BEN Members Spotlight
Of the many North Texas LGBT Chamber networking programs, the Business Exchange Network (BEN) continues to grow in both popularity and size with four groups serving members. BEN meetings take place twice per month and allow members to network with other business professionals, giving and receiving referrals. It’s a chance to hone that “elevator pitch” and get input from other people in a nurturing space. Plus, only one Member in any business category can participate, so there will never be a competitor in the same group.
We met with four BEN Members to discuss their businesses and how this Chamber program has helped them succeed.
ASHLEY BLOOM (she/her)
6-year Chamber member
BEN Group: North Dallas (3 years)
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones Investments
As a former Army Chinook Helicopter Pilot, Ashley Bloom brings the same focus, discipline, and attention to detail to each of her clients. At home, she has a wife and four kids that bring her balance to busy days at the office. She services a select group of clients across the country in achieving their most important goals and dreams.
“I am very passionate about what I do and enjoy getting to know each client to develop a deep understanding of their values and specific needs,” she says.
To network efficiently and within the communities in which she coexists, Bloom is a member of her local chamber, as well as the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
“While I work within my community, my local chamber does not fully support my unique business needs and goals. The LGBT Chamber educates me on all resources available to me, LGBT and otherwise,” she says. “It advocates for me and my business and connects me with other individuals in business who share my unique business needs.”
Being a BEN member has deepened her involvement in the Chamber and she says her involvement has also helped make her a better business person, growing her referral network in the process.
“BEN really helps you define a few professionals to get to know really well. It is also an excellent resource for referral connections.”
Rick Adams (he/him)
12-year Chamber member
BEN Group: Oak Lawn (9 years)
President The UPS Store at
Lemmon & The Tollway
Rick Adams has been around from the earliest days of the North Texas LGBT Chamber’s founding, with a dozen years and counting as a valued member of the organization. Of that time, he’s devoted nine years to the Oak Lawn BEN chapter, leading the group for the past five.
His UPS Store location has a tremendous amount of customer traffic thanks to his and his team’s dedication to friendly and efficient service. They offer full-service packaging and shipping, but genuinely pride themselves in being commercial print specialists—something that many Chamber businesses can utilize. It’s a hectic business with lots of moving parts and pieces, but occasional trips to Mexico recharge him for more weeks of serving the people and businesses of his community.
“I prefer to support small businesses. Even better when they are in the gay community,” Adams says of his continued involvement in the Chamber and its various committees and groups.
BEN has been a big part of his professional success, too.
“I have learned so much about the other businesses that are represented there. It has definitely played a part in building my customer base,” he says. “It is much, much easier to do business with someone if you feel that you know them. BEN allows people to get to know about your business and you personally. It builds loyalty.”
Dr. Kenneth J. Leu (he/him)
1-year Chamber member
BEN Group: Cedar Springs
Owner & Chiropractor, Head &
Head & Heart Chiropractic is a results-based clinic that specializes in chiropractic adjustments so that patients can achieve amazing results with everything from pain and joint issues to complicated medical cases. Owner and chiropractor, Dr. Kenneth J. Leu, seeks to improve health and wellness by balancing the body, prioritizing quality, efficiency, authenticity, and affordability.
“The LGBT Chamber is important to Dallas because it allows members to network and build one another up,” he says. “It allows us to support one another by connecting through our own network to those who we trust.”
Being a member of BEN has given Dr. Leu the opportunity to meet many new people who are equally focused on building their businesses while helping others do the same.
“It has led me to friendships, business, and more. Joining a BEN group allows you to connect deeper with individuals in the Chamber of Commerce,” he says, adding, “It gives you more face time.”
And that’s something each of BEN’s most successful members will agree is a key benefit of the networking group. Plus, joining and participating is completely pain-free, much like everyone who’s been successfully treated by Dr. Leu.