Greater San Diego Business Association

The History of Greater San Diego Business Association

Since its inception, the Greater San Diego Business Association has been setting trends, delivering results, and providing cohesion and mutual interaction within the gay and lesbian business community.

Who started the GSDBA?
Founded in May of 1979 by concerned business individuals including Ron Umbaugh, Jim Walsh, John-David Schonbrook, Ben Brown, Steve Desdier, Fred Schlesinger, Tom Homann, Mike Ragatz, Reese LaRiviere, Patricia Reeves, Carol Horowitz, Bob Clark, George Isbell, Jr., and Don Hauck, the GSDBA began its work with 21 members and a dedicated Board of Directors.

First Directory
In August of 1979, the GSDBA published its first Register of 16 pages with 67 business listings. This small but resourceful booklet was the first publication of specifically gay and lesbian owned and/or oriented businesses in San Diego.

100 Members Strong
By June of 1980, the GSDBA was already a leader in its field, being the third largest gay and lesbian business association in the United States, behind New York and San Francisco. In September of 1980, membership in the Greater San Diego Business Association broke 100, proving that the GSDBA means business.

Community Leadership
Throughout the years, the GSDBA and its members have been involved in many community based struggles, from taking on the responsibility of the Harvey Milk Scholarship Fund in 1979; addressing the University of California in support of Dr. Chris Matthews, founder of the Owens Clinic; Hosting a number of Mayoral and City Council election debates; taking on employment discrimination in 1984; defeating Proposition 64 – the LaRouche AIDS initiative in 1986; joining the San Diego Chamber of Commerce in 1993; supporting the lifting of the ban on Gays & Lesbians in the Military; to the advocacy of Marriage Equality.

Staying Power
The GSDBA has led the way by being here to promote your business. From the first Register in 1979, to the first mixer in 1985, numerous business workshops, representation on a national level, membership in the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, the first Business Networking Group in 1994, to the Gay to Z Expos of 2003 and 2004, the GSDBA continues to introduce the world to the ever growing Gay & Lesbian market.

We look forward to new goals, new challenges, and new accomplishments. We remain here to promote your business!

Last updated by GSDBA May 7, 2010.

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