Dear RCC Members,

On behalf of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Board of Directors, I’m wishing you a healthy, happy and successful 2014.

As we begin this year, the Board and I felt it was important to share with you some upcoming changes to our staffing and infrastructure and tell you about some exciting new programs and opportunities designed to help your business succeed and grow.

Executive Director Resignation

To begin with, we report with mixed emotions that Nikki Whitfield has resigned her position as Chamber Executive Director in order to pursue a new opportunity with St. John’s Women’s Shelter in Sacramento. Although we are saddened to lose Nikki’s charismatic leadership, energy and talent, we also understand that Nikki is following her heart in serving an organization that makes such an important contribution to our community. We wish her every success in her new position.

We are fortunate that Sara Freid continues to serve as our Business Manager. The Board is considering our staffing requirements pending a decision about recruitment for an Executive Director position.

RCC Website Redesign

Another big change is one that will be welcomed by many of you. Our Board and staff has heard from members that our Chamber website is not as user-friendly and easy to navigate as it could be. You spoke, and we listened.

We are pleased to announce the Chamber has contracted with LimeWorks Inc., an RCC member, to completely redesign our website. We also are in the process of converting our existing membership management system to ChamberMaster®, a powerful and easy-to-use system utilized by many of our sister LGBT chambers of commerce and other business organizations throughout the United States. As with any construction site, we know there will be a little bit of dust during the project, but once the new site is up and running, we will have a dynamic, informative website offering a greatly improved experience both for our members and members of the public who want to learn more about RCC. We expect the new site to be completed in spring 2014. The contract for website redesign was awarded to LimeWorks Inc. following a competitive RFP process.

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Affiliation & Opportunities

RCC’s affiliation with NGLCC offers a number of opportunities benefiting our members and their businesses. Businesses that are at least 51% LGBT-owned are eligible for NGLCC’s LGBT Business Enterprise Certification, the only LGBT certification recognized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Certification puts you in touch with potential opportunities to do business with scores of NGLCC’s corporate partners in every major industry—names such as Wells Fargo, Ernst & Young, Wyndham Hotels, and IBM, to name just a few. Thanks to our affiliation with NGLCC, the cost of the $400 certification is waived for Rainbow Chamber members.

In 2014, NGLCC’s 11th Annual Business Leadership Conference, which brings together several hundred LGBT-certified businesses and the major corporate partners who want to do business with them for a three-day networking dream, will be held in Las Vegas, July 29-August 1. It’s affordable, close to home, and we hope to have a large contingent of RCC members in attendance. It is one of the best business conferences you will ever attend.

Last but not least, NGLCC is inviting RCC member businesses to participate in a remarkable internship program of the Add Us In Coalition. Participating employers will be matched with a prescreened, qualified intern whose education and skills meet the employer’s business needs. The best part is that a portion of the stipend paid to the interns will be reimbursed by Add Us In. One of our own RCC members, WriteAway Communications Services, hired two interns from the Add Us In program in 2013, with outstanding results. NGLCC’s Director of Affiliate Relations and Add Us In program staff will hold a free informational workshop about the program here in Sacramento on February 19th. We’ll keep you posted on time and location.

$25 Discount on Exhibit Space at LGBT Wedding Expo

RCC is teaming up with member Outword Media Marketing & Events and Details Details Events & Conference Planning to co-host the second Sacramento LGBT Wedding Expo Tuesday, February 18th, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the Red Lion Woodlake Hotel. This event will correspond with RCC’s February Monthly Mixer, and we hope all of you will attend and enjoy the party! Attendance is free for both members and guests, but be sure to let us know you’re coming by registering at www.rainbowchamber.com/events2.

As event co-sponsors, RCC members will receive a $25 discount off the $350 exhibit space. Hundreds attended the first expo, held in August 2013, and many of the couples attending found photographers, caterers, venues, décor, wedding couture and jewelry to create the weddings of their dreams. February’s mixer will be a great place to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cake and wine tastings and the sounds of dueling DJs while your friends strut and model in House of Fashion’s bridal fashion show.

RainbowPAC

RainbowPAC is the Chamber’s non-partisan political action committee founded in 2012. Under the leadership of PAC Chair Paul Weubbe, we are launching a broad-based outreach campaign targeted both to members of the LGBT community who are not currently members of RCC and to members of allied communities. RainbowPAC fills a unique role in our city and state by marrying the values of equality, diversity and inclusion with support for pro-business candidates and ballot initiatives. Stay tuned for news about upcoming fundraising events and candidate endorsement meetings. Only RCC members will be able to vote on candidate endorsements.

Our first RainbowPAC event of 2014 will be a Champagne Brunch fundraiser at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 25, generously hosted and sponsored by the Dante Club! We hope to see all of you there. To register, please visit rainbowchamber.com/events and click on the registration link.

Rainbow Chamber Foundation

Our non-profit Foundation, led by Chamber Vice President Joey O’Shea, is starting the year with an outreach campaign to Sacramento-region high schools, community colleges and universities. Since 2007, the Rainbow Chamber Foundation has awarded 22 scholarships to LGBT or LGBT-supportive students, funded entirely by Chamber fundraising efforts such as our Annual Gala and raffles at our monthly mixers.

For 2014, we are proud to announce a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) Scholarship, generously funded by RCC corporate sponsor SMUD!

Monthly Mixers

Our new Events Committee, led by RCC Board Member David Andersen, is busy making plans for exciting mixers and other events in 2014. Our Monthly Mixers will continue to be held every third Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at a different member-provided location each month.

We look forward to seeing all of you at our New Year Mixer on Tuesday, January 21, at Jackson Catering & Events, 1120 Fulton Avenue, Suite N, Sacramento, CA 95825, sponsored by A&A Music Events. Visit our events calendar for more details and to register.

 

The members of the RCC board and I are honored to have the opportunity to help our Chamber and our Sacramento business community thrive and grow. Yet, we can’t be successful without the support and participation of our members. Let us know how we can provide you and your business better value for your membership. What new educational programs, networking events, community resources or advocacy do you need to succeed?

Finally, we need your help to provide the future leadership that will enable our Chamber to continue growing. We need committee members, event volunteers, community ambassadors and future Board members. One of the best ways to benefit from your RCC membership is to get involved, by contributing your time, skills and business savvy to strengthen our Chamber. Let’s make new friendships, build more relationships and discover the potential customers and partners that will help our businesses succeed in 2014.

Sincerely,

 

Michael Sestak
President, Board of Directors