Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Like a shiny unicorn, the gay mafia does exist! (and other homo business advice)

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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I have a secret to tell you: The “gay mafia” is real. I know because I met them a few weeks ago.

In early August, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) held its annual conference in Philadelphia. Targeted at both LGBTQ+ owned businesses as well as the purchasing professionals for many Fortune 500 companies, the event was a combination of educational sessions to run your business better to focusing on how to more effectively engage with minority vendors. The conference was strongly attended by many members of Central Florida’s Metropolitan Business Association (MBA), our local LBGTQ+ Chamber of Commerce (who awesomely won Chamber of the Year in 2017).

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Come Out With Pride announces new board president

By : Jeremy Williams
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New Come Out With Pride board president Jeff Prystajko.

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced the appointment of Jeff Prystajko as the board’s new president March 19 after Brian Riha completed his two-year term in the same position.

Prystajko has been with COWP for several years, most recently serving as director of marketing and communications. He has also held leadership positions with both the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA Orlando) and the Human Rights Campaign in Orlando.

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MBA Orlando introduces new board of directors

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Metropolitan Business Association announced their 2018 board of directors at a reception held at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando Jan. 27.

MBA Orlando Executive Director Kellie Parkin spoke to the event’s attendees before introducing them to the board.

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Watermark’s Top headlines of 2017

By : Watermark Staff
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2017 was a roller coaster of a year. Our highs were marked with great achievements and big celebrations, and our lows were filled with the passing of great LGBTQ leaders and fear-filled headlines we thought we would never read.

Below we look back on the top 5 LGBTQ headlines out of Central Florida, Tampa Bay, from the state of Florida and across the nation, and the world.

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PHOTOS: MBA celebrates 25th anniversary at Celebration Gardens

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Metropolitan Business Association celebrated 25 years with a social gathering and awards presentation at Celebration Gardens in Winter Park Nov. 30.

Debbie Simmons, owner of Shelbie Press and the MBA’s first board president, shared stories and photos from the past 25 years before other past board president’s handed out certificates to individuals, groups and organizations that have been a part of the MBA over the last quarter century.

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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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