3 Tips for Corporate Partners to Showcase Their True Support of Underrepresented Communities

In the pursuit of diversity and inclusion, it is crucial for corporate partners to move beyond simply performative marketing gestures and avoid falling into the trap of activities, such as "rainbow washing” during LGBTQ+ Pride Month, for instance.

True allyship requires a genuine commitment to supporting underrepresented and minority communities throughout the entirety of the year, rather than limiting efforts to designated months or events, such as Black History, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage, Hispanic Heritage, or Women’s History months.

Here are three essential tips for corporate partners to authentically showcase their support for minority-founded brands, such as ours.

Embrace Visible Representation:

To truly demonstrate support and true allyship, companies must ensure that their actions go beyond symbolic gestures. One of the critical aspects of true allyship is providing more visibility to minority-owned brands, such as those founded by members of the LGBTQ+ or BIPOC communities. It starts by avoiding relegating support to a mere footer at the bottom of the
website labeled "supplier diversity" or an end-cap in a retail store during a particular month. Instead, corporate partners should give prominence to these brands, showcasing and integrating them throughout their online platforms, brick-and-mortar shops, and marketing materials.

Moreover, it is important to move beyond tokenism in consumer-facing content. Rather than featuring only black, Latino, or Asian models as placeholders, companies should strive for authentic representation. By featuring real employees who can speak on video platforms like
YouTube, companies create a more genuine connection with their audience and showcase the diverse voices within their organization.

Foster True Diversity in Leadership:

Genuine support for underrepresented groups, including the LGBTQ+ community, requires fostering true diversity within the organization's leadership and decision-making positions. It is disingenuous to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion while the decision-makers and stakeholders lack firsthand experience or understanding of the challenges faced by marginalized communities.

Corporate partners should actively seek out and hire individuals from diverse backgrounds, including LGBTQ+ individuals, People of Color, and women, to ensure that different perspectives are represented at all levels. This includes creating a board of directors and a workforce that truly reflects the goal of inclusion and diversity. By embracing diversity in race,
gender, and experiences, companies can demonstrate their commitment to empowering representation and effectively contribute to positive change.

Engage with LGBTQ+ Organizations:

To solidify their support for the LGBTQ+ community, for example, corporate partners should actively engage with LGBTQ+ organizations and initiatives. This involves partnering with reputable organizations such as LGBTQ+ chambers of commerce like the NGLCC, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups such as GLAAD. By forging these connections, companies
can gain insights, foster collaborations, and amplify the impact of their support for minority- founded LGBTQ+ brands.

In addition to financial contributions, corporate partners should actively participate in activities that promote the rights, awareness, and education of the communities they support. This includes events, campaigns, and initiatives that go beyond surface-level gestures and demonstrate a sincere commitment to making a difference.

True support and allyship for minority communities, including the LGBTQ+ community, require consistent action throughout the year. Corporate partners must move beyond "rainbow washing" and embrace genuine efforts to foster inclusivity and support. By embracing visible representation, fostering true diversity in leadership, and actively engaging with advocacy organizations, companies can authentically showcase their commitment to the community and effectively contribute to positive change. Let us remember that true allyship involves ongoing dedication, investment, and a genuine desire to create a more inclusive world for all.

Corporate sales partners should think of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a product they are about to launch and give it the same marketing and visibility they would to a product campaign. Keep it at the forefront of what they do and their core beliefs and mission. So often the intent is there but the resources to further the cause are not. These partners should not put profit before people.

Partnering with national organizations to help develop diverse supplier relationships is another way to empower representation. These include the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber
of Commerce, National Veteran Owned Business Association, National Veteran Business Development Center, and Disability: IN. Through actions and partnerships, we strive to create a more inclusive world, where diversity is
celebrated, and everyone has equal opportunities to thrive.

By embracing these tips and principles, corporate partners can showcase their true support and make a meaningful impact on the lives of marginalized communities. Let us create a world where diversity and equality flourish and true allyship prevails.