IBA launches diversity, inclusion series with Latinx event

Latinx business professionals will be brought to the forefront at the first in a series of diversity and inclusion events from the region’s LGBT chamber of commerce.

The Independence Business Alliance will host the first of its three-part Intersections event series Nov. 28. IBA will hold the free event at Cuba Libre through a collaboration with Association of Latino Professionals For America, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau and PHL Diversity.

IBA Executive Director Zach Wilcha said the organization gathered members to discuss future diversity and inclusion events, which led to the launch of the Intersections program. The series will begin with the Latinx-focused session and be followed by events for the “African-American and Asian-American communities in February and May, respectively,” Wilcha said. Following IBA’s introduction to different communities, the organization plans to integrate all of them together in the next year. 

“Diverse businesses are better businesses,” Wilcha said. “It’s better for everybody when you see representation, whether it’s sexual orientation, gender expression, racial or ethnic background. Diverse businesses have more ideas. They have better problem-solving [skills] and are proven to be more successful in the long run.”

“I think when you bring many thoughts and backgrounds to the table, you’re likely to come up with more solutions to problems and generate better ideas for what makes businesses work,” he added.

Wilcha said that when he was hired as executive director in October 2015, one of his goals was to diversify IBA’s membership. He noted that people of color “often face more barriers to starting businesses and thriving in businesses” and that this program will show how “collaboration among communities makes businesses better and creates more opportunities for everybody.” 

“We want everybody to know that they can be part of the IBA and that each of those groups has been organically diverse in different ways. The combination of all of them together is creating something very exciting,” Wilcha said. “It’s a movement that we’re very proud of.”

He called the Intersections event an “exciting way to diversify our membership and board.”

“All of our events are fun and create business opportunities for the people who attend. I think it’s going to be really great to see something that, to our knowledge, is not happening in any other LGBT chamber across the nation where there’s a purposeful focus on inclusion among different LGBT communities.”

IBA Intersections: Hispanic & Latinx Reception will be held 5:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at Cuba Libre, 10 S. Second St. Visit http://bit.ly/2j7l4Er to register.