The Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce has chosen 5 outstanding members to receive the inaugural Chamber Hero Award. The awards will be presented by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean J. Trantalis at a luncheon event which takes place at the new Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery on September 5th. The event is sponsored by Capital One. Everyone is welcome, but advance registration is required. The 2019 Chamber Hero Awards will be presented to:

  • Jungle Queen Riverboats – Jeffrey Kaplan
  • Northwestern Mutual Striano Financial Group – Linda Buccilli
  • Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau – Richard Gray
  • Freedom Travel – Richard Safaty
  • Reyka Vodka – Paola London

We asked, Keith Blackburn, President & CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce to tell us a bit about the honorees and he said: 

“Jungle Queen Riverboats has shown support for our chamber and the LGBT+ community by hosting our annual holiday parties for the past 3 years in a row. The 4th one is scheduled for this December. Not only has Jungle Queen Riverboats donated the boat and crew, but Jeff and his team have always been there to greet our members and to personally assist” 

“Linda and Northwestern Mutual has supported the chamber and is the exclusive presenting sponsor of our quarterly breakfast events. Linda has been an amazing ally to our community. In addition to the chamber, she has supported fundraisers, like the annual Bowling to Fight Hunger, Florida AIDS Walk and more.  

“Our partnership with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau – CVB is critical to our tourism-related efforts. The CVB partnership supports our chamber and our LGBT+ Visitor Center. With the CVB’s partnership and Richard’s personal commitment, along with the full support of his CEO, Stacy Ritter we have been able to make a huge impact” 

“Soon after Freedom Travel joined the chamber, we were strategizing how to create a unique experience while raising money for the chamber.  Rich quickly got approval from Celebrity Cruises to host a Sunday lunch on the Celebrity Silhouette. This event was used to showcase our first chamber cruise, which sets sail on September 7th on the Celebrity Equinox” 

“I first met Paola in 2015 when I was planning the Welcome Reception for the NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference, which took place in Fort Lauderdale. The event was huge with 1000+ expected attendees. Paola and her team donated the product and created an amazing and unforgettable Reyka Waterfall. That event led to our ongoing partnership, with Reyka Vodka as our monthly mixer sponsor” 

Purchase tickets to the GFLGLCC luncheon.