About Us

Creating a thriving and inclusive Canadian economy, one connection at a time.

We often get the question: why do you exist? There are business chambers at the regional and national level, and corporations’ support for LGBT+ initiatives is on the rise.

It’s easy to give a by-the-numbers response. Canada is home to over 28,000 LGBT+-owned businesses. These businesses generate over $22 billion in economic activity and employ over 435,000 Canadians. In other words, LGBT+ business is big business.

However, LGBT+ entrepreneurs still face barriers. Nearly half have hidden who they were in business dealings to avoid losing opportunities, and more than a third have lost opportunities due to being LGBT+.

There is a growing number of organizations looking to change these stats – one connection at a time. A community of LGBT+ businesses, government liaisons and even diverse procurement practices are helping tip the scales. CGLCC is a coalition of all of these positive forces advocating for change to make a more inclusive Canadian economy possible.

We do this by bringing people together, and highlighting the right resources for LGBT+ entrepreneurs to be even more successful.

So, the answer is: we exist because LGBT+ entrepreneurs already have a huge impact on the Canadian economy, with barriers. Let’s see what kind of thriving and inclusive Canada is possible when we remove them.

Our Programs

Each of our programs is designed to elevate LGBT businesses and foster greater diversity and inclusion across Canada’s economy.

Whether we’re connecting LGBT+ businesses to a global network or a corporation with a vested interest in diverse procurement, we’re here to facilitate connections that can build a more inclusive Canada.

We also serve businesses looking to form more inclusive cultures or programming, offering inclusivity training and market-preparedness training for serving LGBT+ clientele. We use our LGBT+ expertise and research to facilitate a stronger, more inclusive Canadian economy for all.

Featured Program

Supplier Diversity

Supplier diversity is more than a mandate – it’s an economic and social revolution. We fill tables with progressive organizations looking to engage in supplier diversity with our certified LGBT+ businesses. This gives Canadian LGBT+ businesses unprecedented access to connections, partnerships and new business opportunities, while corporations benefit from diversifying their suppliers and service providers.

Board of Directors

Mark Schollenberg (he/him)
Chair
Manitoba Regional Member
Since 2016, Mark Schollenberg has contributed his business knowledge and experience supporting LGBT+ entrepreneurs and professionals as CGLCC’s Board Chair and Manitoba Regional Member. As a long-time employee of RBC, he has worked to grow and empower businesses across Canada, most recently as a Regional Enablement Coach for Business Markets.
Mark Schollenberg (he/him)
Chair
Manitoba Regional Member
Bruce McDonald (he/him)
Co-Founder and Vice-Chair
Silverman, Chapman & Reese
As the Co-founder and Vice Chair of CGLCC, Bruce McDonald has contributed his experience as a business consultant and CEO of Silverman Consulting & Retail Services. His support of LGBT+ communities stretches beyond CGLCC. He is the Co-Founder of Travel Gay Canada, an association that promotes Canada as a destination for LGBT+ travellers.
Bruce McDonald (he/him)
Co-Founder and Vice-Chair
Silverman, Chapman & Reese
Debra Quade (she/her)
Secretary
Kellogg’s
Debra Quade brings extensive knowledge of Supplier Diversity to CGLCC’s board in her role as Secretary. Based in Battle Creek, Michigan, she currently manages the Supplier Diversity program at Kellogg’s.
Debra Quade (she/her)
Secretary
Kellogg’s
Chris Matthews (he/him)
Treasurer
Ontario Regional Member
As Data Products Director at RBC Chris Matthews knows how to create strategy from data. He brings his experience to the board as the Ontario Regional Member. In addition to his work at CGLCC he empowers LGBT+ voices in politics as the founding member and Director of Public Relations at ProudPolitics.
Chris Matthews (he/him)
Treasurer
Ontario Regional Member
Saul Benary (he/him)
Alberta Regional Member
Since 2018 Saul Bernary has used his background in finance and customer service to serve as CGLCC’s Alberta Regional Member. Saul is the acting Chair and Secretary of the Alberta LGBT Chamber of Commerce and is currently studying law at the University of Calgary.
Saul Benary (he/him)
Alberta Regional Member
Catherine Grosz (she/her)
BMO Financial
Catherine Grosz brings her decades of experience working in Supplier Diversity for BMO Financial to her position on the CGLCC board. In addition to serving on CGLCC’s board she also champions supplier diversity as the board chair of Woman Business Enterprises Canada.
Catherine Grosz (she/her)
BMO Financial
Rick Hurlbut (he/him)
BC Regional Member
As CGLCC’s BC Regional Member, Rick Hurlbut brings over 24 years of experience working in the LGBT+ travel market to the table. He is the owner of Pride Enterprises, a Vancouver-based travel industry consultancy specific to the gay and lesbian community and serves as co-chair on the LOUD Business Board of Directors.
Rick Hurlbut (he/him)
BC Regional Member
Zach Pendley (he/him)
Ernst & Young
Zach Pendley is a real estate professional with over 16 years of experience. As Partner and Senior Vice President at Ernst & Young, he has helped clients around the world make strategic real estate decisions.
Zach Pendley (he/him)
Ernst & Young
Jim Rondeau (he/him)
Systematic Design
Jim Rondeau is the President of Plum Creative, an award-winning Interactive Media and Design production company. He has a background in education leadership and administration and served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Assiniboia for 17 years. He is currently based in Saanichton British Columbia.
Jim Rondeau (he/him)
Systematic Design
Rupert Hon (he/him)
TD Bank Group
As Regional Manager, LGBTQ2+ Business Development, Rupert’s primary role is to serve as a trusted liaison between TD and the LGBTQ2+ community. In addition to his deep understanding of the community itself, he relies on his ability to develop strong relationships with its members in order to fully discover their financial needs and goals. Rupert is fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with a wide range of talented colleagues from multiple lines of business, including Personal Banking, Business Banking and TD Wealth, to help provide our LGBTQ2+ clients with the best wealth advice and exceptional service they deserve. As part of this, he works hard to stay engaged with the community at large on a regular basis, by supporting and volunteering with local grass roots organizations which keep him up to date with any relevant news.
Rupert Hon (he/him)
TD Bank Group
Gavin Armstrong (he/him)
Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise
Dr. Gavin Armstrong is committed impact entrepreneur. He is currently serving as the Founder and President of Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise®, a social enterprise attempting to alleviate iron deficiency around the world using a simple health innovation. Through this role he was a Fulbright scholar at Auburn University and was awarded the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Social Entrepreneur category in 2016. In 2017 he received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and was named ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ by EY Canada. In 2018 he successfully pitched his company Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise on CBC’s Dragons Den where he was able to secure a deal with two dragons. Gavin holds a PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Guelph
Gavin Armstrong (he/him)
Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise
Jalisa Luces-Mendes (they/them)
Toni Marlow Clothing

Staff

Darrell Schuurman (he/him)
Co-Founder and CEO
As Co-Founder and CEO of CGLCC, Darrell Schuurman has been committed to CGLCC’s mission since 2003. He is a Former Managing Partner at DNA Marketing Group and has a background in business, sales and marketing. He is the Co-Founder of Travel Gay Canada.
Darrell Schuurman (he/him)
Co-Founder and CEO
Dale McDermott (he/him)
COO
Before joining CGLCC, Dale McDermott worked at Salesforce and Ernst & Young LLP – advising some of the largest organizations in North America, the UK and Ireland. Dale’s experience informs his role as COO at CGLCC and he continues to serve the Board of Directors of Canadian Club Toronto, is a member the Banff Forum, and is a Fellow of Civic Action’s Diverse City Fellows program.
Dale McDermott (he/him)
COO
Richard Martin (he/him)
Director, Global
Richard has extensive experience in international and inter-governmental relations, having worked in this area for many years as a senior manager with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Industry Canada. He represented Canada at several meetings hosted by major international organizations such as the OECD, UNESCO, the Summit of the Americas, the OAS, APEC and the Carnegie Group on Science, Technology and Innovation. In addition, he has a strong experience in Canadian federal-provincial relations, in particular in areas related to international education, adult learning, science and innovation. He also contributed to the establishment and management of several grant programs designed to foster academic partnerships between Canadian scholars and institutions of higher education and their international counterparts (e.g., Canada-United States Fulbright Program).

He is an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Richard has been CGLCC’s Director, Global Program & Government Relations, since 2016.

Originally from the Montreal region, Richard is a graduate of the universities of Sherbrooke (B.A.) and Ottawa (M.A.). He speaks French, English and Spanish.
Richard Martin (he/him)
Director, Global
Colleen Regush (she/her)
Director, Finance & Administration
Colleen Regush is a self-employed chartered professional accountant based in Winnipeg. She brings her years of expertise and professional integrity to managing the finances for CGLCC’s programs and activities.
Colleen Regush (she/her)
Director, Finance & Administration
Paige Harlock (she/her)
Manager, Youth Entrepreneur & Partnerships
With over 5 years in the non-profit sector, Paige brings experience in fundraising and partnership management and a passion for advancing causes that focus on equity and sustainability. She has a BA from Queens and professional experience in communications, tech, and client relationship management.
Paige Harlock (she/her)
Manager, Youth Entrepreneur & Partnerships
Leah McCormack (she/her)
Manager, Tourism
Leah is the Manager of Tourism for CGLCC. With more than 20 years of experience, Leah has a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities that come from all aspects of the tourism industry. A seasoned marketing communications professional with experience in both private and public sectors, she thrives in fast-paced environments.
Leah McCormack (she/her)
Manager, Tourism
Kyle Morrison
Kyle Morrison (he/him)
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Kyle joined the CGLCC as Manager, Marketing & Communications in 2020 following his role in Business Development for Air Canada where he was responsible for the negotiation and management of B2B sponsorships and increasing the company’s brand presence nationally among the corporate channel.

Prior to Air Canada, Kyle served as a Marketing and Communications manager specializing in delivering for travel, tourism, and not-for-profit brands in the digital space. He holds a BA in Media, Information & Technoculture as well as a Diploma in Advertising and Graphic Design.

Outside of work, Kyle is passionate about LGBT+ social causes and remains active in the community through his work with local LGBT+ owned businesses and nonprofits.
Kyle Morrison (he/him)
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Ryan Nearing (he/him)
Manager, Membership and Supplier Diversity
As Manager of Membership and Supplier Diversity, Ryan leads the CGLCC’s LGBT+ Supplier Diversity Initiative program and facilitates new LGBT Business Enterprise memberships and certifications. He joined the organization in 2020.

A proud Nova Scotian, Ryan brings nearly five years of experience in communications, stakeholder relations, and campaign management from the political sector. Most recently, he was the Press Secretary and Advisor to the federal Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International trade. Previous to this, he was the campaign manager in the federal riding of Sackville–Preston–Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia and field manager in the provincial riding of Portland–Simonds, New Brunswick.

Ryan holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Masters of Political Management from Carleton University. Outside of work, Ryan is passionate about community economic development and enjoys baking, running, and planning adventures with loved ones.
Ryan Nearing (he/him)
Manager, Membership and Supplier Diversity
Zhané Stimpson (she/her)
Intern, Youth Development Coordinator
Zhané is a Computer Science student with a love for activism and social justice. She loves learning about different communities, cultures, and ways of life. After graduating, Zhané hopes to create a space that provides marginalized groups access to technology, coding lessons, and the software building blocks to create their own games, media, and creative content. In her free time she enjoys studying, gaming, dancing and reading a good book.
Zhané Stimpson (she/her)
Intern, Youth Development Coordinator
Sharon Levitsky (she/her)
Intern, Tourism Industry Specialist
Sharon graduated with an International Bachelor of Arts from Glendon College, York University in 2019. Having studied Political Science and International Studies, Sharon wants to use her abilities in communication and research to bring awareness to systemic issues that create barriers for LGBT+ communities. With experience in tourism having worked at the Ontario Science Centre, Sharon learned first-hand how important it is to ensure that all groups have access to adequate representation if we are going to encourage equality in society. Her years of experience doing customer service have equipped her to thrive in such a front-facing industry. Sharon looks forward to making a positive impact in this role and working with her new team at the CGLCC!
Sharon Levitsky (she/her)
Intern, Tourism Industry Specialist
Mathieu Baril (he/him)
Intern, Marketing Coordinator
Mathieu joined CGLCC as Intern, Marketing Coordinator in 2020. Before joining the team, he pursued doctoral studies in philosophy at McGill University and worked in the higher education industry. He is passionate about communication and LGBTQ+ causes and aims at helping his community flourish.
Mathieu Baril (he/him)
Intern, Marketing Coordinator
Zoe Vandekas (she/her, they/them)
Intern, Sales and Promotions Coordinator
Zoe Vandekas is a fourth year Intercultural Relations student at Ryerson University. Their most inspiring and fulfilling professional endeavours so far have consisted of working with immigrant youth to assist in progressing literacy levels, and working as a student teacher in ESL classrooms. They have a continuous desire to learn (and apply) new languages, and currently speaks three fluently; Greek, Spanish and English! Observing and appreciating various cultures along their travels remains their favorite hobby.
Zoe Vandekas (she/her, they/them)
Intern, Sales and Promotions Coordinator

Our Corporate Partners

Our Corporate Partners get access to our growing network of certified LGBT+ businesses who are experts in their fields. By attending events with speaking and networking opportunities, Corporate Partners have a direct line to the competitive suppliers who can diversify their procurement practices.

Stay on the leading edge of supplier diversity by gaining market knowledge on working with the LGBT+ community and supplier diversity training and tools. If you’re new to supplier diversity, we can also help you kickstart your program and begin measuring its impact on your organization – and your organization’s impact on the economy. Join the leading number of organizations revolutionizing the way they do business to maximize social and economic change.

Platinum Partner

Councils & Working Groups

The voices of our members and partners matter. CGLCC’s work is informed by advisory councils and working groups to ensure we are meeting our network’s needs. This input from various stakeholders helps us shape and improve the programs we offer and the activities we engage in.