The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 110th year of connecting partners for economic growth at the Signature Grand, in Davie, on February 6, 2020. More than 400 business and community leaders gathered for the Chamber’s Annual Meeting presented by Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The yearly gathering serves as the platform to celebrate the prior year’s accomplishments, thank retiring Directors, welcome the Chamber’s new Board and recognize some of our community’s champions.
Chamber President and CEO Dan Lindblade led off the luncheon by congratulating everyone in the room for playing a key role in creating an environment that allows businesses to thrive.
“What a history we’ve had, going from a spring break to a five-star visitor destination. We’re actually the 12th largest economy in the United States,” Lindblade said. “We built it and people are coming here in droves, so it means a lot to Chamber members and our community. We couldn’t have done it without the help of all the companies and volunteers.”
Each Annual Meeting also serves as the stage for the formal installment of the year’s new Chair of the Board. Before officially ending her tenure as Chair, Suzanne Bogdan, Managing Partner of Fisher Phillips’ Fort Lauderdale office, provided a summary of 2019’s accomplishments and the initiatives requiring much more work to ensure our community’s economic vitality.
“We formulated three main goals for the Chamber that we know are long-term and necessary for our community: connecting education and workforce to fill needed positions; workforce housing’ and workforce transportation.”
Bogdan also took time to thank her predecessor, Juliet Roulhac, Director of Corporate External Affairs for Florida Power & Light Company, who was 2018 Chair of the Board. Suzanne awarded Juliet with the 2019 Chair’s Award, in appreciation for her guidance and countless hours of dedication in serving as a Chamber leader.
Bogdan then introduced her successor, 2020 Chair of the Board Bill Feinberg, Owner of Allied Kitchen and Bath. Feinberg, a well-known philanthropist amongst the Greater Fort Lauderdale business community, is looking to spread his message on ways to build business through philanthropy and creating strong connections.
“We’re the oldest business organization in Broward County. The Chamber has helped me grow my business immensely.” Feinberg added, “…there are so many issues that we face here in Broward County and I think as a Chamber we are a strong group. Together, we can achieve so much more.”
While excitement was palpable in the room, the event was also filled with emotion. It was hard to find a dry eye in the room, as Heidi Dennis, former General Manager of the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, was announced as the recipient of this year’s “Carolyn M. Michaels, IOM Leadership Award.” Dennis accepted the award, which is given to a servant leader who exemplifies selflessness and commitment to our community.
Dennis, who has taken on a courageous battle with cancer, thanked all of those who have supported her in her fight and acknowledged all those who had made an impact on her life and career, which has taken her around the world.
Being Broward County’s longest standing business organization, the Chamber also reflected on its past at its 110th Annual Meeting. Introducing its “Past Chair’s Award,” Stephen Moss, Partner at Holland & Knight and former Chair of the Chamber Board, was selected as the inaugural recipient of the award. Moss, a Vietnam veteran, was selected for his dedication to Greater Fort Lauderdale and staunch support of United Way of Broward County’s “Mission United” program. Moss’ firm has also provided more than $1.1 million in pro bono legal services to the United Way of Broward County.
Each year, the Chamber also acknowledges the legacy of Terry Stiles, by awarding the “Terry Stiles South Florida Leadership Award.” The honor is bestowed upon an individual who has gone above and beyond to serve Greater Fort Lauderdale over the course of his or her career. This year’s recipient was Charley Caulkins, Partner at Fisher Phillips. Caulkins was recognized for his steadfast leadership and volunteerism in the community.
The event concluded with an exceptional presentation by presenting sponsor, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Erin Kobetz provided incredible insight on the innovation and breakthroughs that led to Sylvester receiving an NCI Designation, which is explained in the video included here.
About the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce
Established in 1910, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce has been committed to serving the business community and helping promote future economic development in South Florida. The Chamber currently consists of nearly 1,200 member organizations located across the tri-county area. Providing nearly 2,000 programs, products and services on an annual basis, the Chamber serves as an advocate for job growth, workforce development, international trade, transportation solutions and coastal resiliency.