An advocate for change

When we raise our voices together we change lives. We change outcomes for families (for generations), we change communities (where we work and who we serve) and we change who we become

~ Robin Dillard,
The Business Equality Advocate

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About Robin

I am Robin R. Dillard, the Business Equality Advocate. With over 25 years of experience and a passion for empowering small businesses and underrepresented communities, I create strategic opportunities to leverage my relationships, media platforms and technology to support diversity in the workplace, marketplace, supply chain and the philanthropic endeavors of corporate America.

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This is my blog, my space reserved to muse about whatever… I’m starting with

I woke up to this email in my inbox….

Dear Robin,

What if you won the lottery today—and suddenly, you had enough money to last you (comfortably) for the rest of your life?

What would you do, if you could do anything whatsoever—if money were no object? Since meaningful work is a vital part of human existence, ask yourself what type of work makes you “come alive with excitement”?

THAT work, the work that ignites your passion, is your destiny. It is what you came here to do. And you have been given very unique talents, gifts, strengths and abilities that will allow you to be spectacular at the very work you are most passionate about.

Imagine, Robin, feeling excited for Mondays to come, because you love your work so much! You can take a step towards that excitement, that passion, that destiny today.

How?

By knowing you will be supported every single step of the way. By imagining yourself loving your work and imagining money flowing to you easily and elegantly. By asking me and your other unseen friends for help.

This is your life, Robin. Together, let’s make it the most exciting, successful and passionate life we can!

Enthusiastically yours,
Your Spirit

This is exactly how I feel—as if I won the lottery when it comes to my work. I’m still working on the feeling supported everyday and every step of the way.  I know that’s only my consideration, because every sign in my world is overwhelmingly positive.  I never imagined being a diversity magazine publisher, but it is a perfect profession for me. It merges all of my talents and skills and it allows me to contribute to society in a meaningful way.  I am blessed for sure. In 2020, I am waking up everyday remembering this truth.

I Publish a Diversity Magazine. Fall 2019

We’ve held onto old beliefs about reality and about ourselves for far too long. Some of us have stashed away some pretty ancient views about who we are, what we are capable of and who on this enormous planet of opportunity needs us — the very thing, the gift, you bring is the solution to someone’s current challenge.

Oftentimes there is a significant gap between what’s possible and our limiting beliefs. This issue of BEQ Pride is dedicated to what’s possible. Fifty years beyond both the Stonewall uprising and the birth of supplier diversity, it’s time to challenge our assumptions and open up to the possibilities of a better future. No more limiting what’s possible.

We start off this issue with a nod to Tampa, Florida and Mayor Jane Castor as the host city for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s International Business & Leadership Conference. The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce along with its CEO and President Justice Gennari will host the opening reception, provide volunteers and like any great host would do they’ve created a dining and entertainment guide, especially for the conference attendees. Talk about what’s possible, Mayor Castor is the first openly LGBT mayor of Tampa, the local chamber is 35 years old and these folks are a leading advocate for the City of Tampa to include Certified LGBT Business Enterprises® (certified LGBTBE®) in its spend with diverse businesses. This is not only possible, it is likely.

We also have Ben Conard, one of our 2019 40 LGBT Leaders Under 40, the Founder of Five North Chocolate, a Certified LGBTBE® and the first brand ever to feature the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce Seal on a packaged good. Ben provides his perspective on inclusion as a self-described “gay, white, able-bodied, cisgender male” and a realization that he has a responsibility to use his voice to speak up on behalf of others. Careful consideration of who Ben is will bring you to the conclusion that his arc of success is just getting started.

There’s no surprise that Five North Chocolate is committed to fair trade and that means that hard-working west African cacao farmers are able to do things like build schools for their children and community to better understand the possibilities. After serving as North American CEO for one month at The Adecco Group, Ben is full of wisdom and insights for everyone.

We also have Jenn T. Grace and Publish Your Purpose Press (PYP Press) with her mandate to provide a platform for marginalized voices to be published. Jenn brings the possibility for your memoir, thought leadership or business innovation as a book anchored in your business strategy. She answers the question of how to use your book for business development, visibility and market differentiation. Our BEQ Pride team is responsible for the production of PYP’s video explaining their business model and possibilities for being a published author.

National Adoption Month is coming up in November, so we are checking in on the state of LGBTQ adoption and fostering for both parents and children. In this issue, we share the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s All Children – All Families project with its first-of-its-kind report highlighting more than 70 child welfare agencies that have partnered with All Children – All Families to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ community. When thinking about our future, the possibilities are endless when we decide to open our hearts to children.

On the leadership front, we have Dr. Steve Yacovelli and we announce the BEQ Pride Class of 2020 Leaders Under 40 nomination period. Dr. Steve Yacovelli, Owner & Principal, TopDog Learning Group, LLC, “The Gay Leadership Dude” and the subject of a BEQ Pride feature in our June issue, is back to share six leadership competencies that every LGBTQ+ leader needs to know to grow. Dr. Steve never disappoints. If you’re looking for a leadership guru and someone who knows the ropes on effective leadership and the nuance of showing up authentically as an LGBTQ+ person in the workplace, he’s your guy.

We also have a dozen podcasts to add to your LGBTQ+ centric playlist. From Business and Money to Entertainment to Politics and Social Justice, we’ve got you covered. Give your ears and mind a treat as you ease into fall, the increased traffic with school buses, crisp breezes and beautiful foliage as arguably the best visible reminder of possibility—things change.

Finally, we invite you to celebrate our cover feature and the announcement of Cummins, Inc. as our 2019 LGBT Corporate Eminence Award recipient. Besides being a long-time supporter of supplier diversity and a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, Cummins is a corporate partner of NGLCC and a vocal advocate of LGBTQ rights. Cummins leaders have been outspoken about the rights of its employees and the citizens of Indiana and beyond.

Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger is firm in his statement, “we believe that when we see discrimination and intolerance toward our colleagues, friends and neighbors, we owe it to ourselves, our communities and each other to stand up and say something.”  And stand up they have. Marya Rose, chief administrative officer, is on the record stating that Cummins’ ability “to be competitive in global markets and to attract and retain top talent” is negatively impacted by discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

Cummins took another visible stand for equality when corporate representatives testified in favor of expanding the state civil rights code to include sexual orientation as a protected class during an Indiana study commission. I think Shannon Heider, director of state government relations, said it best, “We are a global company, solving global problems, but our headquarters is here [Indiana]. Those who rise through the ranks of our company will spend time and live in Indiana. With all the negative attention on Indiana, we have lost strong, high-performing employees who have cited the negative perception toward the LGBT community as their reason for leaving.”

With nearly 10,000 employees in the state and the recent completion of a new global distribution headquarters in Indianapolis — a location chosen in part because that city instituted legal protections for LGBT individuals — Cummins’ powerful voice has effectively argued that their economic future depends on inclusion.  When a big brand stands up for what’s right — and the business case for inclusion couldn’t be more compelling — the future can be brighter.

Congratulations Cummins!

Robin Signature