11.16.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Thanksgiving has a long history of being my least favorite holiday. The reason is simple: turkey sucks! There, I said it. It’s ok to have a different opinion, but I’m right. No offense to my mother, but it’s always dry. It isn’t her fault. There isn’t enough water in the ocean to make turkey moist. My childhood memories of Thanksgiving involve two ounces of turkey swimming in four cups of gravy. Not even gravy could save Thanksgiving.

There is one exception to this rule and that is the Thanksgiving sandwich at PomPom’s Tea House and Sandwicheria. They have locations in both St. Pete and Orlando, so check it out. This is not a paid advertisement nor do I expect free sandwiches in return. It’s just that good and needs to be mentioned in any discussion I have about Thanksgiving. I digress.

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Award-Winning Community: MBA celebrates 25 years at annual Pride Gala Business Awards

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Metropolitan Business Association celebrated 25 years, as well as the recognition of being named the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber of the Year, at their annual Pride Gala Business Awards for 2017 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando Nov. 4.

The community was dressed to the nines as they honored the best in LGBTQ business in Central Florida.

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MBA celebrates 25 years at annual Pride Gala Business Awards

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Metropolitan Business Association celebrated 25 years, as well as the recognition of Chamber of the Year, at their annual Pride Gala Business Awards for 2017 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando Nov. 4.

Hosting again this year was the dynamic duo of Jorge Estevez and Miss Sammy who brought plenty of laughs and charm (and not to mention some pretty good dance moves).

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MBA’s Pride in Business Awards Gala moves to November

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Annual Metropolitan Business Association’s Pride in Business Awards Gala, originally scheduled for Oct. 7, will be moved to Nov. 4 from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m., with a sponsor reception beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Rosen Shingle Creek.

“There were some limitations for the original date that would have prohibited us from putting on the kind of show that the MBA attendees have become accustomed to,” Gala Committee Co-Chair Deb Ofsowitz says. “On top of that, when Irma came though, it hindered some of the vendors.”

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Orlando’s Overheard: Love, honor and remember

By : Anonymous
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Love is Love

Earlier this year we mentioned that MegaCon Orlando —the Southeast’s largest comics, sci-fi and gaming event —in conjunction with comic book writer Marc Andreyko of DC Comics hosted the “Love is Love” fundraiser in honor of the victims from the Pulse tragedy.

Andreyko, you may recall, was the project organizer for the graphic novel Love Is Love, the oversize comic containing tributes to the victims of Pulse and celebrating the LGBTQ community.

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NGLCC celebrates 15 years with a conference in Vegas

By : Natalia Caballero
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LAS VEGAS | The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, or NGLCC, is celebrating its 15th year of bringing together LGBTQ businesses and professionals together with the 2017 International Business & Leadership Conference in Las Vegas Aug. 1-4.

Founded in 2002, The NGLCC began when Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell realized no one had really considered the economic equality of LGBTQ people or the impact economics could have on the equality movement, according to the NGLCC website.

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Orlando’s Metropolitan Business Association receives award from National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

By : Billy Manes
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“Even though we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, most of the rest of the community doesn’t know that we exist,” Metropolitan Business Association executive director Kellie Parkin says.

That may not be exactly true. For more than two decades, the organization has been bridging ideological and business-oriented gaps between small and large businesses alike, finding common threads for economic growth within those operations while projecting an inviting atmosphere that surpasses just tolerance across the Greater Orlando region.

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Keep it Together: MBA President Lu Mueller-Kaul on community building amid crises

By : Billy Manes
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You wouldn’t take Lu Mueller-Kaul for the shy type but she is remarkably thoughtful. Mueller-Kaul, who joined the Metropolitan Business Association, eventually, becoming its president in 2015, understood that business requires communication.

“I was involved in the Referral Exchange Development Group (RED) before, and that was really why I became part of the MBA,” she says. “I was so awkward about running a business and promoting a business, that I thought, ‘OK, I could do something to learn this.”

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Transgender Day of Remembrance to be held at Valencia East on Nov. 17

By : Billy Manes
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For each the last few years the trans community has been celebrating its way through the hatred and sadness and doing so together in late November. Just as a reminder, tomorrow is Orlando’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) and, given the murders of trans folk this year – and the current climate of hatred – we thought you’d might like to join your brothers and sisters in seeing how far they have come. Here’s the info. Hope you can make it. This one is going to be huge.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which occurs annually on November 20, is a day to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

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Issue 23.18: A State of Healing

By : Jake Stevens
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The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is back on both sides of the bay with films to heal and celebrate the LGBT community, MBA Orlando wins an award, dissenters of LGBT Pride month raise their voices in Hillsborough, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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Words To Live By: Passion

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

I would be remiss if I didn’t start this column out by thanking the Metropolitan Business Association for bestowing upon me the honor of Business Man of the Year. I have a great passion for what we do at Watermark and a great deal of love for the staff and the community we serve. It is an incredible feeling to be recognized for doing something you love to do.

I am a huge fan of events akin to the MBA’s Pride Gala and Watermark’s WAVE Awards, because they draw attention to those in the community that have a great deal of passion. Having passion for your community and channeling that passion into volunteer work or the advancement of others is what I like to call using your powers for good.

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Issue 23.11: Orlando’s Big Gay Weekend

By : Jake Stevens
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FEEL THE BERN(hard): Sandra Bernhard brings her politics, music and inimitable attitude to Orlando, Orlando’s Big Gay Weekend is has arrived, Brevard Schools anit-discrimination protections headed to final vote, transgender performer found dead in Haines City, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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