Join us for an important orientation and kick off sponsored by Giant Eagle for the new Pittsburgh Supplier Diversity program inclusion of LGBTQ businesses as disadvantaged business enterprises. Learn how to access the city portal to maximize your certification and gain government contracts as well as learn the additional resources and the process available to access DBE programs for URA, Giant Eagle, and the SBA.
Featured speakers include:
Upasna Goswami, City of Pittsburgh. Upasna worked with nonprofits in education, and with the United Nations. Upasna pursued a Master's in Public Policy and Management from CMU and then worked with UPMC, and a software concern. Upasna currently works as Business Diversity coordinator with Office of Business Diversity at the Mayor's Office.
Karan Waigand, SBA. Karan is an Economic Development Specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) District Office. Karan shares SBA’s mission at workshops and training events as well as during one-on-small counseling to clients. She brings awareness of SBA’s numerous programs available to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners as they work to achieve their American Dream of business ownership in the agency’s 27 county footprint. Karan is the designated liaison for SBA’s eight Small Business Development Centers and is responsible for resource partner compliance and oversight. Additionally, she is the Program Manager for SBA’s Emerging Leaders business program. Karan holds a degree in business/public administration.
Jenn Bejin, Giant Eagle. Jenn is the supplier diversity manager at Giant Eagle. She has spent the past few years supporting diverse suppliers in numerous ways and is currently passionate about the work she is doing to advance diverse owned brands in the Grocery retail industry.
Jenn has developed a unique perspective when it comes to supplier diversity. She understands the challenges both corporations and diverse suppliers face to develop economic impact through diverse partners. Jenn holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and is a proud 3rd generation alumna of the largest historically black university in the country, A&T State University in North Carolina.
Josette Fitzgibbons, URA, is the Business Program Officer for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. In her role at the URA, Josette helps to connect entrepreneurs throughout the City of Pittsburgh with the URA’s financing and technical assistance resources, as well as opportunities provided by other resource partners. She also works to develop new technical assistance and educational opportunities for small businesses, and provides support to business district organizations in their corridor revitalization efforts. Josette has a Bachelor of Arts from Kent State University, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Ron Hicks, 3RBA President. For more than three decades, Ron has handled complex and commercial litigation in trial and appellate courts at the state and federal level, and before arbitration and mediation panels throughout the Atlantic Coast and Midwest.He is member of the Allegheny County Academy of Trial Lawyers and serves as an arbitrator, an early neutral evaluator and an e-discovery dispute Special Master for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Being an out and proud member of the Pittsburgh LGBTQ+ community and president of 3RBA, Ron serves as co-chair of the firm's LGBTQ+ Business Practice Group. In this role, he represents LGBTQ+ business owners and clients across industries, often serving as outside general counsel. He advises on general corporate issues and business transactions, including entity formation and operation, contract drafting and review, document retention and destruction policies, internet and social media matters, and intellectual property concerns including trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and warranties.
Launched in 2018, Three Rivers Business Alliance serves to promote networking and business development within the LGBTQ+ and allied business community operating in the Pittsburgh and Greater Allegheny region. Together with its IRC 501(c)(3) foundation, 3RBA is committed to expanding the economic interests of LGBT+ owned and allied businesses through advocacy, education, business development and growth, diversity, leadership, and partnerships throughout its region. Also, as an NGLCC affiliated chamber, 3RBA serves as a point of connection for LGBTQ+ and allied business owners and professionals, corporations, nonprofits, and civic leaders. Learn more at www.3rba.com.