Transgender Rights Under Attack: Vote Nov. 6!

Transgender Rights Under Attack: Vote Nov. 6!

In just the past couple of weeks, our nation has been rocked to its moral core by several incidents of violence and terrorism: the hate-inspired shooting of two African American people shopping at their local grocer; the mailing of pipe bombs to two former presidents, the Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros, CNN and several other high-profile critics of President Trump’s policies; and, most recently, the tragic murder of 11 members of a Pittsburgh synagogue as the gunman shouted that he wanted to “kill all Jews.”

Just days before this latest string of brutal attacks, the Trump administration reported plans to redefine gender in a way that would effectively render transgender and gender non-binary individuals invisible. While LGBT people have made tremendous advances over the past few decades toward achieving societal acceptance and equal treatment under the law, equal rights for the transgender/gender non-binary community have lagged behind. Since 2016 the Trump administration has zeroed in on this vulnerable population, first threatening to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military; most recently, by limiting the definition of gender to that documented on birth certificates, threatening to erase their very existence.

On behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors, we rebuke this effort by the Trump administration to deny the existence of transgender individuals in the strongest possible terms. We are honored to represent transgender business owners and individuals in our membership, and we are so proud of our LGBTQIA Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholars, including several who identify as transgender or gender non-binary.

To those members and leaders, and to the greater transgender community, we stand with you, and we will do everything in our power to prevent the implementation of this inhumane and unjust policy.

To our LGBTQIA youth, please know that these actions taken against you or other members of our community by the current administration are wrong. They are not right or normal or moral or justified. They are not even logical. As terrible as it feels to be attacked in this way by elected officials at the highest levels, please know that most people in this country know it is wrong. We are not going to lie down, and we will not allow them to erase you.

As a Chamber of Commerce, one of our core missions is to support small business owners and to promote leadership and policies that foster small business success and economic prosperity. As an organization of LGBT and allied business owners and professionals, our core mission is to advocate for and defend diversity, inclusion and equal rights for all.

History teaches us that tyrants test their limits on the smallest and weakest populations first, before turning to larger, more challenging targets. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

All of the above acts are attacks against American citizens and residents of our country; against freedom of religion; and against our cherished American ideals of democracy, equality and inclusion.

We know that equality–the assurance that all individuals and families have the same rights and are equally protected by the rule of law–is good for society and good for business.

Our colleagues at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) may have said it best:

The NGLCC and our partners will continue to assert that any attempt to diminish or erase transgender or gender non-binary Americans is both morally reprehensible and economically ruinous for the United States. Gender identity is distinct from biological sex, and neither is a binary to be legislated by the current administration, which has repeatedly demonstrated a desire to turn back the clock on LGBTQ progress. A proposed national policy to limit Americans’ gender identity is not only a repudiation of several major court decisions upholding LGBTQ protections under Title IX, but it also contradicts widely respected and reported scientific and economic evidence.  According to NGLCC’s America’s LGBT Economy Report, which has been referenced and acknowledged by countless public and private policy experts,  LGBT business owners across the nation bring countless innovations, contribute over $1.7 trillion to the economy, and create tens of thousands of jobs in their communities. Transgender and gender non-binary business owners across our country make up an important piece of these contributions, and their contributions make all of us stronger: they build our roads, improve our schools, and defend our nation. America’s transgender and gender non-binary entrepreneurs add too richly to the social and economic success of our country to be erased by their government.

To our LGB and allied community, we ask that you join us in solidarity with transgender and gender non-binary people against this and similar bigoted and short-sighted policies. One way to make your voice heard: Vote.

Early voting in Sacramento and surrounding counties is underway now. If you have not mailed your ballot, you can find the location and hours of voting centers, ballot drop-off locations and polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, as well as the status of your vote-by-mail or early ballot, at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/.

If you have already cast your ballot, thank you for fulfilling your civic duty. For those who have yet to vote, we know how hectic life can be for small business owners, working professionals and students. We understand that taking the time to get your ballot in on time might seem like just one task too many in a busy day or week. We are asking you, in this critically important midterm election, to make sure your voice is heard: Please vote! Many races this year will be decided by a mere handful of votes, and every vote really does count. Our future depends upon it.

Thank you!

#WeWontBeErased

Diana DePaola                                                    Fred Palmer
President                                                             Executive Director

Community Resources

Gender Health Center
http://www.thegenderhealthcenter.org/

Sacramento LGBT Community Center/QSpot
https://saccenter.org/

Sutter Gender Identity Support Group
http://www.sacgender.org/health-resources/medical-doctors

River City Gems
https://rivercitygems.org/

UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center
https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/support/trans-resources

PFLAG Greater Placer County
http://www.pflagplacercounty.org/links-resources/transgender-resources

 

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Honors LGBTQA Scholars at 2018 ‘Boas & Bow Ties’

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Honors LGBTQA Scholars at 2018 ‘Boas & Bow Ties’

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 16th year at its annual scholarship and awards gala, “Boas & Bow Ties,” on Thursday, September 20, at Hilton Sacramento Arden West in Sacramento. The sold-out event drew more than 300 guests and honorees.

The event, a fundraiser for the Rainbow Chamber Foundation, honored 15 LGBT and allied 2018 scholarship recipients, the highest number of scholarships awarded in one year in the 10-year history of the non-profit organization. Six of the 15 scholarships were awarded by the Palmer Family Health Care Professionals Scholarship Fund, established in 2018 to commemorate the parents of Outword Magazine publisher Fred Palmer. The Rainbow Chamber Foundation has awarded a total of more than $65,000 to 66 LGBT or LGBT-supportive students.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of working with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and our Rainbow Chamber Foundation is having the opportunity to invest in deserving LGBT and allied students,” said Chamber President Diana DePaola. “Every year we hear from students how much this unrestricted funding means to them. They are our inspiration and our hope for the future of our community.”

In addition to the scholarship awards, the Chamber presented its 2018 Business Leader of the Year award to Paul Villaluz Weubbe of Laughton Properties Inc. and Billy’s Farm. Also honored were nominees Tina Reynolds of Uptown Studios and Janet Smith of Lucky Buddy Petcare. The Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the Chamber and demonstrated leadership in the LGBT and business communities.

Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen installed the Chamber’s 2018-19 Board of Directors, with Reynolds serving as Mistress of Ceremonies. Live entertainment included performances by jazz singer Megan Ugarte of Sac State and drag personalities Taryn Thru-U, DoMe Moore and Precious Cargo. Charity auctioneer Steve Godfryd of Pacific Auction Company will preside over live and silent auctions, with all proceeds benefiting the Foundation’s scholarship fund.

The evening’s entertainment included performances by members of Sacramento’s Imperial CourtTaryn Thru U (Johnathan Cameron)Precious Cargo (Jake Bradley-Rowe), and Do Me Moore (Paul Crouch). Singer Joe Engle performed our National Anthem; and Megan Ugarte, vocals; Alex Agius, piano; Alex Reiff, bass; and Sean Nelson on drums, all of Sac State, performed for guests at our VIP Sponsor Reception. Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen installed our 2018-2019 Board of Directors, and Mistress of Ceremonies Tina Reynolds kept the whole evening rolling smoothly.

Congratulations to 2018 Gala Chair R. Paul Villaluz Weubbe and his event committee on a job well done.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our generous sponsors, including the following Gold, Silver and Bronze level sponsors: Outword MagazineWells Fargo BankSMUDLasher Auto GroupSacramento KingsCalifornia Army National GuardGolden Pacific BankRCPOne Community HealthStephanie Slagel State Farm, and Capitol Archive and Print Holdings.

Following the dinner and program, guests migrated to the Boas & Bow Ties Afterparty at Faces Nightclub in Midtown Sacramento.

Thank you to all who helped make Boas & Bow Ties 2018 an evening to remember.

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business climate. For more information about the organization, visit RainbowChamber.com.

Boas & Bow Ties 2018 Event Photos

Boas & Bow Ties 2018 Event Photos

Read more about the photos here!

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Annual Boas & Bow Ties Scholarship & Awards Dinner brought glamor and fun to the Hilton Sacramento Arden West on September 20, 2018. Photos from top left: The Rainbow Chamber Foundation honored a record 15 Scholars in 2018. From left: Rainbow Chamber President Diana De Paola of GL Anderson Insurance,Foundation Chair Amy Medina of Wells Fargo and Chamber Executive Director Fred Palmer of Outword Magazine Inc. Read more about our scholars and their awards.(Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

2018 Business Leader of the Year Paul Villaluz Weubbe of Laughton Properties Inc. and Billy’s Farm with RCC President Diana DePaola of GL Anderson Insurance  (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell). Also honored were nominees Tina Reynolds of Uptown Studios and Janet Smith of Lucky Buddy Petcare. Read more.

George Raya of the Sacramento LGBTQ Community Center, Past RCC President Richard Hernandez of St. Francis Parrish and RainbowPAC Vice Chair Alan LoFaso, Deputy Controller, Health and Housing Policy at California State Controllers (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Boas & Bow Ties Emcee Tina Reynolds of Uptown Studios, with Toru OkamotoLori Okamoto, recently retired from SMUD’s SEED Program for small local businesses; LaRon Norman, and Heidi Pyle of SMUD (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Dave Rupel, Ron Tackitt of Outword Magazine Inc. and Stefan Murphy (Nate Feldman, Artistic Photography).

Chamber Executive Director Fred Palmer, 2nd from left, with SMUD’s Lori Okamoto (Nate Feldman, Artistic Photography).

Jennifer Garland and Anne Fenkner (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Ballroom scene, Hilton Sacramento Arden Garden  (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Performers DoMe Moore /Paul Crouch, Taryn Thru U/Johnathan Cameron and Precious Cargo /Jake Bradley-Rowe (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Chamber Board member Stephanie Slagel with Rainbow Chamber Foundation scholar Meagan Transue, on right, and guest (Nate Feldman, Artistic Photography).

Gina Richardson with Melissa Muganzo of Sac State Pride Center  (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Boas & Bow Ties 2018 Chair R. Paul Villaluz Weubbe with Board member DoMe Moore/Paul Crouch (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

RainbowPAC Chair Robin Shofner of Molsby & Bordner LLP, Board member Kammy Caruss of YNot Web and retiring Board member Alfonso Voychez of AAA (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen installs 2018-2019 Board of Directors, from left: R. Paul Villaluz Weubbe of Sac State; Secretary and RainbowPAC Chair Robin Shofner of Molsby & Bordner LLP; Chamber President Diana De Paola of GL Anderson Insurance; Vice President Ranveer Singh of Wells Fargo; Treasurer Kammy Caruss of YNot Web; Doug Dransfield of Golden Pacific Bank; Kris Ritualo of AARPPaul Crouch of Eurest Dining ServicesJoel Hockman of Pucci Pharmacy; Jenee Rawlings of Yolo Federal Credit UnionEdward Simon of Cal American Water; and Stephanie Slagel of Stephanie Slagel State Farm (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Past President Michael Sestak of Sestak Lighting Design and RainbowPAC Executive Board member Dennis Mangers of the Sacramento Mayor’s Office (Nate Feldman, Artistic Photography).

Mary Barber of Legacy Law Group, Chamber Board member Doug Dransfield of Golden Pacific Bank, former Sacramento City Manager John Shirey, and Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Sac State musicians Alex Agius, Sean Nelson, Alex Reiff and Megan Ugarte performing for guests at the VIP Sponsor Reception (Nate Feldman, Artistic Photography).

Boas and bow tie (Nate Feldman, Artistic Photography).

California National Guard Chief of Staff Col. Nicole M. Balliet, center, and guests at Silent Auction/Reception (Nate Feldman, Artistic Photography).

Chamber Executive Director Fred Palmer and donor Carl Romstadt with Frank and Mary Palmer commemorative quilt, created and donated by Anne Fenkner and Jennifer Garland. The handmade piece, created from pieces of Frank’s and Mary’s clothing, was auctioned to benefit Rainbow Chamber Foundation and the Palmer Family Healthcare Professionals Scholarship Fund. Upon placing the winning bid for the quilt, Romstadt announced he was donating it back to Palmer, whose parents passed away in early 2018. (Riverview Media Photography/Tia Gemmell).

Read more about Boas & Bow Ties 2018 here. See more photos from the event at our Facebook page here!

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Awards Record 15 Scholarships to LGBTQA Students

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Awards Record 15 Scholarships to LGBTQA Students

2018 Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholar Tyler Pfennig

2018 Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholar Tyler Pfennig with guest

The Rainbow Chamber Foundation, the 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, presented 15 scholarships to LGBT and allied students, the largest number of annual scholarships awarded in the Foundation’s 10-year history.

Six of the 2018 scholarships were awarded by the Palmer Family Health Care Professionals Scholarship Fund, established as part of the Foundation’s scholarship program in 2018 to commemorate the parents of Outword Magazine publisher and Chamber Executive Director Fred Palmer.

The 2018 Rainbow Chamber scholars are Alyssa Abbott, American River College; Jordan Hill, UC Davis; Travis Legault, Sac State; Noel Lopez Gomez, Sac State; Mel McKernan, Sacramento City College; Fernanda Mendoza, UC Berkeley; Tyler Pfennig, Sac State; and Meagan Transue, UC Davis. Palmer Family Health Care Professionals Scholarship recipients are Lydie Bartonkova, Carrington College; Patrick Ma, UC Davis; Lyshawn Phommakhoth, Sac State; Carlos Quezada Gutierrez, Sac State; Santiago Rios, Carrington College; and Denisse Segoviano, Sac State. One scholarship recipient asked to remain anonymous.

“Each year our scholarship selection committee is blown away by the outstanding candidates who apply,” said Rainbow Chamber Foundation Chair Amy Medina. “Many have overcome enormous obstacles to get an education, seek better lives for themselves and their families, and make a difference in the world. We could not be more proud of our scholars and the community members who support it.”

“My mom and dad, who both passed away this year, were so grateful to the many nurses, doctors and aides who made such a difference to the quality of their lives in recent years,” Palmer said. “It was very important to them to encourage young people in health care careers and to contribute to the future of the Sacramento LGBT community that meant so much to both of them.”

“One of the most rewarding aspects of working with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and our Rainbow Chamber Foundation is having the opportunity to invest in deserving LGBT and allied students,” said Chamber President Diana DePaola. “They are our inspiration and our hope for the future of our community.”

The scholarships were presented at the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce 16th annual scholarship and awards gala, “Boas & Bow Ties,” on Thursday, September 20, at Hilton Sacramento Arden West in Sacramento.

Paul Villaluz Weubbe Named 2018 Business Leader of the Year

Paul Villaluz Weubbe Named 2018 Business Leader of the Year

Paul Villaluz Weubbe, director of operations for Laughton Properties Inc., has been named the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business Leader of the Year.

The annual award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the Chamber and demonstrated leadership in the LGBT and business communities. Honorees are chosen by a selection committee consisting of past honorees. Steven Walker of FastBreak Tech and Jason Russell of Russell CPAs shared the Business Leader of the Year honor for 2017.

Weubbe has served in numerous leadership roles with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, including a two-year term as president as well as former chair of the Chamber’s non-partisan RainbowPAC. He has been instrumental in managing the Chamber’s partnership with the Sacramento Black and Hispanic chambers of commerce and City of Sacramento Economic Development and helps produce the Chamber’s monthly Drag Queen Bingo fundraising events, raising tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profit organizations. He also has raised money for HIV/AIDS services as a cyclist in the 7-day San Francisco-to-L.A. AIDS Lifecycle and the 4-day, 300-mile NorCal AIDS Cycle fundraising events.Paul Weubbe enjoyed a successful career with major international brands in the food and beverage industry before joining Laughton Properties in 2009. He also manages and operates Billy’s Farm, a family-owned, organic Christmas tree farm located near Wilton in eastern Sacramento County.

Weubbe worked in sales for Capital Beverage Company and The Minute Maid Company before serving as a national sales executive for The Coca Cola Company and later as Market Transformation Manager and National Sales Manager for PepsiCo. Weubbe currently serves as vice president of the California Apartment Association-Sacramento Valley and is a member of the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley and the Central City Housing Task Forces; he serves as the Lavender Heights Project lead for the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce in partnership with councilman Steve Hansen. He was a 2006 Lifetime Achievement Honoree for the International Foodservice Executives Association and was awarded the 2006 Grand President’s Leadership Award by the Alpha Gamma Rho Agricultural Fraternity, for which he served as Region Vice President and was one of 100 honored Brothers of the Century.

“Paul’s leadership abilities and business sense has been instrumental in the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber’s growth and success,” said Chamber President Diana DePaola. “We are proud to recognize his many contributions as well as those of the other outstanding Business Leader of the Year nominees.”

The Business Leader of the Year Award was presented at the Chamber’s annual “Boas & Bowties” scholarship and awards gala on Thursday, September 20, at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West.

Also nominated for the 2018 award were Tina Reynolds of Uptown Studios and Janet Smith of Lucky Buddy Petcare.

Tina Reynolds, Uptown StudiosAfter running her own graphic design company since 1976, nominee Tina Reynolds launched her woman-owned visual communications firm, Uptown Studios, in 1992, with the idea that 75 percent of company services would be devoted to non-profit organizations and municipalities, 25 percent to corporate clients. Reynolds’ approach to marketing her business is to be actively involved in the community. She promotes a happy, healthy work environment where each team member is valued and encouraged to be involved in community activities and causes they are passionate about.

“I love what we do at Uptown Studios and love working with people with a passion for their work,” Reynolds says. “We work together to change the world for the better!”

Reynolds is the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her community service and business success, including the 2018 American Red Cross Tiffany Circle Philanthropist of the Year award, the Sac BERC Sustainable business Award, the Unity Bar and SacLEGAL Community Service Award, the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Al Geiger Memorial Award and the 2015 U.S. Small Business Adminstration Women-Owned Business award for the Sacramento region, to name a few. She is a founding member of WomenUp Network (2017) and of the Women and Girls Advancement Coalition (2016), served on the Sacramento Habitat for Humanity Committee in 2015 and 2018, and served on the board of the Nonprofit Resource Center from 2012 to 2016. Reynolds has worked for the cause of LGBT equality throughout her career as a member and supporter of the Rainbow Chamber, the Stonewall Democratic Club, The Stonewall Foundation, and the River City LGBT PAC. Her company is certified as an LGBTE with National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

In the aftermath of Proposition 8, passed by voters in 2008, which stripped LGBT Californians of the freedom to marry, Reynolds founded Equality Action NOW. With the fate of California’s gay marriage ban in legal limbo, Reynolds and EAN kept busy in 2010, leading protests at the Capitol, hosting celebrations for California’s first Harvey Milk Day, and organizing a candlelight vigil to decry the national spate of youth bullying. Equality Action NOW also began collecting video testimonies of local gays and lesbians as part of a larger project, titled “It Gets Better Sacramento.” In June, Reynolds was honored on the floor of the California State Assembly for her ongoing efforts against Proposition 8 and was hailed as “a tireless activist for social equality and change.”

Janet Smith, Lucky Buddy Petcare, with ZoeNominee Janet Smith started her pet-care services company in 2004, after four years as manager of an animal hospital, using an unexpected inheritance to fund the start-up. “It was literally a leap of faith,” she recalls. “I had no idea what I was doing and pieced together ideas and advice from coaches.” Smith worked temporary jobs for the first six months, until the business had enough referrals to be sustainable. The company has grown steadily since then, currently serving nearly 800 clients with 22 employees. “We’ve never had a year that had lower sales than the year before,” Smith says.

Lucky Buddy Petcare has been voted the Sacramento A-List 1st Place Winner for Best Pet Sitter for the past 10 years and added a 1st place win for Best Dog Walker for 2018 as well. The company also won Outword Magazine’s Reader’s Choice award for Best Pet Services for 2018 and maintains an A grade on Angie’s List.

In addition to her participation in the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber for the past five years, Smith is a cyclist, sponsor and board member for NorCal AIDS Cycle, the annual 4-day, 300-mile cycling fundraiser for area HIV/AIDS service organizations. “We’re a constant and steadfast supporter of the LGBTQ community and are greatly appreciative of the opportunity to be considered for this award,” Smith says.

 

Rainbow Chamber Announces 3 Nominees for 2018 Business Leader of Year

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber has announced three nominees for the 2018 Business Leader of the Year: Tina Reynolds of Uptown Studios; Paul Weubbe of Laughton Properties Inc. and Billy’s Farm; andJanet Smith of Lucky Buddy Petcare. The Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the Chamber and demonstrated leadership in the LGBT and business communities.

Honorees are chosen by a selection committee consisting of past honorees. Steven Walker of FastBreak Tech and Jason Russell of Russell CPAs shared the Business Leader of the Year honor for 2017. The three nominees will be recognized and the 2018 Business Leader announced at the Chamber’s annual scholarship and awards gala, Boas & Bowties, on Thursday, September 20, at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West. The event is the primary fundraiser for the Rainbow Chamber Foundation’s scholarship program for LGBTQ and allied students. Visit RainbowChamber.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

“The Business Leader of the Year award recognizes the achievements of area business owners and professionals whose character and contributions make them role models in our community,” said Chamber President Diana DePaola. “We are proud to spotlight the many accomplishments of our outstanding 2018 nominees.”

Tina Reynolds, President, Uptown Studios

Tina Reynolds, Uptown StudiosAfter running her own graphic design company since 1976, nominee Tina Reynolds launched her woman-owned visual communications firm, Uptown Studios, in 1992, with the idea that 75 percent of company services would be devoted to non-profit organizations and municipalities, 25 percent to corporate clients. Reynolds’ approach to marketing her business is to be actively involved in the community. She promotes a happy, healthy work environment where each team member is valued and encouraged to be involved in community activities and causes they are passionate about. “I love what we do at Uptown Studios and love working with people with a passion for their work,” Reynolds says. “We work together to change the world for the better!”

More about Tina

Reynolds is the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her community service and business success, including the 2018 American Red Cross Tiffany Circle Philanthropist of the Year award, the Sac BERC Sustainable business Award, the Unity Bar and SacLEGAL Community Service Award, the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Al Geiger Memorial Award and the 2015 U.S. Small Business Adminstration Women-Owned Business award for the Sacramento region, to name a few. She is a founding member of WomenUp Network (2017) and of the Women and Girls Advancement Coalition (2016), served on the Sacramento Habitat for Humanity Committee in 2015 and 2018, and served on the board of the Nonprofit Resource Center from 2012 to 2016. Reynolds has worked for the cause of LGBT equality throughout her career as a member and supporter of the Rainbow Chamber, the Stonewall Democratic Club, The Stonewall Foundation, and the River City LGBT PAC. Her company is certified as an LGBTE with National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. In the aftermath of Proposition 8, passed by voters in 2008, which stripped LGBT Californians of the freedom to marry, Reynolds founded Equality Action NOW. With the fate of California’s gay marriage ban in legal limbo, Reynolds and EAN kept busy in 2010, leading protests at the Capitol, hosting celebrations for California’s first Harvey Milk Day, and organizing a candlelight vigil to decry the national spate of youth bullying. Equality Action NOW also began collecting video testimonies of local gays and lesbians as part of a larger project, titled “It Gets Better Sacramento.” In June, Reynolds was honored on the floor of the California State Assembly for her ongoing efforts against Proposition 8 and was hailed as “a tireless activist for social equality and change.”tent goes here

Janet Smith, President, Lucky Buddy Petcare

Janet Smith, Lucky Buddy Petcare, with ZoeNominee Janet Smith started her pet-care services company in 2004, after four years as manager of an animal hospital, using an unexpected inheritance to fund the start-up. “It was literally a leap of faith,” she recalls. “I had no idea what I was doing and pieced together ideas and advice from coaches.” Smith worked temporary jobs for the first six months, until the business had enough referrals to be sustainable. The company has grown steadily since then, currently serving nearly 800 clients with 22 employees. “We’ve never had a year that had lower sales than the year before,” Smith says.

More about Janet

Lucky Buddy Petcare has been voted the Sacramento A-List 1st Place Winner for Best Pet Sitter for the past 10 years and added a 1st place win for Best Dog Walker for 2018 as well. The company also won Outword Magazine’s Reader’s Choice award for Best Pet Services for 2018 and maintains an A grade on Angie’s List.

In addition to her participation in the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber for the past five years, Smith is a cyclist, sponsor and board member for NorCal AIDS Cycle, the annual 4-day, 300-mile cycling fundraiser for area HIV/AIDS service organizations. “We’re a constant and steadfast supporter of the LGBTQ community and are greatly appreciative of the opportunity to be considered for this award,” Smith says.

Paul Weubbe, Director of Operations and Property Manager, Laughton Properties Inc.

Paul-Weubbe-Laughton-PropertiesPaul Weubbe enjoyed a successful career with major international brands in the food and beverage industry before joining Laughton Properties in 2009. He also manages and operates Billy’s Farm, a family-owned, organic Christmas tree farm located near Wilton in eastern Sacramento County.

Weubbe worked in sales for Capital Beverage Company and The Minute Maid Company before serving as a national sales executive for The Coca Cola Company and later as Market Transformation Manager and National Sales Manager for PepsiCo.

More about Paul

Weubbe currently serves as vice president of the California Apartment Association-Sacramento Valley and is a member of the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley and the Central City Housing Task Forces; he serves as the Lavender Heights Project lead for the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce in partnership with councilman Steve Hansen. He was a 2006 Lifetime Achievement Honoree for the International Foodservice Executives Association and was awarded the 2006 Grand President’s Leadership Award by the Alpha Gamma Rho Agricultural Fraternity, for which he served as Region Vice President and was one of 100 honored Brothers of the Century.

Weubbe has served in numerous leadership roles with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, including a two-year term as president as well as former chair of the Chamber’s non-partisan RainbowPAC. He has been instrumental in managing the Chamber’s partnership with the Sacramento Black and Hispanic chambers of commerce and City of Sacramento Economic Development and helps produce the Chamber’s monthly Drag Queen Bingo fundraising events, raising tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profit organizations. He also has raised money for HIV/AIDS services as a cyclist in the 7-day San Francisco-to-L.A. AIDS Lifecycle and the 4-day, 300-mile NorCal AIDS Cycle fundraising events.

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business climate. For more information about the organization, visit RainbowChamber.com.