Originally published on newscenter.td.com.
It’s not often you hear compelling and frank advice at a business conference. That was just one of the ways the LGBT Bronx Business Convening event differed from the typical networking event.
TD Bank’s Barton Jackson, a Small Business Specialist in Manhattan, led a session on planning and growth for Small Business Owners. He told the crowd of more than 100 people at the Bronx Borough President’s Office that if a banker tries to sell you a product or service right off the bat without talking to you about your business, then “run.”
An advisor and Small Business lender should “get to know you” before selling you products, Barton said. TD makes sure to follow its own advice as our specialists always get in touch with customers four times a year to make sure the “bond and trust is still strong.”
Other attendees at the event included Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Sorin and Eric Silverberg, CEO of SCRUFF, a prominent dating app.
Barton also shared his personal story with the crowd about why he now identifies as a “business activist,” and how he came out at the age of 22 in his Idaho home. He made his way to New York City to be with his husband, Stanley Martin, who is currently a member of the ensemble cast of Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway.
Later in the day, Steven Garibell, TD Bank’s LGBTQ2+ Business Development Officer, moderated a panel about business cross certification featuring Jonathan Lovitz from the National Lesbian and Gay Chamber.
This relatively new certification is similar in concept to the Minority-Owned Business or Women-Owned Business designations. Being certified by a governing body like the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce allows for a business to not only promote that they are majority owned by those in the LGBTQ+ community, but build relationships with larger companies or even government departments looking for diverse partners as vendors or suppliers.
It’s all about networking and investing in the LGBTQ+ community. “Every person here is a walking role model,” Jonathan told the crowd.
Event received rave reviews from attendees
For Scot Maitland, a director of business development at Imprint, a marketing agency in New York City, this event provided him the opportunity to network and meet with people in person to discuss business matters, rather than reaching out via digital means. He also gave accolades for the opportunities to learn about marketing and building a business plan.
Beyond business, attendees may also have gained some knowledge that is even more critical to a leading a satisfied life.
Small Business Owner Carlos Cortes spoke about “understanding your authentic self,” when explaining his expansion plans for his family’s chocolate business, Chocobar Cortes, which is currently located in Puerto Rico. Cortes is planning to open another store in Queens to be in the heart of where his New York fanbase lives.
The participants from TD Bank were also enthusiastic about the event and networking opportunities.
“TD values the opportunity to help businesses and organizations in the LBGTQ2+ community,” Steve said. “We were glad to have the opportunity to participate in this event and look forward to empowering more business owners in the future through our financial literacy classes and community partnerships.”