For my first co-op term, I chose to do a self-designed co-op at the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The focus of NGLCC is to get small LGBTQ+ owned businesses (LGBT Business Enterprises, LGBTBE’s for short) certified with NGLCC, opening the door for opportunities with larger corporations down the line. During my time with them I’ve learned a ton about the interminglings of the organization and about the dynamic between my co-workers, the LGBTBE’s we represent, and the corporations that partner with us. Some of our partners include Altria, a tobacco lobbying firm, Boeing, the NBA, the MLB, and almost any big bank you can name. As a corporate partner, corporations get constant press from NGLCC and also get stickers and banners to put on their web page and office space letting everyone know how LGBT-friendly they are. Any corporation has to have a 50 percent or greater Corporate Equality Index score from the Human Rights Campaign, a yearly score published to reflect a corporations policies, donations, and other factors pertaining to equality within their workplace and their suppliers. This is then evaluated and scored.
As far as the work I do is concerned, it’s kind of the seen but not heard work. I alter and update spreadsheets for meetings, write up proposals, find new services for us to use, update online resources, and do some work that keeps the organization organized and up to date. As the Corporate Relations and Supplier Diversity Intern, the two departments of Corporate Relations and Supplier Diversity often have the same information in different places or the same spreadsheets but one isn’t as updated as the other, so my job is mainly to coordinate those sheets and make sure everyone is on the same page. It seems minimal sometimes, but occasionally one of my supervisors will tell me that I’m making their lives easier and that I’m doing good work, so that makes me proud.
Overall, my co-op has been extremely helpful as I have learned much about myself, my interests, my abilities, and my drive.