Appears in July + Aug issue of Focus Middle Tennessee
by Joe Woolley | photo courtesy of Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce
The Nashville LGBT Chamber is working hard for our members, the LGBT+ community, and Nashville as a whole in this very uncertain business environment created by COVID-19. We all know how huge an event this has been and businesses, from our corporate members down to our small businesses and gig-workers, have been affected in major ways.
We needed to take care of our members before anything else. The chamber has adapted to make sure we serve our members and the community and will continue to do so when we get through this (and we will get through this).
Another legislative session ended. It was delayed for a month due to the COVID 19 outbreak but wrapped up in mid-June.
While there were numerous anti-LGBT bills, we and our partners at TEP, HRC, Freedom For All Americans, PFLAG, GLSEN, and the ACLU worked hard to stop all of them from becoming law. We saw the anti-LGBT adoption bill pass the first day of session held over from last year. We rallied and fought back against hate and worked to keep Tennessee a welcoming and open place to live and work.
The fight isn’t over and we are prepared to keep working in January when the legislature returns.
COVID-19 impacted Pride month as well. Nashville PRIDE and other organizations had to cancel or shift activities virtually. While it wasn’t the Pride month we’ve grown to know, we hope that everyone found opportunities to show their Pride and feel connected to our community.
The Nashville LGBT Chamber hosted some fun Pride networking events, co-hosted Pride in Local Music with the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and partnered with many other organizations and businesses to bring Pride to our community.
We have proudly added several new businesses and individuals to our membership, even during the pandemic.
A great way to support the LGBT community during a difficult time is to frequent chamber member businesses. A full list of members and certified LGBT-owned businesses can be found in our website directory.
Also, look for our OPEN and EQUAL membership sticker on windows and next to cash registers when you’re shopping.
In line with this month’s issue, we have a list of members that can help you “cool off” – think waterparks, swimming areas, rooftop lounges, air-conditioned hotel lobbies, tour companies, and restaurants. If your business fits this category and you’re not listed, please consider joining our chamber and taking advantage of membership perks.
The chamber created a COVID-19 resources page where we shared all the news and information we felt our members needed to know. A webinar section was created to connect our members to the countless webinars our community partners were putting out.
Directories were created that highlighted members that were offering takeout.
Our Hot Deals section was promoted and soon filled up with specials to other members and the community on a number of items.
The Rainbow Connection
With the tremendous successes and feedback from members after our first virtual event in April, we expanded programming with the Rainbow Connection. This is a series that includes webinars, networking events, and other educational meetings to help our members and community stay connected and informed while navigating the “new normal.”
To complement our traditional Brewing Up Business, we now offer additional morning networking opportunities, AM Brewing Up Business. These events include a short program of announcements from our chamber’s staff and then small group networking.
Member Connect gives an in-depth highlight of corporate and small business members. There’s a Q&A session and members have the opportunity to talk about what they’re working on, questions or issues they need help with or anything else they want to address.
Classroom Connections is designed to assist our members with topics ranging from LGBTBE certification, navigating PPP and CARES Act, marketing, HR, etc. We have our incredibly talented members teach these courses. If you have something you think people would like to learn about, we’d love for you to apply to teach a Classroom Connect.
Our virtual programs will continue even after the crisis subsides in addition to resuming in-person events like advocating against discrimination at the state capitol, rainbow ribbon-cuttings, and more. We can’t wait to see people in person!
We want to help you promote and grow your business! If you’re interested in joining the Chamber, visit our website at www.nashvilleLGBTchamber.org to learn more about membership levels and benefits.
To learn more about Joe Woolley and the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, please visit nashvillelgbtchamber.org.