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    Golden Gate Business Association: Letter from Leadership, Member Spotlight and More!




    GGBA Letter from Leadership: A Call for Board Development

    By Dr. Krystal Drwencke–

    Serving on the Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) Board has opened my eyes in many ways: from being new to San Francisco four years ago, to finding my mentorship tribe, and to opening my own business in 2018. I found the utopia that is love, acceptance and celebration of each other for the individuals we are. I also had my eyes opened to the depth of social injustice still woven into the fabric of society’s business practices and social communities.

    As a body, the GGBA, founded in 1974 and the world’s first LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, advocates for the Bay Area LGBTQ+ business community, understanding that what we do serves as an example for other chambers around the country and world. We engage and support other minority and allied institutions to ensure that we remain a relevant, diverse and forward-thinking organization.

    As a board, we are proud to say that we are comprised of individuals who identify as L, G, B, T, Q and A. The role of a board member is to engage with our membership, identify member needs and assist with programming and networking solutions, and to help raise funds to continue our mission of Advocacy, Education and Opportunity.

    The GGBA is seeking Bay Area professionals of all genders and sexual identities to join its board of directors. We seek those who:

    • enjoy problem solving in a fun, collaborative and respectful environment;
    • have business expertise, either as a small business owner, aspiring entrepreneur, in corporate or within a nonprofit;
    • want to make a positive difference.

    If you or someone you know is interested in joining, we encourage you to contact us at

    We are truly stronger together.

    Dr. Krystal Drwencke is the Vice President and Membership Chair of the Golden Gate Business Association. She is also a sole proprietor. To learn more about her business Ascent Sports Chiropractic:




    Lonnie Coplen and Widney Brown of ARC Alternative & Renewable Construction

    By Magdalena Rodriguez–

    For Americans to dramatically reduce per capita carbon footprints, a radical rethinking of the systems and gadgets that we use in our homes and on our campuses will revolutionize our economy, create jobs and provide local control. Among its many services, ARC Alternative & Renewable Construction offers low cost/low carbon alternatives that improve comfort, performance and control. I recently caught up with Lonnie Coplen, ARC Founder and President, who runs the company with Founder and Executive Vice President Widney Brown, to learn more about their work.

    Magdalena Rodriguez: Describe your business and its mission and values.

    Lonnie Coplen: ARC is an infrastructure program management and implementation company founded by two women, Widney Brown and myself, who have wide-ranging experience in infrastructure applications and development. ARC’s mission is to enable fundamental and equitable access and opportunity for all by deploying “independence technologies” deliberately at two scales: the local scale, and the infrastructure network scale.

    ARC explores and embraces infrastructure development that delivers services faster and cheaper to more people in a more ecologically respectful manner. Examples include distributed energy networks that are locally and regionally deployed using design-build delivery, integrated project delivery and agile management strategies.

    We believe that technology must be deployed in ways that empower individuals, families and communities. The way in which projects are organized and implemented makes a difference: Team compositions that leverage diverse perspectives and expressions will yield more resilient solutions, and management that favors both collaboration and accountability will yield greater innovation and productivity.

    Magdalena Rodriguez: Why did you decide to create your business?

    Lonnie Coplen: Both of us have worked in a variety of positions and companies. We felt like we were ready to build a company that was outcome-driven and based on best practices, with inclusive and innovative management practices. 

    Magdalena Rodriguez: Do you have any specific policies in place that benefit the LGBT community?

    Lonnie Coplen: We actively provide opportunities to people who may be overlooked because of some element of their identity, including sexual orientation or gender identity. 

    Magdalena Rodriguez: Why did you decide to join the GGBA?

    Lonnie Coplen: GGBA is a terrific organization for networking with like-minded professionals. 

    Magdalena Rodriguez: How has the GGBA helped your business so far?

    Lonnie Coplen: GGBA has provided significant exposure and highlighted our profile in positive ways. We are also specifically pleased that GGBA gave us the opportunity to work with Gina Grahame (empowerment speaker, corporate trainer) to strengthen our presentation skills.

    Magdalena Rodriguez: What has been your biggest reward and satisfaction during your journey as an entrepreneur? 

    Lonnie Coplen: We delight in being able to offer opportunities for people to work on truly groundbreaking projects. 

    Magdalena Rodriguez: What was your biggest disappointment and/or nerve-racking situation?

    Lonnie Coplen: Biggest challenge: waiting for the sweat equity to turn into actual equity. 

    Magdalena Rodriguez: What is the most important lesson that you have learned, being an entrepreneur? 

    Lonnie Coplen: The greatest lesson has been the value of effective communication—with colleagues, clients, partners and others. Learning how to talk and listen effectively is ongoing and everlasting. 

    Magdalena Rodriguez: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of starting their own business?

    Lonnie Coplen: Be very deliberate taking care of yourself. Don’t wait. 

    For more information:

    Magdalena Rodriguez is the Co-founder and Director of GPSGAY Inc. mobile app and website—available in Spanish, English and Portuguese—for the LGBTQ community, 


    Learn About LGBT Owned Business Certification

    Did you know that more than 160 corporations, including Wells Fargo, PG&E, Facebook and BART, now recognize certified LGBT owned businesses as part of their diverse and inclusive supply chains? With a membership tailored to Bay Area LGBT business owners, the GGBA has guided nearly 100 members to national certification as an NGLCC LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE)—making San Francisco the home to the second largest number of LGBTBE’s in the country!

    The GGBA works in partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to bring to its members the opportunity to get their businesses certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise. NGLCC is the exclusive third-party organization for the LGBT Business Enterprises certification.

    Does your business meet the following criteria?

    • Majority (at least 51%) owned, operated, managed, and controlled by an LGBT person or persons who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents;
    • Exercises independence from any non-LGBT business enterprise;
    • Has its principal place of business (headquarters) in the U.S.;
    • Has been formed as a legal business entity in the U.S.

    In 2018, the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index began to require that companies make efforts to include LGBTBEs in their supply chains in order to receive a score of 100. Your company can benefit from this and other opportunities. For more information and to get certified:





    June Make Contact
    Tuesday, June 18
    5:30 pm–7:30 pm
    Goorin Brothers
    1612 Stockton Street
    San Francisco
    GGBA members and SFCDMA members: FREE
    Non-members: $25

    Wealth Management for Same-Sex Couples
    Thursday, June 20
    5 pm–7 pm
    555 California Street, 44th Floor
    San Francisco
    Free Admission