Sacramento Gay Chamber Announces Hiring of Group’s First Executive Director

Community Organizer Nikki Whitfield Is New Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Nikki-Whitfield-2013July 23, SACRAMENTO— The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has hired local community organizer Nicole Whitfield, former community outreach coordinator for HIV/AIDS healthcare provider CARES, as its new executive director. Whitfield is the 12-year-old chamber’s first executive director.

“We’re tremendously proud to welcome Nikki Whitfield onboard,” said Chamber President Dr. Darrick Lawson. “With only a volunteer board of directors and part-time staff, the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has made enormous strides as a community leader and advocate for small and LGBT-owned businesses in the Sacramento region. The organization has reached a crossroads, when it will either grow or stay stagnant. The board and I are confident in Nikki’s ability to lead our growth and increase the value of chamber membership, and we are all so thrilled to be part of this exciting new chapter in the history of our chamber.”

Whitfield served from June 2008 to present as community mobilization coordinator for CARES (Center for AIDS Research Education & Services), where she helped build relationships with the African American community, area churches, health care providers and community-based organizations. Whitfield is an HIV University Fellow of the Black AIDS Institute (AAHU); and recipient of the 2013 Sacramento Kings All Star Community Service Award and of the 2009 Exceptional Woman Of Color Award. She serves on Mayor Kevin Johnson’s “Indivizible” African American leadership forum; Sen. Darrell Steinberg’s African American Advisory Committee; and Mental Health America’s LGBTQ Youth Collaborative.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce at such an exciting time in the history of the LGBT community,” Whitfield said. “Over the past two years, the Chamber has helped pass state legislation supporting LGBT-owned businesses, participated in the successful effort to create a unified central city council district, launched a non-partisan, business-friendly Political Action Committee, and received a Chamber Excellence Award from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. As a full-time executive director, I’ll have the time and focus to continue building our membership base and increase our outreach to government and corporate partners. I’m ready to go to work!”

In one of her first acts as executive director, Whitfield will travel to Dallas for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce National Business & Leadership Conference July 30 through August 2, where she will meet with leaders of LGBT chambers from throughout the United States. California itself is home to six LGBT chambers of commerce, in the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego and Sacramento.

Established in 2001, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business owners and professionals and allies in the Greater Sacramento region. The Chamber works to build a prosperous and inclusive business community and to support issues that promote business development and equal rights for all people.  The Chamber and its non-profit affiliate, the Rainbow Chamber Foundation, have contributed more than $40,000 to charitable causes, including youth scholarships and programs for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. For more information, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.