More than 600 people attended Saturday's sold-out Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce dinner at the Hilton Miami Downtown hotel. Above, Mr. Miami Beach Michael Aller speaks with honoree Daniel Spring.
Click here for more pictures. All photos by STEVE ROTHAUS / Miami Herald Staff.
Here's the Chamber's news release with details of the dinner:
The Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber Of Commerce (MDGLCC) will honor corporate and individual supporters of the Miami-Dade LGBT community at its 11th Annual Gala Awards Celebration, “The Orange Gala,” on Saturday, June 23, at the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The honorees were selected 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.
“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. “From a global LGBT trailblazer to hometown heroes, this year’s gala honorees are as diverse as the LGBT community itself. ‘The Orange Gala’ is particularly significant this year in light of the Chamber’s achievements in growth and influence as well as the success of the LGBT Visitor Center in Miami Beach.”
The 2012 Honorees:
“AT&T Business of the Year Award” -- IKEA
This award is presented annually to an organization whose commitment to diversity is unwavering in its inclusion of LGBT and allied community issues.
“IKEA has been on the leading edge of LGBT inclusiveness the world over”, Adkins said. “In 2007, IKEA produced what may have been the first television commercials depicting a gay male couple in a completely normal setting and they have been portraying same-sex couples in their advertising and openly courting the community as customers ever since. Closer to home, the IKEA store in Sunrise graciously donated all new furniture for the LGBT Visitor Center and the Chamber’s offices – including a new kitchen! For its acknowledgment of the LGBT community throughout the world and for its significant support of the Chamber, we are pleased to present the AT&T Business of the Year Award to IKEA.”
Charles Wing, IKEA Business Manager, will accept the award.
“Wells Fargo Business Person of the Year Award” – Steve Haas
This award is given annually to an individual who embraces diversity in all forms and demonstrates excellent management and leadership skills.
“They say you can’t fight City Hall, but when it comes to City Hall, the Restaurant, the only fight is for a spot on the reservation list,” Adkins said. “Steve is a five-star restaurateur who leads his team with dedication to the culinary arts and passion for customer service. Throughout his career, he has supported numerous LGBT events and organizations by hosting fundraisers and networkers at his establishments. He was also the chief architect for the Miami Spice promotion, a favorite pursuit of the LGBT community.”
Steve Haas, owner of City Hall, the Restaurant, will accept the award.
“Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award” – Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority
This award is given annually to a non-profit organization whose philosophy embodies the highest standards of outreach to the LGBT and allied communities.
“The Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority” has long recognized the power of LGBT tourism and actively promotes Miami Beach to LGBT travelers throughout the world,” Adkins says. “In fact, the VCA’s recent Impact Analysis report concluded that LGBT tourism initiatives accounted for the highest number of hotel room night bookings out of the 11 categories studied. LGBT tourism is so important to Miami Beach, that the VCA allocates more than a third of all grant distributions to LGBT-related events and activities, including funding for Winter Party Festival, Miami Beach Gay Pride, the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Aqua Girl and the LGBT Visitor Center”.
Jeff Lehman, VCA Board Chair, will accept the award.
“Special Recognition Award” – Daniel Spring
This special award is given periodically to recognize individuals or companies that embrace diversity, dedicate themselves to the betterment of the community, demonstrate superior leadership skills and consistently support the MDGLCC.
“Daniel is a pillar in the LGBT community,” Adkins said. “Through his South Beach Insurance agency, he has insured many of the area’s LGBT events and activities. Personally, he has volunteered countless hours of his time and expertise chairing the City of Miami Beach’s LGBT Business Enhancement Committee and Miami Beach Gay Pride.” For Daniel’s service and efforts supporting the LGBT community and MDGLCC member businesses with their insurance needs, we are pleased to honor him with this special recognition award.”
Daniel Spring will accept the award.
For the past several years, the MDGLCC Gala Committee has selected a different color of the rainbow flag for the Gala’s theme and has encouraged attendees to wear a splash of that color to the event. The theme for this year’s event is “The Orange Gala” featuring a color which represents optimism, warmth, happiness, adventure and risk-taking. This annual event, MDGLCC’s principal fundraising effort of the year, helps sustain operations and the ever-increasing demand to expand programming.