November 11, 2009
In the summer of 2009, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Career Services and the Johnson Family Foundation sponsored one student to attend American University and intern with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) in Washington, D.C. The offices reviewed many applications and offered Amy Testa '10 the Washington Semester Program opportunity.
The NGLCC is an “organization committed to forming a broad-based coalition, representative of the various interests of LGBT-owned and friendly businesses, professionals, and students of business for the purpose of promoting economic growth and the prosperity of its members.” It aims to provide support and up-to-date information on legislation to LGBT business owners and affiliates. It also oversees the Supplier Diversity Initiative (SDI), a program that provides the only LGBT certification to businesses, and allows for LGBT-owned business enterprises to obtain connections through SDI with corporate sponsors such as IMB and Wells Fargo. Testa and several other interns worked with the NGLCC and SDI to promote LGBT business owners who are successful entrepreneurs and are involved in the LGBT community. The winner attends the NGLCC national dinner and earns a $5,000 grant to help support their business. Interns worked feverishly to increase awareness of the award by placing ads in newsletters and magazines across the nation and affiliate Web sites. Testa also spent countless hours contacting NGLCC members and affiliates to encourage them to apply.
During her time in D.C., Testa also attended the pride festival to gather support for a letter to Nancy Pelosi that ensures equal healthcare support for life partners, and the New Employment Non-Discrimination act sponsored by Congressman Barney Frank and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.
Testa said her summer was a wonderful “accidental learning” experience. She refers to her experience as accidental because the things she learned most about were the things she pursued while at work, in between projects or on her own. One of the most important things she learned from her experience was her stay in Washington, D.C.; her involvement allowed her to see the many opportunities the city offers students. Testa believes she spent her summer wisely by attending the Washington Semester Program.
She is currently an active member of Spectrum, Rollins’ LGBTQQI organization, recently attended the Come Out with Pride parade in downtown Orlando, is currently working with the ACLU on gay adoption rights and is working with Spectrum and SafeZone to plan a storytelling-themed dinner.
“Going to DC was one of amazing experiences that Rollins has provided me. Working with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce gave me new insight into how business and advocacy can work hand in hand. I hope to use my new skills while working with the ALCU this year on their Gay Adoption Campaign,” said Testa.
Testa’s program was sponsored by the Office of Career Services, Office of Multicultural Affairs and the generous donations of the Johnson Family Foundation.