March 24, 2022
LONG-TIME TRIANGLE AREA LGBT+ ORGANIZATION INTRODUCES NEW NAME AND LOOK
RALEIGH, Mar. 24, 2022 — Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce, today announced a major rebrand in an effort to better serve LGBT+ professionals, businesses, and allies in the eastern 50 counties of North Carolina.
Formerly known as Raleigh Business and Professionals Network or RBPN, Harmony is an organization that caters to the LGBT+ and allied professional and business community located throughout the eastern half of North Carolina. They host various events for LGBT+ and allied professionals and business owners throughout the year, such as monthly socials and industry mixers, LGBT business certification workshops, quarterly dinners, virtual education sessions, and much more.
Harmony worked with premier ad agency The Republik to create a unique professional brand, including a new name, logo, and promotional campaign. This marks the first time in the group’s 30+ year history that they will openly identify in name as an LGBT+ organization.
“LGBT-owned businesses more effectively being able to find and align with us presents them with new avenues of revenue growth and customer attraction, not to mention resources and a community designed to help them succeed,” said Harmony President Kade Kimber. “Professionals can more readily access a built-in support system composed of individuals from all walks of life seeking to positively enrich their lives and those of others.”
“We were inspired by the new direction for the Chamber, combining professionalism, inclusiveness, and support into one name and logo,” said Robert West, CEO of The Republik. “The end result, Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce, is the product of an amazing collaboration with the Board. We are thrilled to be a part of defining the new name and direction for this group of passionate professionals.”
The new name, Harmony, is inspired by a vision for the future where business and professional societies come together as one—regardless of differing individual identities. It stands for harmony across cultures, languages, religious beliefs, and values, while also communicating a central aspect of the group’s mission: the acceptance and empowerment of LGBT+ people and their allies among each other, and within society as a whole.
“While we will always serve a different purpose to different people—a fantastic thing, to be sure—we can now operate on a commonly understood bedrock of our purpose and value to the community,” said Kimber. “The name ‘Harmony’ showcases the aspirational goal we have for our organization to unite all people, within and outside of the LGBT+ community.”
The organization also made the decision to drop “Raleigh” from its name in favor of “NC,” which leaders hope will end the misconception that they are a Raleigh-only organization. In fact, that hasn’t been the case for a very long time, said Kimber.
“Expanding the geographical reference in our name allows us to better accomplish the duty and responsibility we accepted when we became the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) affiliate supporting the easternmost 50 counties of the state,” he said.
Local entrepreneur and Harmony board member Jeff Vojta was instrumental in facilitating the group’s collaboration with The Republik, who generously donated their award-winning creative services.
“As a longtime member of the Chamber and a certified LGBT business owner myself, I have struggled with how to introduce our group and what we do to help our members and community grow, prosper, and network,” said Vojta. “The new brand identity and value proposition reflect our diverse membership and support of the broader business community in Eastern North Carolina. This rebranding helps us succinctly communicate our aspiration to embrace who we are and make members, new and prospective, excited to engage with our organization.”
To learn more about Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce, visit www.harmonync.org.
January 23, 2022
RBPN’s statement regarding the recently released news story about alleged fraud at the LGBT Center of Raleigh:
Raleigh Business & Professionals Network (RBPN), the host organization of Pride Life Expo, was made aware in July 2021 by the LGBT Center of Raleigh as to the alleged fraud at the hands of its former director, which is currently being reported in the news. No words can express the depths of hurt and betrayal these actions had, and will continue to have, upon the entire LGBT+ community; our hearts go out to the LGBT Center of Raleigh and all affected by this. Despite the devastating consequences, Pride Life Expo exhibitors, sponsors, and vendors can rest assured this alleged fraud has not—and will not—affect the finances of Pride Life Expo.
All funds related to Pride Life Expo have remained in the sole custody of RBPN since the inception of the event, originally slated for 2020. Access and distribution of these funds fall within control measures that have long been in place at RBPN. At no point has anyone from the LGBT Center of Raleigh, including its former director, had direct access to funds related to Pride Life Expo.
RBPN is pleased to continue to have the LGBT Center of Raleigh as the presenting sponsor of Pride Life Expo. While it would be easy for one person’s alleged indiscretions to mar an organization or any activity tied to it, we have witnessed firsthand the commitment the board and interim director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh have to their organization and to the LGBT+ community at-large. We stand with them in moving forward and appreciate their continued presenting sponsor status of what is going to be a transformative, positive event for the LGBT+ community and its allies.
Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, RBPN will have no further comment related to this matter.