Florida Diversity Council Hosts LGBT-Allies Diversity Summit in Orlando


Last week, the Florida Diversity Council (FDC) hosted the 6th Annual Florida LGBT-Allies Diversity Summit at the UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality in Orlando from 8AM-12PM.

Over 135 business leaders from around the region attended the LGBT summit sponsored by Wyndham and the USAA.

“This was one of the most well-attended events we’ve hosted,” said Raphael Perra, Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion with the National Diversity Council (NDC). “The interaction between everyone in the room made the event a huge success.”

LGBT-Allies Summit
The USAA team brought 18 representatives to the morning event. Image courtesy of Raphael Perra.

Central Florida News 13’s Greg Pallone emceed the morning summit, which kicked off with a panel discussion about the impact of an ally as more than just a title.

Panelists included Mark Puskarich from Equality Florida, Heidi Katz from Elder Source, and Natasha Aversano from USAA, who each answered a prepared question and then took questions from the audience. “Everyone was willing and open to engage in conversation,” says Perra.

The morning continued with two breakout sessions titled “The Power of Language: Fostering an Inclusive Culture” and “Transforming Employee Resource Groups into Effective Business Teams.”

The final speaker of the summit was Luis Martinez, the Director of Multicultural Affairs to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

According to the NDC website, “After the Pulse tragedy, [Martinez] played a critical role in the City’s Communications Emergency Management Team by managing local, national and international media inquiries and providing updated information in Spanish to the Hispanic/Latino community.”

During his keynote, Martinez shared his personal story about how difficult it was to come out as a gay Latino male.

The NDC and FDC host various programs and summits throughout the year. The LGBT-focused summits occur primarily in Georgia, Texas, Michigan, and Orlando.

To get involved with the FDC, click here.

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She is the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization, and CEO of OUTCOAST, an online marketing and concierge platform marketing the Gulf Coast as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to VISIT, CELEBRATE, and LIVE.

Rachel is also an avid event photographer and has captured photos for LGBT organizations around the world, including the IGLTA, NGLCC, NLGJA, and Out & Equal.

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