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Wednesday, May 12th | 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

OutPro 16

Knowing Your LGBTQ+ Consumer

As 2019 came to a close, an estimated LGBT population of 17.4 million contributed $1.1 trillion in purchasing power to the United States economy. What is your business doing to better understand and serve this consumer base? Join us on Wednesday, May 12 for an in-depth panel discussion with business leaders and entrepreneurs building inclusive brands.

Key takeaways will include:

  • Best practices for marketing to LGBTQIA+ consumers via traditional and digital media
  • How to establish consumer and employee loyalty through creation of open and affirming places of business
  • The purchasing power of the LGBTQIA+ community and business case for LGBTQIA+ inclusion


About OutPro
As a champion for a diverse and inclusive community, the Chamber is proud to provide OutPro, an LGBTQIA+ professionals group that can serve as both a resource to employers and employees as well as an affinity group for the LGBTQIA+ community. OutPro promotes a welcoming culture in the West Michigan community and offers social and professional networking opportunities throughout the city. OutPro events are attended by professionals at all career levels, representing a diversity of corporations, small businesses, and public and non-profit organizations.

Wednesday, May 12
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting
Members: $0 / Non-Members: $25



Meet the Panelists

OutPro 18Benjamin Jenkins, Founder & CEO, Merithot Creative Marketing and Publisher, Pride Source Media Group
Benjamin is the Founder and CEO of Merithot Creative Marketing and Publisher of Pride Source, a multi-tiered LGBTQ+ media company. Under Jenkins’ leadership, Merithot has developed brand campaigns for hundreds of businesses in Michigan and nationally. This year, after starting at the company as an intern, Jenkins acquired Pride Source, which formed in 1994. Pride Source publishes Michigan’s LGBTQ+ newspaper, Between The Lines, as well as Pride Source magazine and Michigan’s Progressive Voter Guide. Its digital platform, www.pridesource.com, reaches over one million readers annually. An NGMA member, Jenkins is also the co-owner of Q Syndicate, the national LGBTQ+ wire service.

OutPro 17Tony Vedda, CCE, IOM, President & CEO, North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce
Tony’s career in chamber management began more than 30 years ago as a Membership Specialist for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. Since then he has worked with metropolitan chambers in Arizona and California including five years as Executive Director of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Business Association, the nation’s first LGBT chamber of commerce.

Tony returned to chamber work in 2005, serving as Secretary for the newly created North Texas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Chamber of Commerce. In 2007, he became the Chamber’s first President & CEO, a position he continues to hold today.

Tony is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management (IOM), making him one of only 145 active chamber leaders in the nation and the only LGBT chamber leader to receive the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) designation from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

In 2017, Tony married his partner of 27 years, Greg Wallace. They live in the Lakewood Trails neighborhood of East Dallas with their cats, Sydney & Gizmo.

Event Sponsors

Event Underwriters

132nd Annual Meeting 27    OutPro 13


Community Trustees

132nd Annual Meeting 28    EPIC Awards Gala 4


Chamber Champion

OutPro 14