Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group, would like to cordially invite you and your friends to this year’s Greater Orlando Gala, which will be held at The Mezz (100 S. Eola Dr., Orlando) on Friday, November 6 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
At the Gala, attendees can expect delicious hors d’oeuvres (brought to you by John Michael Catering and Events), open bars, live music, and exciting entertainment. Also at the event, Equality Florida co-founder and CEO Nadine Smith will give her “State of the State” address, outlining Equality Florida’s successes in the past year and what needs to be done to secure full LGBT equality in the future.
Also at the Gala, there will be two people recognized for the work they’ve done for LGBT equality locally and statewide. These two people are Pat Padilla and Jeff Voss and they will be receiving the 2015 Voice for Equality awards.
The first Voice for Equality honoree at this year’s Greater Orlando Gala is Pat Padilla. Pat started her advocacy work sixteen years ago when she joined the Central Florida chapter of PFLAG, serving as the chapter’s president for eleven of the past sixteen years. She was instrumental in ensuring that her employer, Symantec, added “gender identity or expression” to the company’s diversity policy, and has worked for many years as a part of the company’s diversity organization, SymPride. She has also been a part of Equality Florida’s Board of Directors for more than ten years, and when she isn’t traveling all over the state in the name of LGBT equality, she can be seen volunteering with the Orlando Youth Alliance (oya!) and the Zebra Coalition.
The second Voice for Equality Honoree is Jeff Voss. Jeff Voss was instrumental in starting the Zebra Coalition, after noticing that there were not safe houses, or for that matter, many resources, for LGBT youth who had been disowned by their parents and were made homeless. The Zebra Coalition now works to help all homeless and disadvantaged youth (termed “LGBTQ+”) in Central Florida, providing a number of services such as temporary housing, job referrals, mental health aftercare, and much more. As a business leader in Orlando, Jeff has worked hard to secure financial support for the Zebra Coalition and other projects. He is also an advocate for greater diversity in the workplace, which has led to quite a few milestones that we in the Florida LGBT community have celebrated over the years.
Tickets to the gala are $100 per person, or $50 per person with a valid student ID. Sponsorship opportunities are also available for people and organizations willing to donate at least $500. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please call (407) 376-8401. To buy your tickets, visit eqfl.or . You will not receive a paper ticket; your name will be held at the door the night of the event for verification purposes instead.
Hotspots Media Group is proud to support Equality Florida at a number of gala events across the state each year. Statewide corporate sponsors include presenting sponsor PNC Bank, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Florida Blue, MPW, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Front of the House, C1 Bank, U.S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Tech Data, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, Regions Bank and SunTrust Bank.
For more information on the Greater Orlando Gala or for more information on Equality Florida in general, please visit their website at eqfl.org.
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