting our future leaders through the GSBA Scholarship Fund. Now, more than ever, it is critical for our community to come together to continue moving the needle on social change.

    With over 900+ attendees, EQUALUX will be an event to remember and we need YOUR help! We rely heavily on volunteers throughout the evening to help make this event a success. Due to the size of this years' gala, we need more volunteers that ever before. We are currently looking for support with the following roles:

    - Setup
    - Bid Spotters
    - Bid Assistants
    - Bid Helpers
    - Clean Up

    VOLUNTEERS: CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!

    We hope you will be able to give GSBA scholars the gift of time on November 18th! Training will be provided and you'll be able to enjoy plenty of food and snacks, as well as get to experience all the luxurious fun of attending EQUALUX, while you volunteer! We thank you in advance for your help, we can't do this without you!

    With sincerest thanks,

    Travis Mears
    Director of Development & Scholarship Programs



  • Business & Humanitarian Awards Keynote Speaker

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
    | Nov 06, 2017

    Jennifer Brown (print)-1Jennifer Brown
    is an award-winning entrepreneur, dynamic speaker and diversity and inclusion expert. She is the founder, president and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting, LLC (JBC), and is a passionate social equality advocate committed to helping leaders foster healthier and therefore more productive workplace cultures in which every employee is Welcomed, Valued, Respected, and Heard, ultimately driving innovation and business results. Informed by more than a decade consulting to Fortune 500 companies, her #1 best-selling book entitled Inclusion: Diversity, the New Workplace & the Will to Change creates a compelling case for leadership to embrace the opportunity that diversity represents, for their own growth and for the success of their organizations, while simultaneously empowering advocates at all levels to find their voice and be a driving force in creating more enlightened organizations that resonate in a fast-changing world.

    As a successful LGBT entrepreneur, Brown is a highly sought-after expert source on workplace diversity and inclusion and the future of work, speaking with authority on changing demographics, specific communities of identity including women, people of color, LGBT individuals, generations like Millennials, and the role of male leaders in change efforts.

    Brown has been named Woman of the Year by Pace University, Social Entrepreneur of the year by the NYC National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), a finalist for the Wells Fargo Business Owner of the Year Award, a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Winning Women Program, one of the Top 40 Outstanding Women by Stonewall Community Foundation, and NYC Controller Bill Thompson’s LGBT Business Owner of the Year.

    Learn more about Jennifer and JBC here.


  • EQUALUX: Meet the Musicians

    by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
    | Oct 26, 2017

    EQUALUX_ArnaldoArnaldo! Drag Chanteuse started as a soloist with the Seattle Men’s Chorus and has performed with SMC in some of the major concert halls in the U.S., Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. In 1995, Arnaldo! started a group called Cabaret Q where the “drag chanteuse” persona began. In 1999, Arnaldo! began his solo cabaret shows in Seattle’s Capitol Hill and has since performed his one person cabaret in Portland, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Puerto Vallarta, New York, and Manila. Arnaldo! has also collaborated with various directors, choreographers and songwriters in the Seattle area. In 2005, he completed the Cabaret Summer Conference Workshop at Yale University. In 2006, a group of cabaret performers spearheaded by Arnaldo! started the Pacific Northwest Cabaret Association and continues to organize “March is Cabaret Month” featuring local and visiting artists. 2007 marked Arnaldo!’s New York cabaret debut and in 2008, Arnaldo! was honored with a New York Backstage Bistro Award. 2014 was Arnaldo!'s Manila debut where he received "Most Innovative Concert Artist" in Manila by Gawad Musika. In 2016, Arnaldo! was presented by The Filipino Community of Seattle with a Lifetime Achievement Award for promoting culture and the arts.
     
    EQUALUX_Cascade“Cascade Cascade” is a new solo project by Seattle musician, Carly Calbero. Performing songs she co-wrote with her wife and former bandmate, Nika Wascher, Calbero mixes her rhythmic, percussive playing style with bold, passionate vocals. She is often compared to indie/folk musicians Tracy Chapman and Brandi Carlile.

    With a national tour and multiple West Coast tours under her belt, Carly has been featured in Seattle Metropolitan and Rolling Stone for her live performances as a busker at Pike Place Market. As “Cascade Cascade” she is currently recording her first full-length album, “The Science of Pride.”

    Christina Brewer
    Christina, a singer/songwriter and former GSBA scholar, has always been fond of the stage. At the age of 2 1/2, she held her first solo performance in front of a large crowd. From there, she flourished on the stage, becoming a vocalist and musical theater actress. Christina graduated with honors from Stadium High School and then, as a first generation college student (along with the help of GSBA and the Pride Foundation), attended and graduated with honors from both Tacoma Community College and Seattle University with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology. Eight years ago, after some time away from musical theater, Christina decided to give it another run and auditioned for a small show at local college, where she met stage manager and film writer/director, Serena Berry. They were married five years later, just before the birth of their wonderful son, Ezekiel. Christina is currently the owner of Washington Wedding and Event Design. When she’s not doing weddings and events, she’s making music. Christina is fueled by her passion for jazz, neo-soul, rhythm and blues, gospel music, and new thought spirituality. She is currently working on raising funds to help produce her first CD. Holding music and creativity to the core of her soul. Christina says, "If there is one thing that I have learned, it is the truth that when music is the language of your soul, it cannot be turned off!"
     
    Diverse Harmony
    was founded in Seattle in 2002 as the nation’s first queer-straight alliance youth chorus. Over its thirteen seasons, the chorus has grown to nearly 60 members, and have brought performances to communities throughout Seattle. The chorus has also performed tours to Denver, Chicago, Montreal, Miami, and Portland. Diverse Harmony is a member of GALA Choruses (the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses) and is considered a leading youth chorus among its membership due to our longevity and large membership.
     
    In addition to performing, Diverse Harmony serves as a safe space for singers age 13 to 22 who identify as queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allied. Weekly rehearsals have become a home base for many youth where they can feel respected and accepted, and have fun making music together.
     
    EQUALUX_ContrerasV. Contreras is a vocalist and songwriter whose distinct alternative soul sound has landed her song “Feelin’ That” on Top 40 and Hot AC Radio while being recognized in the International Songwriting Contest. 

    She has studied opera, rock, pop and jazz with renowned vocal coaches including Lis Lewis (Rihanna, Demi Lovato) and Maestro David Kyle (Liza Minnelli, Ann and Nancy Wilson, and Lane Staley.) V has been a featured vocalist with Seattle Rock Orchestra, in McDonalds commercials, and performed the National Anthem for Seahawks', Sounders', Mariners', and Sonics' games. She just released a single entitled "Like It's Yesterday" and has a new album featuring her compositions dropping in 2018. The album is produced by Martin Feveyear (Brandi Carlile, Duff McKagan's Loaded) and features string and horn arrangements by Andrew Joslyn (Macklemore).
     
    V. has shared the stage and worked with Duff McKagan, Collective Soul, Morrissey, and has worked with such industry greats as Randy Jackson (American Idol),  Ryan Hadlock (Lumineers, Vance Joy), and Steve Dorff (Grammy-nominated songwriter)

    Victor Janusz has worked regularly at Salty’s On Alki (12 Years, Resident "Weekend Brunch Pianist") Columbia Tower Club, Canlis (seven New Year’s Eve Galas), Aqua/El Gaucho, the Fairmont, to name a few. His one-man show about a 'life at the keys' titled "HANDS SOLO: Pianoman" (directed by Lori Larsen) debuted at NYC's the Duplex and sold out its two-week engagements at ACT Theatre, Palm Springs' Arthur Newman Theatre, and at Yale University Cabaret. His VJ BAND has headlined at many venues including Highway 99 Blues Club, Tulas, the Royal Room, Tulalip Casino, Alki Ballroom (Salty’s), and Boeing Museum of Flight. Victor has been a Special Guest alongside such musical acts as Harry Shearer & Judith Owen Band, Julia Fordham, Duffy Bishop Band at Teatro Zinzanni, Billy Joe Huels, and El Vez.
     
    TEQUALUX_Mongehere are moments in a performance where an artist gets lost. Where they just let go, allowing themselves to be vulnerable and to feel across the depth and breadth of their being. It is in that state where Whitney Mongé lives and creates. Whitney learned to capture the power of authenticity while honing her skills as a street performer. With or without elevation of a stage, each part of her performance, from the passion of her powerful, smoky voice to the intensity of a whispered lyric, draws listeners into an embrace within each truthful moment of song. Whitney was raised with rhythm and blues in her blood, but while growing up in the Pacific Northwest, her music was heavily influenced by the rock scene of the '90s coining her own genre, Alternative Soul. Having been featured in the award winning Find Your Way: a Busker’s Documentary (2014), and releasing a pair of critically acclaimed albums, Whitney has poured herself into a new project. Her upcoming album, "Stone," captures her evolution as a performer and songwriter in a powerful way, laying bare the wonderment and restlessness of a gifted artist’s search for their place, their voice and for a sense of belonging.