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More NGLCC…

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 10:02 pm - August 14, 2007.
Filed under: Advocate Watch,Economy

Okay, so for some of you this is snooze-city, so I’ll put the jump pretty high on this one. But I’ve received quite a bit of passionate mail on the subject, and those who have commented seemed pretty excited, so on to another phase of this saga:


It took a while (who am I to talk?), but Justin Nelson (who, by the way, is pretty damned cute) of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce wrote me back late last week.

He didn’t seem to answer all my questions, took a (in my opinion, kinda deserved, sorry) swipe at some commenters, but continues to shoot pretty straight. Hats off to him:

Nick,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond in this forum, and to clarify our work and partnership with Wal-Mart, along with a few additional items.

First and foremost, it is important for you and your readers to understand that the Corporate Advisory Council is an advisory body that is made up of representatives of all NGLCC Corporate Partners. No specific or special accommodations were made for Wal-Mart’s or anyone else’s participation. Membership is simply that – a dues paying corporate partner is allotted one seat on the CAC. I will simply say that when we originally partnered there were commitments made that would be assessed at year’s end that went unmet – I will let Wal-Mart speak for their record on diversity policies. The NGLCC, like all chambers of commerce, is a membership dues based organization. Companies that do not pay their dues, do not get to keep their membership. If I quit paying my health club membership they wouldn’t just let me keep going to the gym.

I would also like to clarify a few inaccurate assumptions made by a few our your readers. The NGLCC does not work with unions and we do not take directives from Hillary Clinton or any other politician/candidate. As my former boss, the late Senator Craig Thomas, used to say — people are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

Further, it is a bit insulting to suggest that the NGLCC operates corporate “shakedowns” to elicit support for the LGBT business community. As an organization, we believe in the philosophy of using the carrot rather than the stick, and will always choose positive means of building relationships – corporate or otherwise – rather than other aggressive tactics used by others. There is a business case for working with the NGLCC and our broad base of members. LGBT companies, like other businesses in America, are looking at how they can place their products and services in corporate supply chains – think marketing, pr, communications, construction, tech support, staffing, and a cadre of other commodities that corporate America is looking to purchase to package and resell or use in the day to day operations of the company. NGLCC is the direct link between LGBT owned firms and corporate America, like other chamber and business groups are for other constituencies.

The reason there is no longer an NGLCC/Wal-Mart relationship is as simple as my original reply – they did not progress as they ensured us they would at the onset of the relationship regarding their internal policies, and they did not pay their membership dues. The decision was wholly a business one. We do not anticipate that corporations sincerely looking for support from the NGLCC or the LGBT community will be deterred by Wal-Mart’s inability to rise to the promises made by their company. The NGLCC has an open door, as always, and we expect that corporate America will be utilizing this door for years to come.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to educate your readers about the NGLCC and our partners. Thanks for reaching out and ensuring all sides of the issues are told.

Thanks!

Justin

I think I’m still not getting it:

Justin:

Thanks for replying. I suppose I’m still a little confused. I understand that to be a member of a CoC, one really need only pay a membership fee. That’s how all CoCs work. But I have a couple lingering questions about the CAC membership:

First of all, your website lists IBM, Wells-Fargo, JPMorganChase, Motorola, Travelport, Intel, Wyndham, American Airlines, Lehman Bothers, American Express, and Earnst & Young as your “Founding Corporate Partners”. Also listed under the title of “Corporate Partners and Organizational Allies”, about 40 other companies. But your (recently-updated) list of CAC members doesn’t include “all NGLCC Corporate Partners”, as you suggest (missing are Lehman Brothers, American Airlines, and E&Y; and unless Cisco is the only actual “Partner” in the latter list, only one of them). Why are these left out? [CP note: For those checking, Cendant is part of Wyndham.]

Now, as an “advisory body”, the CAC seems to be, in some senses a mini (shadow-?, quasi-?) Borad of Directors? As their page on your website states, their mission is, in part, “to ensure members are meeting the needs of the LGBT business and professional community and to ensure the NGLCC and its membership are meeting the needs of the CAC.”

So then, I guess my second question is the same question as before: Why would a brand-new member of your CoC be afforded such a vaunted position? In fact, why would a corporation, on what seems to be a provisional membership, in its first year of affiliation, be placed on an “advisory body”? Generally speaking, why wouldn’t you restrict membership in this “advisory body” to something more than, as you aptly compared, “health club membership”? After all, paying membership dues gets me in the door and affords me access to all the equipment, but it doesn’t put me on any “advisory body” at my health club.

Finally, as far as Wal-Mart’s not meeting your expectations, I’d really be interested in hearing what these were. I imagine you’d prefer not to disclose, but I wish you’d not pass the buck to them. After all, between the NGLCC and Wal-Mart, which of the two is claiming to represent my best interests as a gay consumer? Who, therefore, should have the responsibility of defining the terms of the game? It seems fair to expect you, in that position, to line out what you consider to be a “Corporate Partner”. While dues are part of it, surely it takes more than just a check made out to your organization?

Again, thanks for continuing the dialog. While some of our readers can be pretty, um, animated?, many are writing me personally seeking actual answers to these questions. As you can probably tell, we’re a conservative blog, so for us Capitalism is King…Now there’s common cause!

Best,
Nick (ColoradoPatriot)

Stay tuned, friends…

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3 Comments

  1. Nick, lots of text and politesse; would appreciate if you could net it out at some point 😉

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 14, 2007 @ 11:46 pm - August 14, 2007

  2. Me too, brother.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — August 15, 2007 @ 10:42 pm - August 15, 2007

  3. To be clear: I DO want to know how the story ends.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 21, 2007 @ 2:47 pm - August 21, 2007

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