Press release RO23-12

Readout on LGBTQI+ Leaders Roundtable

SBA Administrator Guzman participated in an LGBTQI+ Leaders Roundtable to discuss challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, June 13, 2023, Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman joined the Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Congressman, Chris Pappas (NH-01), and Justin Nelson, the Co-Founder and President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, along with several entrepreneurs and leaders of local and regional LGBT chambers of commerce for a roundtable discussion on LGBTQI+ entrepreneurship.  

Administrator Guzman discussed ways for the SBA to build upon its support and commitment to the LGBTQI+ community, as well as the challenges business owners in those communities have historically faced, such as access to capital and discrimination, which is particularly prevalent in the wake of the over 600 anti-LGBTQI+ bills introduced in state legislatures this year. In addition, participants discussed ways to leverage the SBA’s 7(a) loan program and federal contracting opportunities presented by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. 

This conversation followed recent commitments from the Biden-Harris Administration in support of LGBTQI+ Americans, including launching a new LGBTQI+ Community Safety Partnership, which protects LGBTQI+ communities from attacks on their rights and safety. In December 2022, President Biden signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act, providing same-sex couples with the legal benefits of marriage and equal treatment under the law and releasing the first-ever Federal Evidence Agenda on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Equity, which guides federal agencies on data collection to improve the lives of LGBTQI+ Americans.  

For follow-up interview requests for Administrator Guzman, please contact Mila Myles at

Participants included:

Amanda Cole, Executive Director, Plexus 

  • Kevin Heard, Board President, Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber of Commerce 
  • Morgan Jameson, CEO, Equality Chamber of Commerce | Metro DC Area 
  • Sabrina Kent, Executive Vice President of Programs & External Affairs, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce 
  • Sammi Kerley, Director, Small Business for America's Future 
  • Chris Lugo, Executive Director, Out Georgia Business Alliance 
  • Kellie Parkin, Executive Director, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce New York 
  • Jason Rae, Vice President, Affiliate Relations; Wisconsin: President & CEO, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce & Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce 
  • AJ (Abdul-Jabbar) Shaikh, Board Chair, Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce 
  • Tammi Wallace, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce 
  • Suzanne Wheeler, Executive Director, Mid-America 
  • Zach Wilcha, CEO, Independence Business Alliance 



About the U.S. Small Business Administration 

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit