OUT Georgia Business Alliance brought LGBTQ+ business and nonprofit leaders together from across the state for its 2022 LGBTQ+ Business Summit & Expo, presented by the Atlanta Braves. The special two-day experience was held virtually on July 13 and in-person at Truist Park on July 14, and the event featured $37,500 in NGLCC & Grubhub Community Impact grants awarded to three LGBTQ-owned restaurants.
Started in 2017, OUT Georgia’s LGBTQ+ Business Summit & Expo explored the theme Power of Connection with a lineup of 35 diverse speakers from across the state, including leaders and experts representing Atlanta, Alpharetta, Augusta, Kennesaw, Macon, Oglethorpe, and Savannah.
The event also featured 20 business and nonprofit exhibitors, 14 sponsors, nine sessions, three roundtable discussions, and the organization’s first-ever Transgender and Gender Expansive Business Pitch, presented by Wells Fargo.
“I’m proud of the organization and all those who made this year’s Summit experience possible,” said Chris Lugo, Executive Director of the OUT Georgia Business Alliance. “With the guidance of co-chairs Janaya Davis and Dewayne Queen, we were intentional about building learning and showcase moments that were centered on intersectionality, impact, and action.”
“Highlights included powerful learning moments and collaborations, critical networking and connections, and giving away $37,500 in grant money to JenChan’s, Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar, and Woofs Atlanta Sports Bar,” Lugo added.
Thank you to our host sponsor the Atlanta Braves and the many event sponsors helping bring the 2022 LGBTQ+ Business Summit & Expo to life, including National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Bank of America, Cox Enterprises, Elavon, Inc., Cobb Chamber, Regions Bank, UPS, Bruce Logue, Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau, Qualicare Northeast Atlanta, Dunlop Productions, HIERARCHY, INC, Meak Productions, Inc., and Mark Morin Photography!
During the 2022 Summit, OUT Georgia hosted roundtable discussions to start each day, including OUT @ Work, Nonprofit, and TGX360.
The OUT @ Work Roundtable, led by DeWayne Queen, brought Atlanta- and Georgia-based LGBTQ+ Employee/Business Resource Group leaders together to network and advance discussions regarding best practices that emphasize intersectionality and community impact.
Led by Dr. Annise Mabry and Paul Conroy, the Nonprofit Roundtable was an opportunity to connect with leaders from LGBTQ+ and Georgia-based Nonprofits, share priorities for 2022 and beyond, and provide feedback on the resources and support needed from the OUT Georgia Business Alliance and our small business/corporate Membership.
The TGX360 Roundtable, led by Gabrielle Claiborne and Dr. Elijah Nicholas, was an opportunity to learn about OUT Georgia’s TGX360 initiative and discuss strategies to advance Employment and Entrepreneurship efforts centering Georgia’s Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Expansive job seekers, employees, and businesses/suppliers.
KEYNOTES & SPEAKERS
OUT Georgia’s 2022 LGBTQ+ Business Summit & Expo featured 25 leaders from the chamber’s Member and Partner organizations, including Dr. Tyler Reinagel (Kennesaw State University), Terri Denison (U.S. Small Business Administration), Adam Zimmerman (Atlanta Braves), Alicia Greene (National LGBT Chamber of Commerce), and Jorge E. Esteban (Visa).
Opening plenary session highlights included a special message from Mayor Andre Dickens (City of Atlanta) and inspiring keynotes from entrepreneur Candice Blacknall and advocate Amazin LeThi.
In addition to the opening plenary sessions, each day brought experts and panelist together for meaningful sessions focused on a variety of topics, including:
Current State of LGBTQ+ Legal and Legislative Fights
- Michael Shutt, Southern Regional Director, Lambda Legal
- Eric Paulk, Deputy Director, Georgia Equality
- Dani Alexander-Burk, Regional Program Coordinator, Lambda Legal
LGBTQ+ Tourism Across Georgia
- Takya (tuh-KEY-yah) Browning, Past President, Augusta Pride
- Dusty Church, Director of Owner Services and Business Development, Tybee Vacation Rentals
- Bill Kaelin, Founder, Bill Kaelin Marketing
- Michael Vescio, Director of Sales, Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau
Beyond Visibility: Exploring What’s Next to Advance DEI and Belonging
- Dionne Kettl, Co-Founder & Deputy Director, TRANScending Barriers
- Sarah Al-Khayyal, Policy Manager, Partnership for Southern Equity
- Dorian Rhea Debussy, Director of External Affairs, Equitas Health
- Dalia Kinsey, Owner, Kinsey Wellness & Communications
- Humberto Orozco, President, Latino LinQ
Next Level: Inclusive Strategies for Business Innovation & Impact
- Rosan Petrillo, Manager of Equity, Inclusion & Diversity, Kaiser Permanente
- Gabrielle Claiborne, Co-Founder & CEO, Transformation Journeys Worldwide
- Alicia Greene, Director of Supplier Diversity, NGLCC
- DeRetta Rhodes, Executive VP and Chief Culture Officer, Atlanta Braves
- Betsy Robinson, Founder, Tier4 Group
OUT 4 Good: Making an Impact in Georgia’s LGBTQ+ Community
- Dr. Annise Mabry, Founder, Dr. Annise Mabry Foundation
- TAYLOR ALXNDR, Co-founder and Executive Director, Southern Fried Queer Pride
- Chad Dillard, Chief Development Officer, United Way of Greater Atlanta
- Scott Mitchell, Owner, Travis Jean Emporium
- Erica Wright, Founder, U First Inc.
Be Bold: LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs and Businesses on the Rise
- Roy Broderick, Jr., President & CEO, Authentique Agency
- Dr. Elijah Nicholas, Author and Entrepreneur
- Juan Smalls, Owner, Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar
TGX PITCH PROGRAM
Thanks to a grant from NGLCC & Wells Fargo, OUT Georgia hosted its first-ever TGX Business Pitch Program to close out Day 1 of the 2022 Summit. Participants pitched their business/concept to a panel of four judges, including Candice Blacknall (GABA), Curtis Domzalski (Wells Fargo), Jamie Harrell (Emory University – Goizueta Business School), and Debra Quade (Kellogg Company).
With support from the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), participants and those transgender and gender expansive business owners who joined the TGX Business Pitch Program will be provided the opportunity to become both LGBTBE Certified and Members of the OUT Georgia Business Alliance, free of charge to them, through a $25,000 scholarship fund provided by Wells Fargo.
NGLCC & GRUBHUB COMMUNITY IMPACT GRANTS
OUT Georgia’s Power Connect networking reception closed out the 2022 Summit with a bang, including $37,500 in grants awarded to three LGBTQ-owned restaurants.
JenChan’s, Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar, and Woofs Atlanta Sports Bar each received $12,500 thanks to the inaugural NGLCC & Grubhub Community Impact Grant Program, designed to provide vital COVID-19 assistance for LGBTQ-owned and allied restaurants across the country.
OUT Georgia Business Alliance was also awarded $12,500 through the NGLCC & Grubhub Community Impact Grant Program for our support of LGBTQ+ restaurants and food establishments.
Thank you to OUT Georgia’s Media Sponsor Meak Productions, Inc. for covering the 2022 LGBTQ+ Business Summit & Expo, and to our official event photographer Mark Morin. When sharing photography, please be sure to credit the photographer each time (see image credits in this post, for examples).
OUT Georgia Business Alliance is honored that our Members and guests joined us for the 2022 LGBTQ+ Business Summit & Expo! Please consider sharing your feedback to help shape and influence how OUT Georgia improves on and delivers our LGBTQ+ Business Summit experience in 2023!
About OUT Georgia Business Alliance
OUT Georgia Business Alliance proudly serves as Georgia’s only LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce.
Since 1994, OUT Georgia Business Alliance (formerly the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce) has served the LGBTQ+ and Allied business community by advocating for the most inclusive and equitable business environment; providing support and resources to fuel economic growth; and driving meaningful community connections and impact across the State of Georgia.
OUT Georgia Business Alliance is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., and is a proud affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. For more information, contact us at OUTGeorgia.org or info@OUTGeorgia.org.