On April 10, The LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois threw a spring mix-and-mingle event that featured networking activities; a recap of this year's event and a preview of what is to come in 2018; a business networking role-play segment, a raffleand even a surprise performance from RuPaul's Drag Race season-10 contestant The Vixen. The event took place at Catalyst Ranch, a custom-designed event space in Chicago's West Loop.
The program started with LGBT Chamber of Commerce MPA Director Jerome Holston welcoming 25 new members to the organization. Holston then spoke on the successes of 2018 so far which included a celebration of Black LGBT business excellence in February, a partnership with Women's Business Development Center and Christy Webber Landscapes in March, and a partnership with DePaul University to host the PRIDE ERG Connect in April.
He also spoke about a partnership with BOBSIL to present a business boot camp on May 29; a summer partnership series that includes the Annual Pride Parade, Fahrenheit Festival, Midsommarsfest and Market Days; and a summer boat cruise set for Aug. 21. After a brief introduction from Anthony Difiore of Neverland Events and Management, The Vixen took center stage.
Later, John Estrada of John L. Estrada and Associates spoke about his consultation and management firm, and provided networking tips. Bryan Van Den Bosch, the manager of new business development with the Chicago Sky women's basketball team spoke about the importance of promoting to a diverse community before the raffle ended the evening.
The mission of The LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois is to promote economic opportunities for the LGBTQ community by being an advocate for all member businesses that promote equality and to bring together LGBTQ and LGBTQ friendly businesses to facilitate growth.The group also seeks to increase exposure through its website and newsletter, encourage businesses and individuals, and champion LGBTQ business interests to state and city government.