2018 NGLCC INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
When I applied to compete for a scholarship to attend the 2018 NGLCC conference to be held in Philadelphia, USA, I was aware that the selection process would be rigorous. As the founder of a young Transgender independent Consultancy based in Cape Town, I knew that I was competing against a number of well-established LGBTI+ businesses, all vying for the opportunity to be part of a global networking session with over 1300 international LGBTI entrepreneurs, leaders and global change makers. When I received the great news that I had been selected for this amazing opportunity, I turned my focus on engaging in research about possible attendees, NGLCC member organisations and global affiliate chambers that would form part of this delegation. My intention was to ensure that I would maximise every opportunity and encounter the conference would present me with.
The 2018 NGLCC Conference exceeded all expectations I had when I travelled to the USA as a participant. As an LGBTI+ Plus member, I was also driven by the desire to learn strategies and tools I could use when returning back to South Africa on how to best promote and advocate for the economic inclusion and recognition of LGBTI+ business, particularly those that work with transgender issues, in my country. The plethora of leaders from various international LGBTI+ chambers affiliated to the NGLCC at the pre-conference leadership institute meeting highlighted the important role played by LGBTI+ businesses in affirming the need for strategic planning and advocacy for LGBTI+ businesses.
The conference was tailored to meet the needs of different people and organisation on an international scale. There were various events from the outset, including bootcamp sessions for registered and certified LGBTI+ business, which upskilled new conference attendees on how best to maximise the experience through progressive networking and empowerment strategies to achieve best outcomes and returns. The opening plenary session stood out for me both as an individual as well as in my capacity as MD of Landa Mabenge Consulting as this plenary addressed the often side-lined and much needed conversation on the intersectionalities of race, gender and sexual orientation. This conversation laid out the theme for the conference by highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts within the LGBTI+ communities themselves and how to best leverage off each other in achieving desired outcomes as economic contributors globally.
The conference was extremely beneficial from a networking perspective and as an indispensible tool to continuously highlight the importance of supplier diversity and the economic benefit of such. The resounding theme was the need for diversity and inclusion at all levels of businesses. As a transgender business owner, I was able to participate in a Trans Inclusion Task Force session. This session was for the establishment of strategies to eliminate obstacles faced by transgender people when seeking inclusion within the LGBTI+ business space and to also work towards the possibility of establishing trans specific chambers of commerce as part of the diverse global LGBTI+ community.
There were networking and collaboration possibilities throughout the conference and various discussions aimed at harnessing the global LGBTI+ leaders present at the conference. The matchmaking, early morning yoga and tea time walk and talk events also made it possible for participants to delve into specific conversations on a one on one level and this bolstered greater confidence and outputs for participating attendees.
The 2018 NGLCC International and Business Leadership Conference was extremely well organised and executed and I am grateful to Plus for having afforded me the opportunity for such exposure and networking opportunities. It is my mission to continue being an active Plus member so that these learnings can be ploughed back into the South African LGBTI+ budding business sector.
Landa T. Mabenge
Founder and MD: Landa Mabenge Consulting