Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Area LGBT businesspeople get 'Out of the Office'
by Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer

This article shared 68 times since Sun Jun 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos

More than 300 people got "Out of the Office" on June 3, trading a computer screen and a dishearteningly filled inbox for vodka cocktails and a selection of elegant hors d'oeuvres all under the backdrop of a summer sun setting below a magnificent view of the Chicago skyline. The Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Dream Town Realty and the Godfrey Hotel kicked off Pride month with the event held at the Godfrey's Urban Chicago Rooftop Lounge. Additional photos at the link: .

"This evening is a great way to celebrate LGBTQ businesses," Chicago chamber President/CEO Christina Pinson said. "We are so happy that we could bring the community together in a positive way in a brand new Chicago venue."

"It's about being out and proud," agreed Len Mayersky—who was elected to the chair of the chamber earlier this year. "It's a great time to be gay and people have gay dollars to spend. Now that marriage equality is here, there's a lot of things people need from florists to estate planning so we are encouraging area LGBT businesses to get certified."

Certification through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce verifies that LGBTQ individuals are majority business owners. "If business owners come to the [Chicago] chamber, we'll certify them for free," Mayersky said.

Pinson said that the goal is to have 50 businesses certified by the end of the year, adding that they are currently only nine away from that target.

Among the guests was Sam Powell, a real-estate professional with Dream Town Realty. She and her longtime partner have been a part of the company for the past three years. "Dream Town's been promoting and supporting our community," she said. "The launch of the Pride of Ownership [LGBT] division is empowering to all of us."

Jim Schiefelbein is an independent consultant who Dream Town Realty President/CEO Yuval Degani and Dream Town Client Services Division President Todd Szwajkowski commissioned to help them develop the LGBT division. Besides hosting community outreach events such as Out of the Office, the division offers a team of gay and lesbian real-estate professionals like Powell as well as online resources at The objective is to make the lives of potential LGBTQ homebuyers as simple as possible with answers and information links regarding topics from property rights to credit and tax liability issues.

"Yuval and Todd wanted to create the first ever comprehensive division and it is indeed the first of its kind in the United States," Schiefelbein said. "We've also conducted the first formal study of the Chicago LGBT market as it relates to residential real estate."

That study was released in mid-May. Among its key findings were 95 percent of LGBT's surveyed preferring to work with a real estate firm that is "at least" LGBT-friendly. Fifty-seven percent of them still have concerns about the possibility of discrimination in the home buying process.

Still, Bill Greaves believes the community has advanced considerably even in the 11 years he spent as the city's liaison to the LGBTQ community for then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. "When I began it was a completely different world," he said. "Not that everything is perfect now. We need to develop more beds for LGBTQ homeless youth who have been alienated from our community. We need to have better and more public policies with the police in the treatment of transgender people. This is a city where people come from all over the world. Mayor Emmanuel should look at immigration policies and ensure that our community is treated equally."

David Tucci—a career agent with Mutual of Omaha—has been a member of the chamber for three years and sits on the membership committee of the board of directors. "We need to support and do good things for each other," he said. "We've been trying to host a lot more educational seminars on issues that affect all of us."

"There are more people here right now than the first pride event that I attended in Phoenix, Arizona, 35 years ago," Godfrey Hotel Area General Manager George Jordan noted. "I never thought the day would come when we were doing gay weddings at hotels. I'm thrilled for all of our friends in the community."

All proceeds from the evening benefitted the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, please visit and .

This article shared 68 times since Sun Jun 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Mets honor lesbian baseball icon Maybelle Blair 2023-09-16
- On Sept. 14 at NYC's Citi Field, the New York Mets recognized the life work of lesbian baseball pioneer Maybelle Blair, 96, with the inaugural Amazin' Mets Foundation Legacy Award, according to a Major League Baseball ...

Gay News

Theater Review: A Taste of Soul brings music and food center stage 2023-09-08
By Brian Kirst - We all know the sluggish quagmire of weekday work mornings. Often the only thing that gets us moving and able to face the day is our favorite songs. While all of the Black Ensemble Theater productions ...

Gay News

Can Chicago escape the 'urban doom loop?' 2023-09-04
- Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, major U.S. cities were experiencing strong growth fueled by financial and technological sectors of the economy. COVID, however, caused a massive change in population migration and work behavior which has created ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health reinstates workers following NLRB settlement recommendations 2023-08-29
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Aug. 29, 2023 — Howard Brown Health reinstated 25 employees as part of a plan to follow the recommendations outlined in a proposed settlement from Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The ...

Gay News

National Labor Relations Board rules Howard Brown Health workers wrongfully laid off 2023-07-28
- The National Labor Relations Board Region 13 has ruled that Howard Brown Health (HBH) leadership wrongfully laid off 60 of its employees at the beginning of this calendar year. Those layoffs led to a three day ...

Gay News

Darius Caffey offers a seat at The Table On Air 2023-07-24
- Darius Caffey is making moves at Chicago Access Network Television with a new program titled The Table On Air. He's the host of the show focusing on the work and accomplishments of Black LGBTQ+ members of ...

Gay News

Executive summary of Nat'l LGBTQ+ Women's Community Survey released 2023-07-10
--From a press release - Los Angeles LGBT Center, in partnership with Justice Work and 120 partner organizations, has released the executive summary of initial findings from the largest and most comprehensive survey on LGBTQ+ women who partner with women in ...

Gay News

Take Up Space founders reach for community-building possibilities 2023-07-05
- Two Chicagoans are working to bring a new business—one part coffee shop, one part co-working space, one-part events venue—centering Black and queer identities to Lake View. Co-founder M. Rashaad Barnett said he envisions the business, to ...

Gay News

Mayor Johnson names lesbian attorney as first assistant corporation counsel 2023-07-04
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Amy Crawford will serve as first assistant to the City of Chicago's corporation counsel. Crawford will work with Acting Corporation Counsel Mary Richardson-Lowry, who was appointed in June by the ...

Gay News

Supreme Court rules in favor of anti-gay Colorado web designer, LGBTQ+ groups respond 2023-06-30
- On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court—which has a conservative majority—ruled in favor of Lorie Smith, an evangelical Christian web designer from Colorado who refuses to work on same-sex weddings, ...

Gay News

Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles first out HIV+ board chair works to grow visibility 2023-06-28
--From a press release - Chicago, Illinois — Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles, Chicago's premiere music groups for the LGBTQ+ community members and allies, is currently under the direction of its first out HIV+ board chair, Brandon Strawn. Strawn has been a ...

Gay News

Los Angeles LGBT Center releases executive summary of National LGBTQ+ Women's Community Survey 2023-06-27
--From a press release - LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles LGBT Center, in partnership with Justice Work and 120 partner organizations, released the executive summary of initial findings from the largest and most comprehensive survey on LGBTQ+ women who partner with women ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Artist Stash Kybartas 2023-06-17
- Stashu Kybartas, a video artist who also worked in installation and performance art, passed away May 17 at his home in Chicago. Robert Colucci, his husband of 48 years, was with him at the time of ...

Gay News

Patric McCoy exhibition unearths forgotten moments from Chicago's Black queer history 2023-06-15
- It's the unusual person who is able to transform commutes to and from their office into anything meaningful, let alone a profound body of work documenting a generation. But Patric McCoy has done just that. McCoy, ...

Gay News

Artist Isabella Mellado illuminates the masks within community 2023-06-15
By Jess Savage - Chicago-based artist Isabella Mellado's paintings and sculptures are vibrant, colorful and larger than life. Her work represents autobiographical and allegorical scenes, nearly all of it featuring characters inspired by the ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.