For a decade now, The Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber Of Commerce (MDGLCC) has hosted an annual gala awards celebration to honor corporate and individual supporters of the Miami-Dade LGBT community. Honorees are chosen for their long-term commitment to fostering diversity, as well as for their efforts in contributing to the overall well being and quality of life in South Florida. This event will take place on Saturday, March 26 at 6 p.m., at the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd.in Miami.
“As the voice of the LGBT business community, the Chamber is especially proud to have such an exemplary group to recognize this year,” said Steve Adkins, MDGLCC president. “We’re anticipating one of the largest turnouts in our decade-long history. This year’s gala will be particularly significant in light of the Chamber’s achievements in growth and influence, especially with the opening of the new LGBT Visitor Center in Miami Beach.”
The first award, The MetLife Business of the Year Award, is being presented to Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association (GMBHA) for its commitment to diversity and inclusion of LGBT and allied community issues. The award will be accepted by Wendy Kallergis, president and CEO of the GMBHA, and Tim Nardi, boardchair.
“The hospitality industry in Miami-Dade employs nearly 10% of the county’s entire LGBT workforce,” Adkins said. “Additionally, the tourism tax revenue further impacts the lives of many LGBT citizens in South Florida both directly and indirectly. The Chamber applauds the effort of the GMBHA to recognize excellence in the industry across all diverse demographics and congratulates them on the ‘MetLife Business of the Year Award’.”
The second award, Hilton Miami Downtown Business Person of the Year Award, is being presented to Naomi Wilzig, World Erotic Art Museum, for embracing diversity in all forms and demonstrating excellent management and leadership skills.
“As founder and president of the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach, Wilzig curates the largest erotic art collection in the world,” Adkins said. “An author of five books on her extensive collection, she is widely regarded as the leading expert in the field. In addition to her numerous charitable contributions, Wilzig is a longtime supporter of the MDGLCC and the South Florida LGBT community.”
Wilzig will accept the award.
The third award, Wachovia (A Wells Fargo Company) Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award, is being presented to Switchboard of Miami, Inc.as a non-profit organization whose philosophy embodies the highest standards of outreach to the LGBT and allied communities. Catherine Penrod, president and CEO, will accept the award.
“Switchboard’s telephone counselors provide comprehensive crisis counseling, suicide prevention, information, and referral services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” Adkins said. “Through an extensive partnership with community agencies and service providers, Switchboard counselors can access an extensive database of more than 3,000 service programs — including counseling centers and agencies that provide services related to the issues affecting the LGBTQ community. In addition, Switchboard services include faith-based help centers, Baker Act information, bereavement programs, substance abuse treatment, support groups, in-home counseling, sex and love addiction support, and youth-oriented programs.”
And the fourth award, AT&T 10th Anniversary Special Recognition Award, will be presented to Grey Goose Vodka, a Bacardi Brand for embracing diversity in all forms and demonstrating continued dedication to the betterment of the community through actions and leadership. Michelle Beauchamp, marketing director, and Erin Mitchell, brand manager, will accept the award.
“The LGBT market in Miami-Dade is known all over the world for its distinctive and well-supported fundraising activities and Grey Goose Vodka and Bacardi brands are, more often than not, standing tall behind the bars,” Adkins said. “They have contributed tremendously to many LGBT organizations’ successes during the past 10 years and in addition to their event support, their overall embrace of the LGBT community and the company’s open and accepting employment policies, make them a worthy honoree for this award.”
The 10th Anniversary Gala Awards Celebration will feature a VIP champagne reception and silent auction beginning at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m., the awards ceremony at 9 p.m., and then a DJ and dancing beginning at 10 p.m..
For the past several years, MDGLCC has selected a different color of the rainbow flag for its Gala theme and the theme for this year’s event is “A Royal Affair” featuring the color purple which represents royalty and loyalty. Gala attendees are encouraged to wear something purple. This annual event is MDGLCC’s principal fundraising effort and helps sustain operations and the ever-increasing demand to expand programming.
Tickets are $1,750 for VIP tables of 10, $175 for individual VIP tickets and $95 for open seating.
Location: Hilton Miami, Downtown Hotel – 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami