By Doug Myers, Director at LCI
Have you ever attended a conference where you could sense the positive energy from the start? That’s exactly how I felt during my inaugural participation in last week’s annual National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) conference, a gathering geared toward building connections between LBGT-owned businesses and Fortune 500 companies.
As an LGBT-owned business, Landis Communications (LCI) is proud to be certified by the NGLCC. The NGLCC is a strong advocate for equal workplace opportunity and promotes the power of coming together to further greater inclusion of LGBT businesses and executives into corporate America. These are all values shared by the NGLCC and other groups, including LGBT workplace equality advocate, Out & Equal, which also happens to be one of LCI’s newest clients.
Following numerous engaging discussions, panels, events and yes, a bit of pool time (you can’t go to Vegas without hitting the casino or pool – I wisely chose the latter), three themes emerged:
- Strength. Whether in business or in life, it’s important to know and accept our strengths and shortcomings. When building a business or holding a position, we need to identify where we add value and build on it. Fitness guru Shaun T emphasized this during his keynote. He founded a global fitness company (INSANITY!) with his husband and business partner. They attribute their success to identifying and then focusing on areas where they respectively excel. (Shaun is the creative guy, while Scott handles the operations side.)
- Individuality. When starting a business, we sometimes get caught up in comparing our products and services to others and in the process, lose site of what makes our offering unique. As keynote Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s “The Profit” addressed, it’s okay that others have similar products and services, and to even admire how someone has brought a product to market. The opportunity lies in taking that idea and making it better, adding value to it and making it your own. This theme extends to each of us on a personal level, as shared by Beth A. Brooke-Marciniak, global vice chair of public policy for Ernst & Young. (She’s been named to the Forbes list of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” seven times.) When she accepted herself and her sexuality, her work and personal lives came together. As she said, life was “in full color” for her now.
- Team. Throughout the conference I was struck by the camaraderie and support given by each attendee. We were all there to help make each other better and stronger – and also to make our businesses more successful. Our mantra? If one succeeds, we all do. And this mentality is easily transferrable to our individual careers and businesses. Competition is good, but unity and collaboration go a long way.
How does this relate to our work here at LCI? It does so on various levels. It’s about leveraging individual strengths and knowing that, as a team, we are much stronger. It’s about acknowledging and respecting the uniqueness in each of us. It’s about finding the individuality in each business and communicating these elements to customers and influencers (which of course, is at the heart of effective public relations and communications). It’s that uniqueness that brings out the best in each of us, makes a business thrive and, in the end, provides value to our clients.
What’s your best advice for improving business and making the best decisions for the future? We’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me directly at [email protected].