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

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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 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 Speakers

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 19Zach Wilcha, Executive Director, Independence Business Alliance
Zach is the inaugural Executive Director of the Independence Business Alliance, the LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Under his leadership, the IBA has experienced growth in membership, an increase in Board and member diversity, and delivered innovative, award-winning programming including the Intersections initiative, the TransWork program, and Emerging Queer Leaders.

An attorney, activist, and fundraiser, Zach has been a regular speaker on a number of issues including LGBTQ+ Affairs, fundraising and development, relationship building, supplier diversity, program development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Zach was named 2019 Person of the Year by the Philadelphia Gay News, received an Everyday Genius leadership award from the DaVinci Art Alliance, is a Philadelphia 76ers Game Changer Award recipient for community service, and was recently appointed to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce National Affiliate Chamber Council Leadership.

Combining earnest grassroots organizing with corporate, business, and legal acumen, Zach is passionate about bringing compassion, inclusion, and representation into all areas of his personal and professional life.

Event Sponsors

Event Underwriters

132nd Annual Meeting 27    OutPro 13


Community Trustees

132nd Annual Meeting 28    EPIC Awards Gala 4


Chamber Champion

OutPro 14