Kentucky’s LGBTQ+ Regional Chamber of Commerce has hired a new executive director and will be hosting monthly events for small and large businesses, corporate suppliers, and entrepreneurs to enhance the LGBTQ+ business ecosystem.
The CIVITAS board of directors hired Bryce Cariel to lead the organization into financial and organizational sustainability in 2024. Born a Kentucky native, Cariel moved to Louisville in 2009 where he obtained his real estate and broker license. In 2020, he became co-owner and managing broker of Caperton Realty.
“I’m ecstatic to be the new Executive Director for CIVITAS Regional Chamber of Commerce,” Cariel said. “I believe in our organization’s mission; I am looking forward to growing our Chamber and creating a positive impact on the LGBTQ+ Business Community with the support of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.”
According to their website, “CIVITAS focuses on LGBTQ+ business certification, education, and networking to strengthen the regional ecosystem based on the idea that supporting diverse-owned businesses is the foundation of community transformation and economic impact.”
CIVITAS is an affiliate of the NGLCC, which acts as the business voice of the LGBTQ+ community. According to the NGLCC website, they are the largest advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBTQ+ people, and the exclusive certifying body for LGBTQ+ – owned businesses. NGLCC currently has around 60 affiliate chapters across the United States and internationally.
The NGLCC also certifies companies as “LGBT Certified Business Enterprises,” which means the certified company is LGBTQ+ majority-owned.
Cariel said that being an LGBTCBE gives LGBTQ+ owners access and visibility to corporate representatives, supplier diversity professional contacts, and sourcing opportunities.
“Certified companies are eligible for scholarship programs, mentor and leadership training, and grants,” he added. “Five of our members were recipients of a GRUB Hub Grant which awarded thousands of dollars.”
Businesses can also become certified as diverse vendors for Louisville Metro with the help of CIVITAS.
CIVITAS currently has 55 members and is looking to grow its membership to 118 by the end of 2024.
“This year we are having monthly events, or “business spotlights,” that will engage our members and hopefully create more community,” Cariel said. “The first event will be a business spotlight of St. Joseph’s Children’s Home, which is one of the few organizations that allow adoption for same-sex couples.”
The event takes place on Jan. 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The next event, the chamber will meet at Sis Got Tea from 5:30 to 7 p.m. They are still solidifying the rest of their events for 2024, but will be having small fundraising events for nonprofits like Sweet Evening Breeze.
Cariel encourages all queer and allied businesses to join the chamber for networking, education, community support and resources