Echelon Magazine

June-July, 2010

Echelon Magazine is a Gay and Lesbian Business Publication

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Page 37 of 44

By Michael Lamb New Networking Groups For LGBT business professionals These hot, new groups are taking the LGBT business community by storm. By breaking away from our traditional chambers of commerce, they are reaching out to more professionals and raising the bar. Luciano Costa SoCal Social Club Richard Klein dot429 Current trends in business networking are resulting in a rise of non-chamber professional organizations that are seeking to empower the economic side of the LGBT community. Although our LGBT chambers have been operating successfully for over 30 years, there seems to be a penchant to join business groups that are perhaps less defined by convention. After attending an event for each of the following organizations, we talked with the Founders to try and get a sense of who they are and why they are so appealing. The Southern California Social Club (SCSC), led by Luciano Costa brings out a large number of attendees and seem to draw a much younger demographic than most LGBT chamber groups. Membership is free and they seek to connect upwardly mobile individuals to enrich their lives with a variety of positive experiences in 38 ECHELON june/july 2010 Darren Spedale StartOut a sophisticated and welcoming environment that sets it apart from the typical gay nightlife. dot429, which recently launched their website, has spent the past year interviewing LGBT business professionals as Founding Members. Their events illicit an air of sophistication and are quite organized. Founder, Richard Klein has created an organization whose multi-media site is their main focus. So far, they have attracted Infiniti as a major web advertiser and give support to community groups including GLAAD. StartOut (SO) originally caught our attention with their very well written blog. This group is all about the LGBT entrepreneur and seeks to empower small business owners with opportunities, role models, mentoring and fighting discrimination by raising the visibility of LGBT business. Their events are charged with energy and make you feel like you are part of a great team. Hip

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