The Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce has announced that Francisco Sánchez, Jr. (he/him), Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will be the special guest for its signature event, Pride In Business, on June 23, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. Sánchez will share his personal story and LGBTQ+ journey during a “fireside chat” with Cheryl Mercedes, reporter and anchor for KHOU-11.
“Each year at the Pride in Business Celebration, we have brought in leading LGBTQ+ professionals and leaders from private industry and government to share their stories. These conversations have been both powerful and impactful,” said Tammi Wallace, Chamber Co-Founder, President & CEO. “We are honored to have Associate Administrator Sánchez join us to celebrate Pride and the LGBTQ+ business community. It is incredibly important that we share the stories of inspirational leaders like Associate Administrator Sánchez, their path, and the role of LGBTQ+ leadership.”
Francisco Sánchez, Jr. is the Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Disaster Recovery & Resilience (ODR&R). In his role, Sánchez is helping to lead the nation’s economic recovery from COVID and natural disasters by providing the necessary resources to America’s 33 million small businesses, private non-profits, renters, and homeowners.
Sánchez has extensive experience in emergency management, recovery, and strategic planning. He has served on command staff for four of the nation’s ten most costly natural disasters and previously served at the Harris County (Texas) Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, where he led a range of initiatives such as strategic development, planning, public affairs, and community preparedness.
A lifelong Texan, Sánchez played a key role in responding to major natural disasters, including historic hurricanes like Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Harvey, as well as flooding, wildfires, and major industrial incidents, which led to an average of one presidentially-declared disaster every nine months.
Sánchez earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and has a master’s degree in Public Administration from Sam Houston State University. He also received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
The Pride In Business Celebration is an annual event that celebrates LGBTQ+ and Allied businesses in the Greater Houston area, focusing on LGBTQ+ economic inclusion. “On the 70th anniversary of the Lavender Scare that marked a shameful chapter in our nation’s history, we have made progress, but the fight for equality continues,” said Francisco Sánchez, Jr., Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Today, LGBTQ+ businesses are part of Main Street and contribute more than $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy. Economic opportunity and equality go hand in hand, and while we celebrate LGBTQ+ businesses and allies during Pride Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration remains committed to creating economic opportunity and prosperity every day.”
Tammi Wallace, Chamber Co-Founder, President & CEO, added, “It is incredibly important that we create spaces where LGBTQ+ businesses can connect, share resources, and learn from one another. We are excited to host the Pride In Business Celebration, the only event in Houston focused on the LGBTQ+ business community during Pride Month.” For more information about the Pride In Business Celebration, visit http://houstonprideinbusiness.lgbt/.