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Doing it Differently: LGBTQ2S+ In Business

  • Groundswell 268 Keefer Street, Unit #421 Vancouver, BC (map)

Join us for this free storytelling and potluck event!

Doors: 5:30 pm
Panel: 6:00 pm
Potluck: 7:30 pm

From the fight for gender-neutral washrooms and same-sex partner benefits, to casual water cooler discrimination, queer and trans people face unique issues in the workplace. Many LGBTQI2S+ folk create businesses of their own and some prefer to do business with each other, which has created a unique (and largely unseen) local economy.

What can we do to create a world where everyone can celebrate and offer their talents without discrimination? This is why Groundswell wants to hold space for a conversation about being queer and/or trans in business. Let’s celebrate the unique talents, experiences and creativity of the LCGTQ2S+ community that can make our city and culture flourish - and learn how to amplify them!

At this event, four successful queer and/or trans entrepreneurs share their stories of struggle, success and being their best selves in the world of business. They are doing it differently!


  • Sally Zori, Principle, Social Media Strategist, and Content Creator at Zori Media; drummer for Queer as Funk

  • Marissa Wright, business leader and coach, senior technology sales executive. Principle, Authgnosis

  • Alison Gorman, Working musician and owner of Railtown Entertainment

  • Melanie Matining, queer pinay activist; founder of Denim Vest; bringing ethics to business from the inside out.

    Read more about the panelists below!

With moderator and Groundswell alum:

  • Cass King: Groundswell Operations Manager, performer, sex advocate. Founder of Mojo Emporium.

Stay after the talk and dive deeper into conversation
at our monthly
long table community potluck
Bring a dish to share or contribute $10 to the pot when you RSVP
and we'll add something to the table on your behalf.

sally zori.jpeg

Sally Zori. A trans, masculine presenting Iraqi raised in the United Arab Emirates and different parts of Canada, Sally is a session musician, percussionist, and content creator. They have played stages and theatres in North America, Europe, and Australia with different bands, orchestras, musicals, theatre shows, and (one new years eve in 2008) was the percussionist for Aretha Franklin. 

A film school graduate (University of Windsor) and a certified digital marketer (RED Academy) Sally started Zori Media in early 2017. Since, they have had the pleasure of working with a variety of different businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, and musicians to create meaningful and impactful content. 


Marissa Wright is a business leader and advisor with 35 years experience primarily with technology-based businesses, with the last 17 years in a Vice-President/General Manager, and received her MBA from SFU in 2013. Marissa is a founder of three companies, and has helped several other entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground helping develop business plans and strategy, one of which has reached $120m in annual revenue. She serves on the board of AIDS Vancouver. As a transgender woman, Marissa transitioned at work in 2016 and is currently launching her own consulting practice focused on helping start-ups and early-stage companies with their market and investor strategies. Marissa identifies as she/her/queerer than a three-dollar bill.


Alison Gorman is a trumpet player based in Vancouver. Alison performs in a range of ensembles, including the burlesque group Pandora and the Locksmiths, trad jazz swing band Sweetpea, African/reggae band Pendomoja, as well as managing Queer As Funk, Vancouver’s own LGBTQ Motown, soul and funk band.

In the Spring of 2017, she launched Railtown Entertainment, a boutique music booking agency. Railtown connects clients with the perfect musicians and bands for whatever event they may be planning. 


Melanie Matining is a queer pinay activist, community organizer, and settler on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. Her work focuses on the importance of social spaces in movement building and the necessary intersections of community-determined access, placemaking, and solidarity building. She convenes communities to create platforms for celebration, healing, and just dancing it all out. Melanie makes up one half of the duo that brought us Denim Vest, a queer sweaty dance party for the people. In the recent past, she also worked as the Community Development Manager at Heartwood, a social space that was centred on community and movement building. Amidst the towering cranes, she continues her work in advocating for accessible and inclusive spaces in the city. Melanie walks everyday in love and liberation alongside her communities working towards queer rights, Indigenous solidarity, and migrant justice.

Accessibility & Getting Here

Groundswell is wheelchair accessible, with elevator access to the 4th floor of the Sun Wah building from the lobby. Washrooms re gender neutral andwheelchair accessible.

From the lobby, take the elevator up to the 4th floor and head down the hallway to your right. Do not take the escalator up form the lobby unless you like figuring out mazes!

The Sun Wah parking garage is locked at 7 pm so if you are driving, pelase find street parking.

Community Potlucks

Every month, Groundswell hosts a community potluck and gathering to connect, share and celebrate with new and old faces in this ecosystem of social change and entrepreneurship.  Come hang out!  Sign up for the Groundswell newsletter to stay informed about all our events and opportunities.