CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – The Iowa LBGTQ Chamber of Commerce is a new organization working to grow in eastern Iowa.
The goal is to provide Iowa businesses with state and national connections and educational opportunities.
Selenthia Jeffers and Barb Hanson of Cedar Rapids founded Shared Existence in 2022, as a resource to help people and businesses create inclusive cultures.
”It’s all about really getting to a place where instead of being judgmental or making assumptions or stereotyping,” Jeffers said. “It’s really doing that inner work. “
While looking for ways to advance their mission earlier this year, they connected with Iowa’s newly formed LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce.
They say it’s been an invaluable resource.
”We are now aware of organizations that not only can we potentially partner with but also places that are safe for us to go into,” Hanson said.
Board Chair Dan Jansen said networking is one of the biggest benefits the chamber offers.
It has 46 members across the state after launching in October.
It also helps businesses like Shared Existence earn special designations that can open doors to bigger clients.
Jeffers and Hanson said they’re looking forward to paying back the support they’ve gotten.
”We have a platform. Let’s see how we can continue to make strides to help the little ones that are coming up and other people in our community,” Jeffers said.
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