BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Banker Alan Randolph, according to Miami Beach lawyer Elizabeth Schwartz, “is a perfect example of why it's so important to have openly LGBT people in every boardroom.”
Randolph, a Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation board member, helped bring domestic-partner benefits to hospital employees.
“The hospital was very much in favor of bringing those rights as choices in healthcare. They made it happen,” says Randolph, senior vice president and Miami-Dade market manager for C1 Bank. “I was the one who created the connectivity for that, between that being brought up in the community to management in the hospital.”
Robin Schwartz, executive director of Aqua Foundation for Women and no relation to Elizabeth, calls Randolph “a voice for our community within a system in which we don't typically have access.”
Randolph will be honored Friday with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Past Chair Award. He served as chamber chairman from 2004 to 2006.
“When I was there, I definitely represented a change of what Miami Beach is today,” says Randolph, 45, who grew up in Oklahoma and moved to the Beach in 1990 after graduation from University of Tampa.
“Professionally, I’ve been out, technically, since 1990, when I started my career,” Randolph said. “I definitely saw the effects -- it was better to be quiet than to be overtly out. I would sit in meetings amongst executives and listen to the commentary that wasn’t always in favor of our community.”
Randolph says his career “has been built on the renaissance, the people who have moved to Miami Beach.”
“I represent what Miami Beach is today,” he says.”
South Florida’s business community has changed dramatically since Randolph moved to town. Now, diversity is order of the day.
“The community and the world are broken up by age, income, the African-American community, the gay-and-lesbian community, the Jewish community, whatever it is,” Randolph says. “We’re just another part and I think that people have recognized it’s significant. The spending power is there and why not be a part of it? You’ll either be with us or against us. Those that are against us, that speaks for itself. In the U.S., the tide has changed.”
Randolph, who is partnered with Miami accountant Steven Rodriguez, says that when he became chamber chairman, some members looked skeptically at his leadership.
“When I became chair in 2004, I was the youngest chair. I was the first gay chair. A lot of the past chairs were born and raised in Miami Beach. They went to Miami Beach and were born in either St. Francis or Mount Sinai Hospital. I wasn’t,” he said.
Today, he said, sexual orientation means little in the Beach business community.
“It’s such a non-issue,” he said. “When I became chair, there was a lot of chatter. I had to prove myself. But I didn’t care about the chatter because I knew what I was doing was right and I knew I could make an impact. And it worked.”
Among his accomplishments:
“When I was chair, we brought in Hillary Clinton to speak. That brought 800 people to Miami Beach Convention Center,” Randolph said. “I created Ladies Who Lunch, the women’s council. It was an opportunity for women to come together. We limited it to 50 people to attend the lunch.Many of those lunches, I was the only guy there, as the chair.”
Randolph still serves on the Beach Chamber’ executive board of governors and its board of governors.
“We’ve been impactful in providing value and representing business on the Beach,” he said. “We’ve been super effective and have been a voice in all aspects -- working with the hotel industry, working with the hospital, the city of Miami Beach, helping small business.”
If you go
The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Champions of Business Awards Luncheon will be 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at Ritz Carlton South Beach, 1 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach.
This year's Champions of Business Award Recipients include:
Russell Galbut, Crescent Heights
The Aaron B. Perry Innovation in Business Award
Stephanie Ruiz, Media Department II
James McDonnell Outstanding Board of Governor Award
Alan Randolph, C1 Bank
The Past Chair Award
Ken Hendel, Gallery Art
Small Business of the Year Award
The event is open to the public and tickets are available starting at $60 for pillar members, $65 for members, and $70 for guests
Call 305-674-1300 for tickets.