In the Community

Leading with Pride: Rachel Anderson, president of Hampton Roads Business Outreach

Hampton Roads Business Outreach (HRBOR) is the region’s LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce.

Community Voices is a series by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation that features diverse people of Hampton Roads sharing their experiences and reflections on life in the region and philanthropy, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This edition features HRBOR, of which the Foundation is a member in support of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and/or Questioning, and Asexual and/or Ally as well as other individuals).

Tell a little about yourself.

I grew up in a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania. My family moved for my father’s job to Kentucky when I was in high school. After high school, I attended the University of Kentucky, where I received my bachelor’s degree in business administration. I spent five years in Seattle, then came to Charlottesville, Virginia. In Charlottesville, I worked for CFA Institute and earned my MBA. I decided to attend law school and passed the Virginia bar in 2013 and the Kentucky bar in 2014. In April 2014, I opened my own practice, Chesapeake Legal Group, PLLC, in Chesapeake. I have been working for myself ever since.

Why did you get involved in HRBOR?

I wanted to know which businesses I could be comfortable spending my money with. I saw HRBOR as that resource for the community and that the organization plays a vital role to the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.

How does HRBOR help the LGBTQIA+ business community?

HRBOR was founded to promote LGBTQIA+ influence through business ownership, workforce equality and active consumerism, creating prosperity to support equality, diversity and inclusion. We publish the Outguide757 Directory of our member businesses to promote safe commerce to the community

What are the most pressing needs facing the LGBQTIA+ community in Hampton Roads?

Our country is facing challenging political and social realities. Every day we hear of someone being harassed, assaulted, or murdered for who they are, whether that be their race, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It is difficult to know what businesses are open and welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ community and which businesses and business owners our community can actively support. HRBOR strives to provide that critical information to our community.

The LGBTQIA+ community is facing the real possibility of our hard-fought rights being taken away from us. The Virginia Values Act provides the community protections in public accommodations, employment, credit, and housing, but the community still faces an uphill battle regarding healthcare and in policing and the legal system.

What are some of the organization’s achievements or activities that you’re most proud of?

  • We are the oldest LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the only LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce in Hampton Roads.
  • We not only include LGBTQ-owned businesses but allied businesses.
  • HRBOR was recognized as the NGLCC (National LGBT Chamber of Commerce) Rising Star Chamber of the Year in 2010
  • HRBOR offers the NGLCC’s LGBTBE Business Certification to our member organizations. This allows businesses to be certified as majority-owned by LGBTQ individuals and grants the certified businesses access to the LGBT Supplier Diversity Initiative.

How can businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations be more welcoming and inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community?

Education is the key to becoming more welcoming and inclusive. They should participate in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) workshops and adopt diversity, equity, and inclusion statements. HRBOR presents DEI workshops for our members. I encourage any organization that is interested in becoming more inclusive to reach out to HRBOR.

How do you celebrate PRIDE month?

I attend most of the local Pride events with my friends and HRBOR is having a Pride Day at Busch Gardens in July which I am very excited about. Details can be found on our website.

How do you give back to the community?

I provide affordable legal services to the community and serve as president of HRBOR, where I advocate for LGBTQIA+ owned and allied businesses and ensure they are known and supported.

Learn more about HRBOR at HRBOR.org

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Rachel Anderson is president of Hampton Roads Business Outreach (HRBOR), the region’s LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. Rachel is a licensed attorney and owner of Chesapeake Legal Group in Chesapeake, VA, and licensed to practice law in Virginia and Kentucky. She specializes in estate planning and administration, contract drafting and negotiation, business and employment issues, marriage and divorce, family planning, and other general legal matters.

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