In his management role at Florida Power & Light, Josue Santiago ensures changing currents is done the proper and respectable way.

“For me, it is very important to pay it forward,” said Santiago, when asked about some of his guiding principles.

Santiago has demonstrated just that in South Florida, editing publications, leading committees and organizing events for the LGBT community. Born in Hialeah and raised in a Jehovah’s Witness family, Santiago credits Pridelines Youth Services for awakening his inner spirit.

“I had been going to the clubs but that just wasn’t fulfilling me,” he said. “Pridelines opened doors for me and broadened my horizons. They showed me another circle to the gay community that someone coming from a sheltered existence does not see.”

Recently, Santiago, 34, took the next step in life by proposing to his boyfriend, Matthew Dzwonkiewicz. He popped the question, in surprise fashion, in front of 700 attendees at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Miami Gala.

“That was so nerve racking,” he admitted. “It was so hard to keep that a secret.”

Matthew said yes and the evening was a further testament to Santiago’s community building skills as the gala raised more than $630,000 for the Task Force.