The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is bringing their annual International Business and Leadership Conference to South Florida this year. The 2015 conference will be held at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa (3030 Holiday Dr.) from August 11-14. The NGLCC conference is the largest business development event geared toward LGBT audiences in the world. Over 800 LGBT and allied businessmen and women from around the world will attend the four-day event.

The events begin on Tuesday, August 11 with registration at 8 a.m. Participation in the weekend costs as low as $549 per person and needs to be paid in advance by August 7. Go to nglcc.org/nglcc15 to reserve your spot. Tuesday events include events for volunteer boards of directors affiliated with gay and lesbian chambers of commerce, legal teams affiliated with these chambers, and how small businesses benefit from connecting with their local gay and lesbian chamber of commerce. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce will host a welcome reception at 6 p.m. at the Gallery of Amazing Things (481 S. Federal Hwy., Dania Beach). Transportation to and from the hotel will be provided.

Wednesday begins with events for supplier diversity representatives at 7 a.m. and a plenary session about personal branding and its advantages at 9 a.m. Sally Hogshead, branding expert and New York Times bestselling author, will lead the 9 a.m. session and talk. From 10:45 to NGLCC_copy1noon, there will be a number of breakout sessions, such as the importance of keeping millenial workers in your workplace, as well as how to leverage LGBT demographics in order to identify growth opportunities. A second plenary session will begin at 12:15 p.m., featuring MSNBC’s financial analyst Suze Orman. Suze is one of the most trusted financial advisers in mass media today, and the advice she gives during this talk may help your business and your city’s chamber of commerce. Small business breakout sessions make up the remainder of the afternoon, featuring topics such as marketing on a budget, transgender health care equity, competitive branding, and small business administrative resources.

Thursday’s morning plenary, beginning at 9 a.m., is a spotlight on achievement and is sponsored by Southwest Airlines. The annual Chamber Excellence Awards will be given out, and recently-certified LGBT business entrepreneurs will be honored as well. Also, $50,000 in grants will be given out to NGLCC affiliates to help strengthen their programs. Shortly afterwards, at 10:30 a.m., there will be a marketplace expo for all of the NGLCC affiliates and businesses to present themselves to like-minded individuals for the purposes of networking and possible business partnerships. At 12:30 p.m., there will be a lunchtime plenary called “Equality Across Borders.” You will hear about international companies and how they have expanded their LGBT inclusion policies overseas. Speakers include Justin Nelson, NGLCC president and co-founder, Carlos Bruce, congressman of the Republic of Peru, and Chris Crespo, inclusiveness director at Ernst & Young.

Thursday ends with a very important plenary at 4 p.m., called “What’s Next After Marriage Equality?” Well-known journalists and businessmen discuss what is next for the LGBT rights movement now that we have achieved marriage equality nationwide. Jonathan Lovitz, DirectorNGLCC_copy of the NGLCC in New York City, will be the moderator. Panelists include CNN anchor Richard Quest, Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, and LGBT issues correspondent Steve Rothaus of The Miami Herald.

The final day of the conference, Friday, August 14, will host multiple breakout sessions in the morning, such as “driving economic growth through tourism,” advancing workplace inclusion by empowering LGBT allies, and doubling down on delivering great customer service by “delivering customer experience.” The lunchtime plenary is an LGBT business pitch competition. Three randomly selected businesses will be allowed to pitch themselves and their businesses for 15 minutes in front of venture capitalists and angel investors. The best pitch will win a cash prize, and all three businessmen will get the chance to connect with investors after the competition is over.

The host hotel for the conference is the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. All of the week’s events will be held here. While the hotel is now solidly booked for that week, the B Ocean Resort is less than five minutes away and organizers recommend that you book your room with them if you haven't yet. You can do so online by going to boceanfortlauderdale.com.

For more information on 2015’s NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference, go to their website at nglcc.org/nglcc15.