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Steve Adkins, president of Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, talks tourism

BY HANNAH SAMPSON
HSAMPSON@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Steve Adkins worked in banking for more than two decades, including roles in corporate finance, where “we built our relationships personally.”

As the industry changed, that personal touch disappeared. And so Adkins, a native of San Diego who had attended college and spent his career there, decided to move to South Beach to pursue a career in something that requires personal engagement: hospitality.

He bought a bed and breakfast in 1999, the Jefferson House, and woke up every morning at 5 a.m. to cook breakfast for his guests. He sold the property in 2005.

“It was an amazing experience, however exhausting,” said Adkins, 56. “Everyone’s dream is to open a bed and breakfast. Be careful what you wish for.”

After buying the property, which attracted gay and lesbian travelers, he maintained the previous owner’s membership in the organization that preceded the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Adkins was concerned that the Miami Beach-based nonprofit wasn’t participating in many activities or involving large corporations. He became president of the organization, which had about 50 paid members, in 2006. Now the membership count tops 700.

Adkins was appointed to the Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority (VCA), which awards grants funded by city resort taxes to tourism-driving events, in January of 2009. He became chairman in February and will serve until 2015, his last year on the advisory panel.

Click here to read the Q&A with Adkins.

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