AN influx of khaki, epaulettes and neatly-creased trousers could be on the cards at the Fruits in Suits and Lemons with a Twist networking events following the signing of a partnership between the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA) and Defence’s LGBTI staff arm.

 The two-year agreement enables military personnel, who might only be stationed in Sydney for a short time, to meet other members of the city’s LGBTI community and benefit from professional development and networking opportunities.

As part of the partnership, signed last month, LGBTI Defence staff will receive flexible membership of the SGLBA which can be frozen or part refunded if they are posted to another location.

Membership gives members access to networking and professional development events.

Defence LGBTI Information Service (DEFGLIS) president Vince Chong told the Star Observer that frequent redeployments of army, air force and navy personnel meant it was often difficult to build professional and personal connections in a new location.

“Every 12 months we have new members posted in Sydney and often it’s really hard to break the ice and meet other people,” he said.

“This partnership gives [military staff] the opportunity to meet like-minded people and make a connection with the LGBTI community.”

Staff posted to Richmond air base, the Victoria Barracks in Paddington and Kuttabul naval base in Potts Point, could take advantage of the SGLBA partnership.

Chong said the SGLBA had “bent over backwards to accommodate the burden that comes with military service in order to bring our members into the business community.”

“SGLBA are looking forward to welcoming Defence staff to events such as Fruits in Suits and Lemons with a Twist as well as our mentoring opportunities,” SGLBA vice president Cor Jansen van Rensburg said.

Members in the corporate and defence sectors could benefit from each other’s career and leadership experiences, said van Rensburg.

If the Sydney partnership is a success, the SGLBA will look at extending the initiative interstate.

SGLBA have previously had partnerships with Qantas and Macquarie Bank and currently have a link up with global bank Barclays who back the organisation’s mentoring program

More information on the DEFGLIS and SGLBA partnership can be found by clicking here

(Picture: Vince Chong, President of DEFGLIS, signs agreements with Emmanuel Giuffre, Secretary of SGLBA. PHOTO: Ann-Marie Calilhanna)

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