The Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber Of Commerce (MDGLCC) will honor corporate and individual supporters of the Miami-Dade LGBTQ community at their 16th Annual Gala and Awards Celebration, “The Topaz Gala” on Saturday, May 13, at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Miami. 

Honorees chosen will be recognized for their ongoing support of the LGBT community, as well as their contributions that help improve the overall quality of life for the communities South Florida members. 

Jorge Richa, the Marketing and Programming Director for the MDGLCC, recently spoke to SFGN about what guests and honorees can expect to enjoy at the interactive gala, and what the members of the MDGLCC mean to the LGBTQ community. 

“By becoming part of the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) an individual or business plays a vital role in unifying our diverse community.” Richa told SFGN. “The Chamber allows our members to make unique connections. It is these connections— professional and personal—that make us a stronger, more tightly knit community. And that makes life richer.”

“This event is not your traditional Gala,” Richa said. “Given that we are in the business of promoting business, the architecture and flow of the event has been designed in such a manner to encourage networking and engagement among guests at all times. From the interactive pop-ups and silent auction area, the open access to a grand buffet during the evening, a short awards program, and a Moonlight Networker at the end of the evening, guests will have the opportunity to exchange business cards while having a great time in a festive environment with beverages.”

According to a press release sent out by the MDGLCC, the chamber plans to highlight four keys honorees; Royal Caribbean Cruises (“AT&T Business of the Year Award”), Bill Warren (“Business Person of the Year Award”), ACLU (“Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award”), and Joan Schaeffer (“Morgan Stanley Bob Balsam Civic Achievement Award”).

According to Richa, the honorees all have a few key characteristics in common. 

“This year's honorees are all being recognized as organizations or individuals whose mission adheres to the highest standards in their outreach to the LGBT and allied community.” Richa said. “They have been Chamber members for at least two years, have been active in the LGBT community and have non-discrimination (sexual orientation/gender identity) language incorporated into their human resource policies.”

As per a tradition that was created three years ago, the MDGLCC Gala Committee selects a different color of the rainbow flag for the gala’s theme and elevates the status of that color by interpreting it in its gemstone complement. MDGLCC states the 2017 “topaz” theme signifies synchronicity, good fortune, success. The MDGLCC is encouraging guests to wear a splash of topaz (yellow) to this year’s event.

The 16th Annual MDGLCC gala and awards event takes place on Saturday, May 13, at the Hilton Miami Downtown located at 1601 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. Tickets to this year’s gala come in two forms; a $2,000 package for tables of 10, or $200 for individual tickets. Both versions include the same reserved seating, grand buffet, and open bar.