Bonds

Muni Pride expands into Chicago with two events

Muni Pride, the first LGBTQ+ organization for the municipal bond industry, is hosting its first event in Chicago this month as it continues efforts to grow nationally.

The organization, launched in 2019 by three San Francisco-based industry leaders as California Muni Pride, rebranded this summer to Muni Pride to match efforts to expand the group for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer beyond the Golden State, said Alexander Vaisman, a managing vice president and head of higher education at Build America Mutual.

The group, founded by Vaisman, Roberto Lee-Ruiz, a managing director at Stifel, and Luke Brewer, a vice president at RBC Capital Markets, will host the Chicago event, which will commemorate LGBTQ+ history month, along with partners, Women in Public Finance-Chicago and the Government Finance Officers Association. The event will be on Oct. 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chapman & Cutler office, 320 South Canal Street. 

“Muni Pride has been looking for an opportunity to have an event in Chicago for quite some time and our plans to collaborate with WPF’s Chicago chapter have been in the works for several months,” Vaisman said.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to commemorate LGBTQ+ history month with WPF-Chicago and the GFOA’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus,” said Muni Pride co-founder Alexander Vaisman.

BAM

It began to fall into place “when Jessica ‘Jess’ Wood (Sector Leader & Senior Director, USPF Education, S&P Global Ratings and Chapter Board President of WPF – Chicago) and I were prepping for our Higher Ed panel together at the NFMA annual conference in May 2023,” Vaisman said. “At some point, we took a break from chatting about sector trends, found ourselves talking about our respective organizations (Muni Pride and WPF-Chicago), and discovered that there was a lot of enthusiasm from each of us to collaborate on an event. We took this idea back to our respective boards and found everyone to be receptive to and incredibly supportive of the partnership.” 

Chapman and Cutler has been instrumental in helping to organize the event, “including graciously volunteering their space. We’re incredibly grateful for the support,” Vaisman said.

Melvin Moothen, vice president and Credit Team Lead at Western Alliance Bank, Katherine Gale, a partner at Chapman and Cutler, Maureen Barry, senior vice president at GovHR USA and Nora O’Brien, a partner at Chapman and Cutler have also helped to plan the event.

Separately, Vaisman said, the GFOA’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus officially launched and a connection was made with Muni Pride given the overlapping interests.

As Chicago event started to come together, Vaisman said, there was a lot of interest from all parties to get the caucus involved, especially since GFOA is based in Chicago.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to commemorate LGBTQ+ history month with WPF-Chicago and the GFOA’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus,” Vaisman said.

Muni Pride is also co-hosting a diversity reception at the National Association of Bond Lawyers’ 2023 Workshop with NABL’s Diversity Committee on Oct. 19 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

“NABL has been a terrific partner and the event is a tremendous opportunity to expand our connections and highlight diversity within the industry,” Vaisman said.

In line with efforts to build a national presence, Muni Pride has held events this year in California, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., he said.

To find out more about the event or for sponsorship opportunities, contact munipride@gmail.com.

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