In the last few months of 2009, many of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s most influntial GLBT community leaders began meeting on a monthly basis with one goal in mind: to unite our community and develop a strong and purpose-driven entity.
The LGBT Think Tank was formed out of a need by the GLBT business community to organize itself as one unified voice and address concerns of businesses relating to the future of Greater Fort Lauderdale.
The creators and driving force of the organization include Hotspots Publisher Peter Clark, Sidelines Co-Owner and Marketing Director Jennifer Morales, Broward House PR Director Terry DeCarlo and Liberty Suites Owner Joe Von Eron.
These individuals will not necessarily be leading the group but will be actively involved in the group’s mission.
“I ever been a business organization speaking in a leadership role with a unified voice from a wholly gay perspective,” states Morales. “There is an incredible amount of knowledge, experience, business acumen and leadership potential that has thus far been left untapped. This is simply a way to better harness our common desire to see Greater Fort Lauderdale become the leading gay destination in the country.”
At the group’s initial meeting in November, 100% of the attendees agreed that there is a need for an entity such as this in the community.
Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to the second largest GLBT community in the country, yet many leaders have determined there is a lack of leadership, credibility and planning. One of the first steps of the Think Tank is to form a leadership team, consisting of 16 members of the community, who will create and implement the mission, goals and objectives of the organization.
Peter Clark tells us “The team will be comprised of a cross-section of the community, ranging from business leaders in hospitality to development directors of some of South Florida’s most respected charitable organizations.”
The leaders will be chosen from a dy-namic and diverse group of individuals who have expressed an interest in volunteering their time and creative experience to help drive the success of the organization.
THE COMMUNITY REACTS
Mark Silver, owner of Argenti Jewelers, was enthusiastic about the group’s creation. “First of all, I must commend Peter Clark. He is doing so much for our community. I’ve lived here for 19 years and in that time, the entire GLBT business community has not come together in this manner.”
Silver goes on to explain that “People need to realize that there is more to the Fort Lauderdale business community than just Wilton Manors. Businesses located outside of Wilton Manors have felt left out; I really hope that changes.”
Julian Cavazos, business development executive of the GLBX has one objective in mind. “Our goal shouldn’t be just about making money; but to become an organized unit.” Furthermore, “If we do this right, this group will bring the GLBT community closer together. Right now, it feels like everyone is competing with each other when we should be helping each other.”
Organizers have said one reason for form- ing this group is improve their level of interaction with each other. David Feinberg, South Florida Area Manager of Northwest Savings Bank, is attributing the group’s potential future success to communication. “Board members and other business leaders need to correspond with each other and show sup- port for each other’s endeavors.”
One of the first items on the LGBT Think Tank’s agenda: a new name for the group.