Photo: Bill Warren
Networking enhanced by an innovative app and “pop-up” opportunities for interactive networking are two of the new surprises in store for guests at this year’s Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber Of Commerce (MDGLCC) 16th Annual Gala and Awards Celebration, “THE TOPAZ GALA.” In addition to networking, which is the primary mission of the MDGLCC, “THE TOPAZ GALA” promises an evening of specially curated silent auction items, a lavish grand buffet, entertainment and a Moonlight Networker, all while honoring four individuals and organizations for their long-term commitment to fostering diversity. The fundraiser will take place Saturday, May 13th, at the Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, and will once again be presented by Wells Fargo.
“As the Chamber’s most popular event, we work very hard to create experiences that surpass our guest’s expectations,” said Steve Adkins, MDGLCC president and CEO. “At its core, ‘THE TOPAZ GALA’ was created to unite and build relationships among the leaders of South Florida’s LGBTQ community and the community at-large. This year, we’re incorporating new technology and reviving tried-and-true one-on-one personal interaction opportunities so our crowd of 500 guests will be able to mix, mingle, party and make lasting connections.”
There’s an app for that. The MDGLCC is the only Chamber in Florida utilizing the SOCIO app technology. SOCIO enhances the networking experience by allowing attendees at the Gala to “shake and connect” by shaking their mobile devices and connecting with fellow attendees they would like to meet based on their SOCIO profile. The app also provides mechanisms to take notes, star, and arrange follow-ups to a guest’s favorite connections.
For attendees and organizations who prefer a more old-school personal touch, “THE TOPAZ GALA” will provide an exclusive 15 “interactive pop-up” opportunities. The pop-ups include a space near the ballroom to engage with guests during the evening. In addition to display materials and literature about the organization, each pop-up participant is encouraged to get creative and offer something interactive that will engage guests, make the experience more memorable and create buzz throughout the event about the interactivity. Cost for a pop-up space is $1,000 and includes two admissions to the Gala.
Next to networking, there’s nothing more fun at a gala than shopping. “THE TOPAZ GALA” will be no exception in offering a carefully curated selection of items at its silent auction. The premium items will encompass a wide range in categories — Arts & Culture, Food and Dining, Health and Wellness, Leisure, Retail, Sports, and Travel & Lodging. One of the most exciting items is a seven-night cruise for two aboard a Celebrity Cruises Solstice-class vessel in a verandah stateroom. Itineraries depart from either Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa or San Juan and ports-of-call vary by departure port. Retail value of the cruise is $2,200, and is exclusive of taxes, gratuities and transportation to the ship.
The 16th Annual Gala and Awards Celebration, “THE TOPAZ GALA,” presented by Wells Fargo, starts at 6 p.m. with a reception, silent auction, and interactive pop-up displays which will be followed by a grand buffet, and the awards presentation. A Moonlight Networking soiree sponsored by Jackson Health System rounds out the evening and allows guests to continue making connections while enjoying the open bar by Bacardi, featuring GREY GOOSE® Vodka.
During the Awards Ceremony portion of the evening, “THE TOPAZ GALA” will pay tribute to four award honorees who were selected for their long-term commitment to fostering diversity, as well as for their efforts in contributing to the overall quality of life in South Florida. Being honored at “THE TOPAZ GALA,” will be:
“AT&T Business of the Year Award”
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
“Regions Bank Business Person of the Year Award”
MDGLCC “Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award”
“Morgan Stanley Bob Balsam Civic Achievement Award”
Tickets to “THE TOPAZ GALA” are all VIP again this year, Adkins said. Tickets are $2,000 for tables of 10 or $200 for individual tickets and are available online at www.gaybizgala.com, or by calling (305) 673-4440.
“THE TOPAZ GALA” is the MDGLCC’s principal fundraiser of the year which helps sustain operations and expand the ever-increasing demand for member programming. Presented by Well Fargo Bank, “THE TOPAZ GALA” is produced by the MDGLCC & GALRDON. Major event sponsors include GREY GOOSE® Vodka, AT&T, Morgan Stanley, Regions Bank, American Airlines, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jackson Health System, Roots & Roots, Triverden Creative, DECO Productions, & Prestige Audio Visual. Media sponsors include Miami Herald, Palette Magazine, MY93.9 and Y100.
MDGLCC is the largest not-for-profit corporation in the county for LGBTQ businesses. With membership on the rise, the Chamber’s mission is to promote a unified and thriving, gay and gay-friendly, business and professional community throughout Miami-Dade County. Its goals are to promote networking within the existing gay and gay-friendly business and professional community, to promote business opportunities for Chamber members, to promote Miami as a year-round, gay and gay-friendly tourist destination, to provide resources for its members, and to provide outreach from the LGBTQ community to other organizations.