The senior vice president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) participated in a panel discussion Wednesday at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual diversity luncheon.
PHL Diversity, a division of PHL CVB, hosted its annual Business Opportunity Luncheon at the Rittenhouse Hotel. NGLCC’s Jonathan D. Lovitz was among the panelists during the networking event.
“Action News” co-anchor Nydia Han moderated the discussion, which also included Kevin J. Johnson, the meeting planner for Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Kenny Roberts, director of corporate affairs for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The panelists spoke on their organization’s respective conferences coming to Philadelphia.
Lovitz spoke with PGN prior to the event about the NGLCC’s upcoming conference in Philadelphia, adding he was honored to attend the luncheon.
“Every day in my job, I feel like it is a privilege and an honor that I get to speak for the LGBT business community, and then when I get to join my colleagues and link our resources and our experiences together, it’s something very special and something I don’t take lightly.”
The NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference will be held in Philadelphia for the first time Aug. 14-17. More than 1,300 business professionals and government officials are expected to attend the three-day conference at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott. The event provides educational opportunities, networking and leadership programming for professionals.
“It is the largest LGBT business event in the world and it attracts business owners and corporations from over 15 countries to host cities and we’re thrilled that it’s in Philadelphia,” Lovitz said. “Among the many reasons why we selected Philly is its proven track record on diversity. It’s a city that celebrates different walks of life and puts a premium on bringing communities together.”
Lovitz added that, historically, the NGLCC tries to bring people together to affect the most change. “Philadelphia feels like the perfect place to have that conversation.”
The point of the conference, he said, is “to assert the economic strength, power and opportunity of the LGBT business community.”
“We’re excited for the business owners here to have a chance to elevate their profile by being involved in putting this conference on, as well as showing other communities the power of what happens when you give access and opportunities to a community.”
Lovitz added he’s excited for the economic possibilities the conference will bring to the city.
“We haven’t been in a major urban environment like this with our conference in nearly a decade. So the opportunity for our nearly 1,500 attendees to spend money on local LGBT-owned and friendly businesses is massive.”
The senior VP also talked about the importance of diversity.
“Diversity is good for business and you see that both on a social and political level,” Lovitz said. “Any time more people are included and given the chance to live, love and work freely, their productivity goes up. Their communities thrive.
“I think Philadelphia has done a great job making sure that voices from diverse communities are part of the decision-making process, whether it’s the various advisory councils at City Hall or convenings like this PHL Diversity Luncheon that bring different chambers of commerce together.”
Lovitz and his husband, NBC10 meteorologist Steve Sosna, moved to Philadelphia in early December after living in New York City for more than a decade. And they are “loving it,” Lovitz said.
“Living in Center City has all of the benefits of living in Midtown Manhattan at a fraction of the price at a much more enjoyable pace of living,” he added with a laugh.
And since he lives in the city, Lovitz is serving as a direct liaison with IBA and city government.
“It’s really special,” he said. “I already love my job, and to have the extra layer of ‘conference ambassador’ added to my daily activities while getting involved with city government and city businesses is a real badge of honor for me. I think the city is going to love having our attendees here. I think our attendees are going to fall in love with Philadelphia as quickly as I have.” n
The NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference will be held Aug. 14-17 at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott, 1201 Market St. For more information, visit www.nglcc.org/nglcc18.