Empowering LGBT Professionals In Every Industry—During Pride Month And Beyond
In this time and age, it’s no longer a surprise to meet someone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and it’s just as refreshing to meet LGBT professionals who belong to industries other than the arts, entertainment, and media. Truth be told, many LGBT individuals are also entrepreneurs, medical professionals, lawyers, public servants, and more, and with the Anti-Discrimination Bill still waiting its passage as a law, there is a call for the LGBT community to come together to have their voices be heard even louder than ever.
Educating, Engaging, Encouraging
The Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2016 by its Chair Brian Tenorio, a Manila/New York-based design manager and strategic design and communications consultant for international organizations and corporate and social development sectors, to promote LGBT representation in the business and entrepreneurial industries. The organization’s core purpose is to “champion LGBT contribution in Philippine business,” while encouraging and inspiring other LGBTs to assert themselves and “realize their potential by ‘activating’ role models in management positions,” says Angel Romero, Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board of Director and Vice Chair for Externals.
The Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce 2017 Board of Directors:
(Left to right) Simoun Ferrer, Angel Romero, Jay Yao Campos III, Brian Tenorio,
Evan Tan, Jeoff Solas, Amrei Dizon, and JV Salud (not in photo)
The organization aims to uphold LGBT leaders and entrepreneurs who exemplify business excellence, and at the same time, encourage LGBT members and affiliates take part in nation-building, in particular, economic development. Their first event in 2016, LGBT Vote PH, brought together presidential candidates with members of the business community and LGBT advocates from around the country. The Chamber actively networks with various sectors to strengthen ties within the LGBT community and its allies, as it promotes workplace equality, inclusivity, and diversity.
Since then, the Chamber has organized and taken part in a number of events and launched several projects that have brought to light the need for SOGIE training in the workplace and in schools and promotes inclusivity and diversity in other industries, as well as educating corporate executives and business leaders on policies and practices that fosters an inclusive work culture for the LGBT community, and brought to light the power of the Pink Peso, among many others.
Brian Tenorio, Chair of the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce,
in a discussion with industry leaders and business sector heads.
Chamber Vice Chair for Education and Research Simoun Ferrer gave rounds of talks and
several engagements to corporate organizations discussing SOGIE
(Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression)
Vice Chair (Industry and Business) Evan Tan and Vice Chair (External) Angel Romero
at the Philippine Marketing Association event held in August 2018
Chamber Vice Chair for Industry, Evan Tan, with fellow panelists
from JP Morgan Chase and IBM Philippines at the Pride Summit last year.
Why You Should Join
Membership to the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce is neither limited to LGBT persons nor to LGBT-owned or led business. The Chamber accepts any Philippine registered business or professional that supports and champions LGBT contribution to local businesses are welcome to join, and will benefit from the various trainings and workshops that the Chamber offers its members. One such activity that top executives and business leaders will benefit much from is the Executive SOGIE program which provides “a high-level training module for an organization’s senior leaders. This top-down approach ensures that executives are aware of the impact of diversity and inclusion in an organization, its benefits, along with challenges expected in initiating these programs. All these through the point of view and lens of leadership.”
Aside from this, members have voting rights; access to the Chamber’s LGBT business directory, educational and networking events, mini conferences, socials and other activities that support the development of diverse and inclusive businesses and workplaces; and inclusion in the Pink Suppliers directory. Members are also promoted as “supportive allies of the LGBT community through the Chamber’s publications, collaterals, and other promotional platforms, including media and stakeholder engagements,” adds Romero.
The Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board with the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ambassador
H.E. Marion Derckx at the IDAHOT 2018 event where the Chamber launched two major projects:
The 4ws of SOGIE and the Philippine Corporate SOGIE Diversity Index of 2018.
In the last three years, the Chamber has worked with “a number of small and medium companies and corporate professional-volunteers,” and while its membership roster is still being formalized, a number of large corporations have expressed interest in being a part of the Chamber. Application forms and membership guidelines will soon be available on the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce website, but for the meantime, interested parties may join the Facebook groups that the Chamber has set up for different LGBT sectors.
These Facebook groups (LGBT Health, LGBT Startups, LGBT Media, LGBT Academe, LGBT x BPO etc.) in particular are ideal for individuals who want to take part in in-depth discussions on specific sectoral issues, among peers and allies. “This platform allows an individual to share experiences and opinions that may contribute to the development of policies and projects toward diversity and inclusiveness,” explains Romero. “Such exchange of ideas among professionals and practitioners in identified sectors establishes an atmosphere of collective trust, giving a solid voice to those who have none in the past.”