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Building Community to Grow + Thrive: LinkedIn Live with Rebecca Waggoner

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  • How Quorum is helping queer BIPOC-owned small businesses in MN with their new business equity fund (5:14)
  • How you can help Minnesota be the first state to push LGBTQ+ business bills through the legislature (9:21)
  • Why having a village is necessary for us to grow and thrive (11:43)
  • The challenges that Quorum faces as out-of-state LGTBQ+ folks seek refuge in Minnesota (13:55)
  • How to be an ally by having difficult conversations (16:40)
  • What it means to “call in” instead of “call out” (19:28)
  • The link between listening with curiosity and building trust (20:25)
  • The two places Quorum will have the most impact in the next few years (31:42)
  • Opportunities for you to partner with LGBTQ+ businesses (33:45)


Video Transcript

Justin Bieganek: Well, hello everybody. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Justin and I am the brand advisor and founder of Mercury Creative Group. We grow brands and we build community. Over the past 25 years or so, I have been honored by working with so many of these great leaders and their teams to rebuild their organizations from the inside out as their brand advisor and strategic growth partner. And what I’m more excited about is sharing their journey, sharing what they’ve done, how they’ve transformed themselves and their organizations. And for us, it’s all about building community. It’s like building those team members from the inside out and growing together. So, my guest today is Rebecca Wagner, and she’s the Executive Director of Quorum. So for the next 25 minutes, we are going to chat about what is she working on? How is she building her community, and what are these diverse experiences that she’s working through to build trust and talk through difficult conversations?

And also how is she building a more equitable and inclusive business community? So you’re gonna hear some fun things that she is working on at the Capitol right now on behalf of our community. So we’d love to hear your thoughts, post your questions and comments along the way. And in fact, I invite you to kick off the chat by telling us what brought you here today, why have you tuned in. And I’ll toss in questions as we go, and Rebecca and I will answer those throughout the time. We’re also gonna have a 15 minutes or so question and answer towards the end. So here’s what I know about Rebecca. She’s honest. She’s humble, and she’s very devoted. She’s also a very transparent leader, as you’re going to hear today. She’s passionate and she’s most passionate about the queer village that she is building. And she’s just a natural at communicating and building community and getting to know people as individuals and finding their strengths. And she’s committed to their growth cuz that personal growth is growing our community. So she knows relationships, and she is a firecracker. She has energy, she’s infectious, and you’re gonna see and hear that all in just a little bit. So, welcome Rebecca. Tell our listeners a little bit of you and Quorum and what Quorum does as an organization.

Rebecca Waggoner: That was quite a setup. I am quite excited. I hope that I’m half the person that you think I am. 

Justin: You are. 

Rebecca: My name is Rebecca, and as Justin said, I’m the executive director of Quorum, Minnesota’s LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce. And we work to build, connect, and strengthen, and that’s what we do across Minnesota and across the region. So really working today, and so excited to be here and be a part of this today.

Justin: So Rebecca, tell us a little bit from Outfront to Quorum, how did you get involved with Quorum?

Rebecca: It’s  a really funny story. I worked in non-profit and crime victim services for about 20 years. And so out front Minnesota is the state’s advocacy organization, and I was the director of our ANTIVIOLENCE program. And on Labor Day of 2014, I literally woke up and said, if I put the same thing out, I’m gonna get the same thing out. I had a great team, I was doing work I loved, but I also knew that there was another adventure. And so I walked in Tuesday morning to my boss’s office and said, I’m gonna give you a five and a half month notice. And she’s like, what are you gonna do? And I was like, I don’t know, I’m gonna sell tacos. And so anyway, so we went through that process and I, you know, I was interviewing for jobs and I kept getting them, and then I realized I was interviewing for the same job over and over again.

And so I, and I knew I didn’t want that, and Quorum happened to be looking for an executive director at the same time as I was in my search. And they approached me and said, would you be interested in interviewing? And I said, well, you know, I don’t know anything about business. I just know how to build relationships. And they’re like, well, that’s exactly what we want. And in a shocking turn of events, they actually hired me. And during the interview I said you know, I’m gonna take this organization on a journey that you probably can’t even imagine right now. And they’re like, that’s okay. And now we’re in that journey. So it’s a very exciting place to be.

Justin: And tell me, you had asked the actual board when you’re being interviewed, you actually asked and sort of, turned the conversation around. I think that moment when you were sharing that with me was, I think they identified “this is the leader for our organization”.

Rebecca: Well, I so, you know, one of the, at the end, you know, you have, I had this list of questions of, you know, like what the questions you’re supposed to ask at the end of an interview. And it was an interview that was supposed to last an hour, and we’re like almost two hours in and people are having to leave. And so,  at the end of the interview I said, look, we’re gonna, we’re gonna agree on salary, we’re gonna agree on all of those things, but I wanna know what made you carry the water for so long, because Quorum didn’t have an executive director for four years. And so it was, it was board led and board and I wanted to know. And I made them all go around and answer and they, I don’t think that they knew what to do. And I think that by the end of that, I realized that this was the place that I wanted to be because I could see myself in this role.

Justin: So now, being in that role for a while, what are some exciting things that are happening with Quorum?

Rebecca: Oh, well, every day is an exciting thing at Quorum. I’m just gonna tell you that right now, we are in a very rapid growth, growth place. So for example, we went to the Capital for the first time this year and for two different bills. One is an equity fund, a business equity fund bill for small businesses where we work with our local and upper Midwest P Fund foundation to give businesses grants to give them and then wraparound support services. And so it’s gonna be 30% of the grantees are gonna be small businesses of color. 30% are gonna be in Greater Minnesota and the rest are gonna be, you know, just across the state and across the Twin Cities. And it’s a game changer, right? Like are gonna be able, we’re gonna be able to, to do this work in a cohort model where these businesses not only get, get some funds, they also get support, but they also get that cohort of other businesses.

They get that village of people working together and all excited and sharing their successes and sharing their struggles and all of that kind of stuff. So, and it was built on something that happened after the murder of George Floyd. We realized that, in combination with the murder of George Floyd and the Pandemic, a lot of our entrepreneurs of color were really struggling in Minneapolis. And, so Pfund approached us and said, Hey, what do you think we could do? And we started giving grants. Like we went to the Minneapolis Foundation and started giving grants. And that first year and the second year, we just finished up our second cohort. And it’s amazing. Like some of these businesses are ready to scale, right? They’re ready. They just needed that little bit of support they needed that they needed someone to believe in ’em. And so then that we’re taking that fund, it’s statewide. So it’s an incredible opportunity.

Justin: So last time that we spoke, you were just gonna go testify at the Capitol. So I haven’t had a chance to talk to you since then. What was that experience like?

Rebecca: It was terrifying, but it was amazing. Two things came out of that. So, one I actually testified at the House, and it’s the first time I’ve ever testified. I, you know, I was nervous. I swallowed my gum and coughed, and it was, it’s very weird. But ultimately what we were doing was making the case that LGBTQ+ small businesses need support and need a very specific type of support. That other marginalized communities you know, they’re already sort of written in. And somewhere along the way we didn’t add LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. And so we made that case. And then second thing I learned out of that was that I left for a meeting in Albuquerque that same week. And we got another hearing and I was like, oh my gosh, do I have to fly back from Albuquerque?

Do I, should I, should I, should I? And then I realized, no, no, no, we have a very strong team of people. What they need are some tools, what they need. I’m gonna use the same, I’m gonna apply the same skills that I applied to everything else in Quorum to help people grow and thrive. And so our board president, he testified in my place. And, the team itself testified. And it was amazing for them. It was amazing for me. And it also taught me the power of teamwork and the power of believing in people and giving ’em the tools that they need to, to grow and thrive themselves. You know?

Justin: So now what, like, what’s next?

Rebecca: What’s next? Well, next and at a legislative level is getting state LGBTQ businesses included in this supplier diversity and the state procurement fund. So we’re working on that, that we think it’s gonna it’s not gonna happen this session, but it’s gonna happen at the beginning of the next session. So a lot of that groundwork, building the village, building the community, giving people the talking points, giving people the skills that they need to make the changes that are necessary.

Justin: Excellent. So two things. Cause I wanna talk about village. That word resonates with me. But is there anything while we’re talking about what you’re doing to move these two bills through that anyone listening now or in the future could help you with?

Rebecca: Oh, yes, you can. There’s letters, there’s emails, there’s getting in touch with your legislative officials, your legislators. This is, Minnesota’s the first state to push these kinds of bills through the country or through the legislature. And we’re the first state to do this equity fund work specifically for LGBTQ+ small businesses. When we win, not if, when we win, we are gonna be the first state to push supplier diversity through at a state level through the legislature as opposed to an executive order or something like that. So lots of people, lots of voices, lots of small business owners, lots of friends of small business owners, you know, saying, Hey, this affects me in a very positive way and I wanna be a part of this change. I have a form letter for you. I have, I have emails for you. I have everything we possibly need to do that.

Justin: So everybody we’ll connect you, we’ll send links at the very end so you can also help us. But I want you to go back because you were talking a little bit about how the equity fund, the business equity fund. So 30% of, is it going to queer business of color? 30% of money should go out-state. So we’re getting outside the metro, right? Where is, and then what’s the other 40%?

Rebecca: The other 40% is or, or businesses specific, you know, throughout Minnesota, right? We wanted to make sure that there were some, that there were some metrics that we had to meet around entrepreneurs of color and greater Minnesota businesses. We wanted to make sure that there were, that it didn’t just default to Twin Cities and the Twin Cities area. So that’s why we put those metrics in the other 40% is, you know, for other LGBTQ+ businesses, wherever you are, we wanna get you certified, we wanna get you into supply chains, we wanna get you the skills and tools that you need to scale your business and to grow and thrive, right? Like, we want you to be a tier one supplier. We want you to be, you know, if you have to start at a tier three today, then let’s get you to tier one, right? Like, we can do that. The sky’s the limit.

Justin: I appreciate you saying by building community, grow and thrive. Cause that’s exactly, I stole those words out of your mouth for this, for this title. Village. Why do you call it a village? Tell me the history of that.

Rebecca: You know, when I think Village, I think coalescing around a shared goal. I know I say that a lot but a village is disparate people with disparate ideas coming together to have a shared win, coming together to provide support, to provide business, to provide all of those things that we need every day. Sometimes we need a friend, sometimes we need a champion, sometimes we need someone to challenge us. Sometimes we just need that leg up to help us grow and thrive. And I actually stole the concept of Village, I’ll be very honest. When I first got to Quorum, I was casting about for some sort of idea, what is that thing that brings us all together, even if we don’t always agree or we’re obviously not all the same.

And at Pride, there’s a Quorum Village and it was, you know, where, where all the small businesses are and all of that. And I started using it, and I know it resonated with people because within six months it was getting reflected back to me as people were talking about the Quorum Village and how we are growing together and how we’re excited to grow together, and how we’re excited to learn from each other. And so I know it’s a win because people now talk about Quorum as a village themselves, without me leading that conversation.

Justin: So what do you, in this village, what other challenges are you tackling right now? Or what are you running into that is maybe a barrier or is a challenge to you personally and to the organization?

Rebecca: You know, I think, I think some of our biggest challenges right now are burnout. And the pandemic is over, but it’s not over. I always knew that this quarter and the next quarter are the hardest because the businesses are, they’re burned out. There’s a lack of resources. There’s a, you know, the great resignation. People are heading off to different places. So there’s those kind of challenges. But also at a, at a very real level, one of our biggest challenges is how to respond to Minnesota being a refuge state. So we want Minnesota to be a place where you work, thrive and grow, right? And we’re actually putting up a webpage on our website so that people moving here from other states because, you know, their trans kids are unsafe, or their state just passed a law saying that they can’t get healthcare and they can’t get the medications they need.

Move to Minnesota, come here, we are open for business, right? And we wanna make sure that this, this is one of those challenges that, or one of those opportunities, that we have to figure out where the real opportunity is and how do we maximize that opportunity as opposed to just saying, okay, yay, let’s come to Minnesota. We wanna make sure you find jobs and you find housing, and that you have all the tools you need to have the best setup possible. And so that is a challenge. How do you move your business here, right? How do you, what is it gonna take? And so some of it’s education, some of it, we know that people are already moving here. We’re working with all the other LGBTQ+ organizations to really figure out a path, a shared path. And it’s really that village model. We want people to be safe. We want people to move here and, and feel good about moving here.

Justin: So in our Wake Up to Quorum last week, we were all sort of bringing in ideas of how to add to that webpage. I would ask anyone listening right now, if there’s a resource, a tool, a person, anything that we can add to that website, please reach out to Rebecca and have that conversation.

Rebecca: 100%, because it’s not gonna be, I mean, it’s not a static page. It’s a growing, evolving page, and it’s a growing, evolving conversation. So we’re having difficult conversations sometimes about trans identities and inclusion and what does that look like when we are expanding the ideas of who we’re including and who we’re not including, and how do we, you know, and then people of color and trans identities and overlaps and intersectional identities. We’re really starting to have these conversations in some very new ways. And I think that it’s gonna transform the business community, which transforms Main Street, which transforms families everywhere. And, you know, it’s that whole ecosystem of change.

Justin: So, there’s a lot that I wanna unpack there. The difficult conversations. Where do they start? How do you, how do you identify and how do you get into a conversation to turn it around or to deepen that relationship or deepen an understanding?

Rebecca: Well, you know, I’ll give you an example of something called Square One conversations that we have. And this started once again after the murder of George Floyd. And I had a friend who had left something just up on his page about whether or not people should be out after curfew, right? Like it was really right after, and just left it up and it became a dumpster fire. And I had people say, you know, you need to go talk to him. And did I wanna talk to him? No, I did not wanna talk to this person at all. I did not wanna have a difficult conversation, but I also knew that it was important because you have to have these conversations with honesty and transparency. And so I sat with him on a zoom, and I was out on my front porch, and I talked him through what it meant, right?

And, we talked through impact versus intention. We talked through all these things, and he finally said, okay, I’ll just take it down. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no. You’ll actually leave a void, which will just replicate what’s actually happening. And so I helped move him through writing this statement. And we went sentence by sentence. And part of the difficult conversations is that you’re building trust. You’re calling in, not calling out. We live in a world where, you know, people get canceled all the time and you’re like, oh, yay, it’s like the Olympics, you know, get out. But that doesn’t actually create a lot of change sometimes. So we really talk about calling in, we wanna help support your behavior change. And we have to do that through honesty and transparency.

Because if we’re not honest with ourselves and our own biases, and we’re not transparent about those, then we’re just, what, teaching somebody something that’s actually not real. So yeah, so it’s the call in, it’s the honesty, the transparency, and it’s courage, right? It’s knowing that what you’re gonna say is gonna change someone’s life and it’s gonna change how they move through the world, ideally. And if it doesn’t, then you know, you’ve done your best. But you have to try, because if we’re not, who else is gonna have these conversations, right? You know, and it doesn’t take like, you know, weird amounts of courage. It just is like, no, we have to do this because I am an ally to a community that’s different than my own, for example, right? I’m a white woman in South Minneapolis, and that this was a conversation that was based in race and it needed to be done. And I wanted to make sure that conversation was one of the hardest I’ve ever had. But, it was important. And it was more than about me. So, and that’s how you show up as an ally.

Justin: You talked about calling in. Can you describe what that means to you?

Rebecca: Yeah, so it’s really easy to call somebody out and to say, you were the worst. You’ve done this bad thing, you’re dead to me, right? I grew up in the south and very dramatic. But calling in is actually a very different concept. Calling in means I want you, I wanna be on this journey with you. I will walk the walk with you, I will talk the talk with you. I will be that person that helps you change your mindset. I will be that person that helps you to grow, in using any of my tools. And I’ll make sure that you’re not alone on the journey. Because sometimes learning new things, especially in this sort of, you know, intersectional world that we live in, sometimes those can be the scariest things we can learn. Everybody can learn math, but sometimes it takes somebody to walk with you in the village to actually move the needle. Does that make sense?

Justin: Phrasing this all beautifully. I just heard listening skills. How do you listen so well, or what have you learned in listening that our listeners, our viewers, could take from your insights?

Rebecca: I think that the first thing is a sense of curiosity and a sense of the idea that the person you are listening to. So I did spend 20 years in crisis services, so I spent a lot of time listening to people on their worst day of their life, right? Or their worst period of their life. Recognizing that people are in charge of their own lives and have the insight to as long as they have a space to tell their story. And sometimes it’s that space. It has to start with me being attentive, me looking at you and hearing you and reflecting your words back, not waiting to talk, right? And waiting to give my brilliant ideas, cuz you know, I have a lot of brilliant ideas, but it’s listening with that sense of curiosity and really figuring out those places where you can provide support and gentle challenge and that growth mindset.

Justin: And unbiased.

Rebecca: Unbiased, right?

Justin: Everything you’re just talking about is listening to understand that person, the people, what’s across the table from you or wherever, and listening carefully.

Rebecca: Right?

Justin: Truly. Trust. How do you build trust in, like, go back to that Facebook post and how you really spent time with that individual to take time with words cuz words are important and mean so much. And how did you build trust in that individual?

Rebecca: Trust is something that’s earned. It is something that is a result of, it’s not an automatic. Trust is, you know, I think for me, when you are actively listening, when you are reflecting back to someone this new state of being for them, and you’re doing it in a gentle way. So there’s ways of when we, going back to the calling in versus calling out, there’s a sense of gentleness with it in that you – It’s really easy to get really mad and just say those horrible things that are just right there on the tip of your tongue and shut the conversation down, right? And sometimes it’s naming trust and saying, Hey, I know you don’t necessarily trust me.

You don’t know me at this level. And just naming it and being honest and transparent about it. But say, look, my, you know, my goal in this is to help you thrive and to help you grow. And these are the things that I’m not gonna do. I’m not gonna call you names. I’m not going to say really bad things to you. I am not going to do that because that’s not gonna help us get where we really actually want to go. Which is a different world, right? And a different mindset.

Justin: You are a beautiful, authentic leader by hearing all of this in these words. It’s so great to hear. As a wife, a mother, what do you do for fun? What do you, how do you spend time away and recharge?

Rebecca: So my wife had a 50, you know, a midlife crisis. And instead of buying a car, bought a camper. And so we, we take it out into the world, and I have learned how to cook on a stove on a, you know, on a gas little stove. And we’ll just take it wherever we want. We take it to concerts. I love going to concerts and, you know, live music and that kind of thing. I like to buy plants and pretend I’m gonna put ’em in the ground and keep ’em alive. And I don’t <laugh>, you know, it’s springtime. I know that that urge is coming to buy more plants. And of course, my backyard is littered with dead plants.

I wanna grow the perfect rose. I’m a photographer. I think that it’s really, really, really important – and this is something that I constantly forget – I think this is the thing, this is my worst habit, is forgetting how to carve out space that is just downtime and rest time and recharge time. So, you know, during the pandemic I discovered charcuterie boards, and now my friends are bringing me all of these charcuterie boards and I now have like, multi-layer, like I have satellite boards, I can cover my entire dining table with them. And it’s just, I think you know, food is my love language. And so I, you know, I wanna make sure that people are well fed. And I think if I wasn’t doing this, that I would, I don’t know, open a restaurant or a food truck or something.

Justin: Well, I think you’re feeding our community as well by doing all the things that you’re doing. I love growing plants, so I’d love to help you in your backyard. I’ll trade you some charcuterie boards for some green thumbing.

Rebecca: I only grow tomatoes

Justin: Excellent.

Rebecca: That’s the only thing I can!

Justin: Did you know if they’re actually a weed, tomatoes?

Rebecca: Then that makes perfect sense.

Justin: What’s your favorite concert that you’ve been to with your camper recently?

Rebecca: Well, not with my camper, but we did, some friends and I and Kay, my wife, we took the train to Chicago to see Dead and Company at Riverfield. And it was amazing. I spent some time following the Dead in my college days. And so it was just a great reboot. We’re going in September to Maryland, something on a deck, on a boardwalk something. And it’s like three days of this most amazing concert. And I am very much looking forward to it. And I, I have the name on the tip of my tongue, but it’s, we saw it. And the same friends, Connie and Bridget, this were the same friends, were like, we’re gonna do this. And Kay and I were like, yes, we’re gonna do this. And so it’s right before the National Coming Out luncheon. So that doesn’t cause me any stress at all, but we’re just gonna go. And it’s just the lineups. It’s a three day lineup. And it reminds me of jazz fest in New Orleans from years and years ago, where it’s just nonstop amazement.

Justin: Bring your camera this time.

Rebecca: I’m bringing my camera this time. Yes.

Justin: What do you crave the most at the end of the day?

Rebecca: Other than a Stoli martini with extra dry, with three olives? I crave family, so I crave, so one, food is not my only love language, but I crave respite and I live a life that’s very go, go go. And sometimes I’m kind of not nice about it when I say I need like, respite. Cuz you know, but I love those moments where you sink in and you sink into your life and you sink into comfort and you sink into what, you know, whatever it is that you’re gonna do that night. I come from a very big family. Family. It’s very important to me. And, and my wife, you know, she’s very much a homebody. And so I’m like, okay, well I’m not a homebody, but she is. And so, you know, that’s what I crave at the end of the day.

Justin: So you just went to New York City a couple weeks ago, or a weekend ago. I see you as a go-getter, nonstop. Is that also a place of rest for you? And sort of recharge?

Rebecca: Yeah, so we were in New York because my sister-in-law turned 50 and we were surprising her for her birthday, right? And my sister, who I had been traveling back and forth to Arkansas a couple years ago, had battled breast cancer. She’s fine now, but this was gonna be her first trip out of Arkansas in 10 years without her kids. And so I was like, there’s no way I can miss it, and we’re just gonna work around it, right? And, it was amazing. We got there and you know, I was on a 5:30 flight in the morning, cuz that was the only way I could make the whole time work

Justin: Clearly.

Rebecca: And, you know, and that sort of family recharge, my brother is amazing. Raka’s amazing. Sarah’s amazing, right? Like, and it was just this opportunity to connect and reconnect and just laugh and tell horrible jokes and just be weirdos together, right?

Justin: And just live, that’s a recharge. That is a total recharge, definitely. That’s energy. How do you trust your gut instincts?

Rebecca: Yes, even sometimes when people tell me I shouldn’t. Because I’ve learned that I might not always be right, but I’m usually on the right track. And so it’s not like, oh yeah, you know, I’ll pick the lottery. My gut tells me these five numbers are gonna win the lottery. It doesn’t quite work that way. But when my gut tells me to do something I need to check into it because my gut is sort of a totality of my lived experiences, and I have to trust myself first because I can’t trust others if I don’t trust myself. And trusting my gut means I’m trusting myself and saying, okay, wait, something’s happened.

Justin: Yep. So what’s your best habit, Rebecca?

Rebecca: I have so many bad ones. My best habit I think is – I don’t know. I really, my best habit is, you know, cause every time I think of a habit I’m like, Ooh, I broke that habit. <Laugh>, you know, I think it’s just consistency. Even, I guess my best habit is consistency in that I’m consistently breaking habits or consistently,

Justin: I’d say passion. I think you’ve got a lot of passion. 

Rebecca: I think my best habit is curiosity.

Justin: Love it. You keep talking about all your bad habits. So what’s your worst habit then? 

Rebecca: Well, I’m a smoker and I’m trying to like, you know, get over that and I quit smoking every  few years and then it comes back like a bad habit. And I, you know, I think I love online shopping but for weird things. Like, I have this little thing that you can clean your rug with, and it’s like this little thing that’s like this big, and I buy stuff like that. I buy weird rocks for Kay. Like, does she need more rocks? No, But it’s a bad habit of just buying her rocks. I know, it’s weird.

Justin: Where do you see Quorum having the most impact in the next few years?

Rebecca: I think in the supplier diversity space, so this is something that affects every single LGBTQ+ small business that there is. There’s an opportunity for growth that is unprecedented right now. And especially around business development and helping businesses that wanna scale, move to that next level. And supplier diversity space also impacts our corporate partners as well as our nonprofit partners. I think the second thing is going to be around staffing and getting employees into the state of Minnesota that have the skills that they need. We have a lot of jobs that need to be filled right now, and I know that there’s, if it can be done, an LGBTQ+ person can do it or an ally can do it. So let’s make that happen. So those are the two big challenges for us.

Justin: Before we went live, Rebecca and I were talking, so I was just out in New York City seeing friends and family, and she was out there the week prior, and I got hit with allergies the minute I got there, and she’s like, I did too. So there’s an amazing probably spring bloom happening in New York City, so beware everyone. Let’s see. I don’t see any other questions right now. Janice is certainly cheering us on. And Amy. Yes, Janice, trust your gut. I think trusting your gut is, is, is believing in yourself and trusting yourself and our minds and bodies are very powerful. So follow, follow that, that intuition, follow that, that gut. I’m going to wrap us up right now. Rebecca whoops. Hang on. I just missed one. This is actually coming from someone on my team. Do you have any key partnerships that you see will help build your village in the future? And then second is, where is the biggest opportunity for businesses to partner with you?

Rebecca: Oh, I love this. I could talk about these all day. So this, exactly, this moment right now is a great example of a key partnership that will build the village, right? This is doing things like this, getting the word out, being that trusted partner to work for the change, and to grow for the change is key. We can’t do this work by ourselves. So one of the other ways that I look at these questions is as the allies in our world, how can allies support us? How can, you know, what can be done to move the needle? And I think the biggest opportunity for businesses to partner with us is to share their knowledge and expertise. But we, my, like I said, my background is not in business.

I know how to train people. I know how to help them grow and thrive. And over time, I’ve learned it in ways that are sort of building the bicycle as we’re riding it. But I think that there are lots of opportunities for people to share their knowledge, right? And share experience. And, we can’t do it by ourselves. There’s no way that Quorum can do this alone. That the LGBTQ+ business community can do it alone without allies. We just don’t have the bandwidth and we don’t have the numbers. And so we need our allies to help to stand with us and, and, and, you know, make the changes that, you know, in their workplaces and help. We can come in and help you do that. Sometimes our biggest opportunities are being invited in to be part of that change.

Justin: That’s the definition of community. We’re all stronger together. We’re working together. We’re sharing our expertise and yeah. Everything we have to offer. So Rebecca, thank you. Thank you so much for all that you’re doing and leading our village and thank you for everything at the Hill. Nicole, if you could pop up Quorum’s website, that would be very helpful for anyone watching this right now that they can connect and any of you right now or watching this post live, you can connect with Rebecca and I really urge you to do that. And ask her how you can help and if there’s resources, anything you can do to offer, she would love to have a conversation with you. 

Rebecca: Yes. Serious conversation. 

Justin: It does take a village, right Rebecca?

Rebecca: It does take a village. Thank you so much for having me. This has been amazing. I love this. I love this.

Justin: I hope everyone, you walked away with some insights and ideas and ways to help and also have those conversations. And it’s really just opening your voice and, and starting that conversation is usually the hardest part. And then continuing that dialogue and continuing that conversation. So I urge you to have those conversations. Thank you for attending. Our next live event will be with B Kyle, who is the Executive Director at Saint Paul Chamber and an ally of Quorum. She spoke at Quorum about a year ago, and we will be interviewing her on May 10th at 12:00 PM Central Standard time right here on LinkedIn Live. 

Rebecca: That’s amazing. She is amazing.

Justin: She is. So thank you, everybody. Have a great, fabulous day. Thank you, Rebecca.

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