October 21, 2010 | by Garrett Peck J. Max Barger Ernesto Santalla
Gay attorney gives back to community

Though most of his clients are straight, a local gay attorney believes LGBT rights issues are central to his firm’s mission, a passion that has also inspired to be involved in activist groups.

“Success is a good thing — we should all embrace it,” says Glen Ackerman, founder of Ackerman Legal PLCC. Formed in 2008, the law practice has expanded into a six-person firm.

The first Gay Chamber event Ackerman attended was the 2008 Economic Summit, sponsored by the Mayor’s Office for GLBT Affairs. Ackerman recalls that in his remarks, then-president Joe Kapp, “spoke about the power of owning your own business, being your own boss, owning your own home. It struck a chord when, looking at the faces around the room, these were minority people who could be fired in Virginia. These are people taking control of their destiny, and taking risks.”

Ackerman soon joined.

He’s received a number of business opportunities by being a Chamber member. He serves as general counsel for Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, which publishes Washington Blade. After participating in last year’ s Economic Summit, Ackerman was solicited for legal advice about forming a business. This directly led to a $2 million business deal that is pending closure. Ackerman brought in a number of Chamber members — bankers, accountants, attorneys — to help with the complex deal.

He is most proud of serving on a number of boards that support the LGBT community. He is co-president of GAYLAW, a member of the board of the Mautner Project, and serves on Point Foundation’s National Board of Regents. Ackerman is also the benefactor of the Ackerman-Gemette Scholarship Fund. “It’s the board work that I find so rewarding,” Ackerman says.

Ackerman sees directly how the chamber helps his business.

“The chamber is necessary for anyone to be involved in doing business with the gay community, even if they aren’t gay themselves,” he says.

CAGLCC events and programs

Jay Vilar recognizes the strength of the ancient Greek adage “Know Thyself;” in fact, it’s his business mantra.

“It’s the No. 1 rule in effective business,” he says. “Experts emphasize it’s best to increase your strengths, rather than try to compensate for your weaknesses.”

Vilar, business development consultant at Plan A Consulting, is part of the team of LGBT professionals who will lend their expertise to Connections!2010 Saturday at the Washington Post building. The seminar series, part of the daylong event, is organized along three tracks: personal, financial and estate planning; professional advancement; and business and entrepreneur development.

Stephen Littlewood, CPA, will speak to attendees on taxation issues at the session “From Intern to Homeowner — Waging the Growing Up War!” Littlewood offers thought-provoking advice on saving money.

“Personal wealth accumulation begins with personal wealth preservation. Wealth preservation requires effective tax planning,” Littlewood says.

In business, relationship building is of the essence. Carlos Gutierrez, vice president of legal and business affairs, the 3D joint venture of Sony Corporation, Discovery Communications and IMAX Corporation, shares his perspective.

“Fostering a relationship with an executive mentor within your organization allows for greater insights and career perspective and once you’ve become successful it then behooves you to turn around and reach out to others within our community,” notes Gutierrez.

Come listen to Vilar speak about embracing who you are in business; hear Littlewood offer practical advice on how to start saving by paying less; and learn about Gutierrez’ s experiences as a mentor/mentee. These and many other topics relevant to individuals and businesses seeking to advance careers, start a business or take one to the next level, are all part of the seminar series at Connections!2010. For more information go here.  Attendance is free.

CAGLCC member news

Scott Roewer, president of Solutions By Scott LLC, is taking what his clients often toss in the trash and encouraging them to donate new or slightly worn shoes to Soles4Souls. Scott will be travelling to Haiti in January to participate in this philanthropic effort. To pay his way, Scott needs to raise funds. Donations are being accepted here.

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