2018 Business of Pride Awards

Originally conceived at the 10th anniversary of what was then known at the Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Business of Pride Awards celebrated leaders in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied business community working to create a more diverse and prosperous Central Texas. The group, now known as the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, continued this tradition this past Saturday evening with PROUD!, its annual Austin LGBT Business Awards Gala, in the ballroom of the newly opened The LINE Austin Hotel in downtown Austin overlooking Lady Bird Lake and the Congress Avenue Bridge.

PROUD! 2018 emcees KVUE anchor Quita Culpepper (left) and Spectrum News Austin meteorologist and ALGBTCC board member Rich Segal (right)PROUD! 2018 emcees KVUE anchor Quita Culpepper (left) and Spectrum News Austin meteorologist and ALGBTCC board member Rich Segal (right) / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Emmceed by Spectrum News Austin meteorologist and ALGBTCC board member Rich Segal along with KVUE anchor Quita Culpepper, this year’s event also featured Dr. Sarah Weddington, the attorney who argued Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court, as the keynote speaker.

PROUD! gala keynote speaker Dr. Sarah Weddington / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR

Formerly the Business of the Year award, the Business Person of the Year award is now given to the LGBTQ business person that has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to their organization, as well as the ALGBTCC and the LGBTQ and allied business community. Previous winners of the former Business of the Year award include The Staging Guy (2017) and The Great Outdoors (2016).

Winner: Todd Hogan

Quita Culpepper presenting Todd Hogan the 2018 Business of the Year AwardQuita Culpepper presenting Todd Hogan the 2018 Business of the Year Award / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Your verifiable jack-of-all-trades, Todd Hogan has worked in media marketing in sales in Austin for over a decade and has been a lifelong, active supporter of the nonprofit community working side by side many well known names in Austin including Broadway in Austin, KMFA Classical Music, Zachary Scott Theatre. Todd has been an executive for top media companies including Clear Channel Communications, Infinity Broadcasting, Border Media, and Univision where he has a track record of success in creating unique, results-oriented marketing solutions for multiple radio brands and their clients

Other nominees:

  • Stefanie Collins, Attorney at Law
  • Mia Parton, Aeparmia Engineering / Women’s Alliance for Leadership
  • Carlos Rivero, El Chile Group
  • Rodney Stoutenger, Native Edge Landscaping

RISING STAR AWARD

The chamber debuted its Rising Star Award, given to an LGBTQ business professional or entrepreneur under 35 who has demonstrated serious business acumen, and an innovative drive that has benefited their organization and the LGBTQ community.

Winner: Mia Parton

2018 Rising Star Award winner Mia Parton2018 Rising Star Award winner Mia Parton / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

An accomplished engineer by trade, Mia Parton was appointed by the Austin City Council to serve on the Water and Wastewater Commission. She has been actively involved in the Central and North Texas areas as an advocate for the LGBTQ Community. In 2010, Mia founded Women’s Alliance for Leadership (WAL), a statewide non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering LGBTQ women in Texas by offering accessible leadership workshops, awarding scholarships and honoring women leaders in the community. Mia embraces her diverse background as Muslim, Middle-Eastern/Asian, and lesbian.

Other nominees:

  • Cambriae Bates, AIDS Services of Austin
  • Juan Benitez, The Q Austin / ME. I AM JUAN.
  • Nicole Conger, Attorney at Law
  • Tarik Daniels, Author

MEMBER OF THE YEAR

Presented to an LGBTQ or allied business owner and member of the Austin LGBT Chamber, the Member of the Year awardee has shown innovation in their business practices resulting in the advancement of their organization and advances the mission, goals and purpose of the ALGBTCC resulting in a positive impact for the LGBTQ business community. Previous recipients include Art Diva Creative (2017) and The Fowler Law Firm (2016).

Winner: Stefanie Collins

Stefanie Collins at the 2016 Austin PRIDE Festival.Stefanie Collins at the 2016 Austin PRIDE Festival. / photo credit: Stefanie Collins, Attorney at Law / drivelegaltx.com

A fervent advocate of the LGBT community as a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer, Stefanie Collins specializes on representing those who are marginalized and stigmatized by the criminal justice system.

Other nominees:

  • Alfred’s Catering
  • Cynergy Data Texas
  • Nicole Conger, Attorney at Law
  • Mia Parton, Aeparmia Engineering / Women’s Alliance for Leadership

CECI GRATIAS GUARDIAN AWARD

Formerly the Nonprofit of the Year award, the Ceci Gratias Guardian Award was renamed to honor the chamber’s first President and CEO — Ceci Gratias — and is given to an individual or non-profit organization that exemplifies Ceci’s spirit in giving tirelessly in order to positively affect the health, happiness and general welfare of those in the Central Texas LGBTQ community. Former winners of the Non-Profit of the Year award include Leap to Success (2017) and Austin PRIDE (2016).

Winner: Texas Health Action

Texas Health Action Treasurer Christopher Adams (left), CEO Christopher Hamilton (center) and Kind Clinic Executive Director Joe McAdams (right) accepting the 2018 Ceci Gratias Guardian AwardTexas Health Action Treasurer Christopher Adams (left), CEO Christopher Hamilton (center) and Kind Clinic Executive Director Joe McAdams (right) accepting the 2018 Ceci Gratias Guardian Award / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Texas Health Action supports programs and sexual health clinics with an emphasis on HIV prevention. It’s signature program, KIND Clinic is a full service sexual health and wellness clinic dedicated to the treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including access to the HIV prevention treatment, PrEP and PEP, as well as gender care services.

Other nominees:

  • AIDS Services of Austin
  • Austin Baptist Women
  • Out Youth
  • Courtney Santana, singer-songwriter / Survive2Thrive
  • Chuck Smith, Equality Texas

CORPORATE ALLY AWARD

Also debuting this year, the Corporate Ally Award is given to a corporate partner who has shown exemplary support to the Central Texas LGBTQ business community and the chamber.

Winner: Starbucks

Starbuck's Pride Alliance Network marching in the Austin PRIDE paradeStarbuck’s Pride Alliance Network marching in the Austin PRIDE parade. / photo credit: Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Other nominees:

  • Apple
  • RSM
  • Indeed
  • Wells Fargo

AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR

Selected by the veteran members of the Ambassador Committee, since taking the reins Paola Aguillon has shown persistence, accountability and class working to increase the value of the Ambassador Program and thereby the value of the Chamber to its members. Previous recipients of the Ambassador of the Year award include Stephanie Emory (2017) and Becky Clark (2016).

2018 Ambassador of the Year award winner Paola Aguillon2018 Ambassador of the Year award winner Paola Aguillon / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

JIMMY FLANNIGAN LEADERSHIP AWARD

Named after its first recipient, former ALGBTCC board chair and current Austin City Council member, the Jimmy Flannigan Leadership Award has been given to a chamber board or staff member that has demonstrated outstanding achievement, unwavering dedication and service to the chamber and Austin’s LGBTQ community. Previous winners of the chamber’s leadership award include former board chair Amy Cook (2017) and the current board chair Chase Kincannon (2016).

Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Chase Kincannon introducing the 2018 Jimmy Flannigan Award winner as the award namesake Austin City Council member and former ALGBTCC board chair Jimmy Flannigan (right) looks onAustin LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Chase Kincannon introducing the 2018 Jimmy Flannigan Award winner as the award namesake Austin City Council member and former ALGBTCC board chair Jimmy Flannigan (right) looks on / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

“I met this board member some years ago during a Pride event, and somehow duped her into the idea that board service was both easy and fun,” said Kincannon when introducing the recipient. “During the early days of the Ambassador program, there was always one board member that I could count on to be there to help me cut that damn rainbow ribbon. Her hand was always up when it came time in a board meeting to determine who would show up early, stay late, or spearhead a project (that Pride float was the tits). She revitalized and recreated the Agenda from scratch. She has always been my number one supporter and bulldog when needed to whip volunteers into shape or otherwise make sure things got done.

“But more importantly, this person is the epitomic example of acceptance, kindness, inclusion, and community building. Tonight we give the Jimmy Flannigan award, for the first time, to a straight ally. I hope this award and its recipient continue to inspire our Chamber, our community, and our city to work together and love one another, no matter our differences.

“I’m proud to give the 2018 Jimmy Flannigan Award to my friend, Shannon Mantrom.”

Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Chase Kincannon (left), 2018 Jimmy Flannigan Award winner Shannon Mantrom (center) and Austin City Council member for District 6 Jimmy Flannigan (right)Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Chase Kincannon (left), 2018 Jimmy Flannigan Award winner Shannon Mantrom (center) and Austin City Council member for District 6 Jimmy Flannigan (right) / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

2018 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

The event also served as a fundraiser for the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation, providing educational grants to deserving LGBTQ residents of the Austin metro area. These scholarships help any LGBTQ person of any age to develop skills and become more successful. This year’s recipients were Jamika Shivers and Joshua Sanchez. Shivers is working towards a degree in social work with the ultimate goal of opening a health clinic for LGBTQ youth, while Sanchez is working towards a Masters in Special Education.

2018 Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation scholarship recipients Jamika Shivers and Joshua Sanchez accepting their educational grants / photo credit: Jana Birchum / Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

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