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Hero of the Month - Alison Avayu, Piccolo Ristorante

Posted by: Website Admin on Thursday, July 28, 2016

Alison Avayu
Piccolo RIstorante

When it came time to select our July/August Hero of the Month, one name was on everyone's lips and it's not so hard to figure out why. Alison Avayu is a true servant leader.

Alison has volunteered for Learning Ally and Special Olympics, and serves on the board of, an international sponsorship program which is headquartered near her hometown. Piccolo specifically sponsors a Philippine student through Unbound.

Piccolo has supported a multitude of non-profits locally including - Ann Storck Center, Junior Achievement, the Tortuga Music Festival, Sea Delight Ocean Fund, the Grid Iron Grill Off (which benefits multiple non profits) and has hosted events for REEF, Grace Place School, FANO, Broward Public Library and 48 Hour Film Festival.

Serving on the Chamber's Oakland Park/Wilton Manors/Uptown Council, Chairing the Lunch Bunch Leads group, and providing breakfast for the NonProfit Business Breakfast, Alison has supported the Chamber's programs and initiatives in many ways. 

Born and raised in Kansas, Alison always felt a calling to sunny South Florida.  After graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in Interior Design, Spanish and Leadership, she spent a few years in Kansas City before making the big move.  Just a few short months after moving, she and Chef Andres ended up working in the same restaurant together.  And as they say, the rest is history.

With a background in leadership, it was an easy transition from the design world to the hospitality industry.  Before opening up Piccolo, Alison spent a few years as assistant manager and bar manager of a couple of different local restaurants.  Her experience in the "front of house" was critical in the creation of Piccolo since it was a match for the talents that Chef Andres brings to the kitchen.

Alison's love for authentic personalized service is evident and one of the driving forces behind Piccolo's "unique dining experience".  You can feel her warmth and passion as she greets and takes care of each guest.  "Ensuring everyone has the perfect dining experience is my ultimate goal" she says.  Make your reservation now and get a taste of the mid-western charm and hospitality that she brings to the table.

July 2016

Posted by: Website Admin on Friday, July 1, 2016

David Black
Berger Singerman, LLP

David has been a member of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce since 2013, and has helped a number of Chamber members with their Business Law matters.

As a member of the Board of Directors, David has the role of shaping the policies and direction of the Chamber. He also assists the Chamber in interpreting the bylaws and ensuring it operates within the parameters of its bylaws. David served as the Curriculum Chair of Leadership Fort Lauderdale in 2015 and was responsible for setting the curriculum of the program and implementing each program day. David continues to assist Leadership Fort Lauderdale in 2016 as a member of the Advisory Committee.

Having completed his B.A., summa cum laude at Rutgers University, David continued his educational career at Boston University School of Law, being awarded J.D., magna cum laude. David’s first job was in the Business Law Department of Goodwin Procter LLP followed by working in the Legal Department of Staples, Inc. David is now a partner at Berger Singerman, LLP – a company who has been a Chamber member since 1989. Berger Singerman, with 80 attorneys, is Florida's business law firm. They are a talented team of forward-thinking attorneys who are passionate, creative problem-solvers who leverage a collaborative approach to give clients a competitive edge. Their attorneys are widely respected and recognized for their exceptional work both in the courtroom and the boardroom.

David has actively participated with non-profit organizations since 2009. He is an Advisory Board Member of The Posse Foundation, and a Board Member of The Underwater Bar Association and Hope House, Inc.

During his free time, David enjoys spending time with his family, travelling, and scuba diving. David also enjoys exercising and golfing.

June 2016

Posted by: Website Admin on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Teresita Garcia-Mendoza

Teresita has been a member of the Lunch Bunch Leads group since October of 2014, and has worked with multiple Chamber business owners to provide their employees additional benefits that provide a financial safety net in case of illness or injury. She has also been a leader in referring and connecting her Lunch Bunch group members with other businesses in order to help grow their respective businesses.

Teresita graduated from FIU in 1989 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and International Business. After managing the financial departments for three global companies, she changed careers and became a Specialty Pharmaceutical Representative for Bristol-Myers Squibb and later with Novartis Pharmaceuticals where she earned multiple sales and leadership awards. Always wanting to own her own business, Teresita took a risk and started her own business in October of 2012 representing Aflac as an Independent Agent. She has made her business a success and has again won multiple awards and recognition for her sales and leadership. Teresita attributes her success to her honesty and customer service. Business owners and policyholders alike can always count on her.

As a Cuban American, Teresita is involved in the organization M.A.R. Por Cuba (Mothers and Women Against Repression for Cuba). This organization works worldwide in bringing to light, and trying to bring about change, regarding the human rights violations that occur on a daily basis under the dictatorship of the Castro Regime in Cuba. In addition, Teresita currently serves as the President of her Condominium Board here in Fort Lauderdale, and is proud of previously being the first female Rear Commodore of the Seabird Yacht Club.

During her free time, Teresita is an avid golfer and skier. She also enjoys boating, traveling, theatre, and sporting events. You may see Teresita at many of the Chamber and Tower Club networking events.

June 2016 Hero of the Month

Posted by: Website Admin on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Casey Seidman
Nova Southeastern University

Casey Seidman is the Public Sector Relations Liaison within the Huizenga Business College at Nova Southeastern University. Casey is active in the local non-profit community as a member of the Florida Association of Non-Profits and Leadership Broward (Emerge Broward). He began his volunteer work in 2005 by volunteering at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts followed by volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in the summer of 2008; where he assisted with putting together a mock political debate for the community. These experiences taught him the value of community service.

As the Public Sector Relations Liaison, Casey is responsible for building relationships with governments and non-profits for the purpose of student recruitment. Casey's other responsibilities include recruiting students for the MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Taxation, and the M.P.A. program. His belief in the power of social justice lead him to convince the Huizenga College at N.S.U. to offer 20% tuition awards to anyone who works in a non-profit. This is both his and N.S.U.'s way of saying "thank you" to the various community organizations that make our county a better place.

Casey received his Master's degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University in 2011 and his B.S. (Magna Cum Laude) in Political Science from Arizona State University in 2009. Prior to his role at Nova Southeastern University, Casey previously served as a Campaign Associate with the United Way of Broward County and before that as a policy analyst on the state relations team at Arizona State University.

Plan to Succeed - And The Winners Are...

Posted by: Website Admin on Friday, May 13, 2016


Friday, May 13, 2016


Plan to Succeed - And The Winners Are...   Upcoming Events
Over 150 community, governmental and business leaders gathered at Lenore's Table at the First Baptist Church yesterday as the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce honored 10 outstanding members at our 2016 Small Business of the Year Awards -- Presented by TD Bank.

"With 60,000 small businesses in Fort Lauderdale, small businesses account for about $13 billion in payroll and 25,000 new jobs. They have been a huge reason unemployment in Broward County is at a low of 4.4%." said City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler,  highlighted the impact of small businesses and the instrumental role they play in the economic development of the city, county, region and state.

This year there were 27 Small Businesses vying for the honor of Small Business of the Year in three categories. After careful and difficult deliberation (the applications this year were outstanding!) three recipients were selected from each category. We also selected our Small Business Person of the Year, who will represent the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce at the Broward County Small Business Person of the Year Awards on May 25th. Tickets are now available for the Broward County Council of Chamber's event and is open to all Chamber members. For more information, contact Doug Frens at 954.462.2570 or

Congratulations to all our honorees!

New Small Business
1-3 years

Small Business
4 +years

Non Profit

Minuteman Press of Wilton Manors  Wizard Creations  The Broward Partnership 
Piccolo Ristorante  Merchant Processing Solutions  Firewall Centers 
Circles Enterprises Inc.  Lightship Media  Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship
Small Business Person of the Year

Yamilet Strauss
Merchant Processing Solutions

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. ” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Our monthly networking events are yet another way to EXPERIENCE. BETTER. BUSINESS. Pick one from one of the upcoming events  or visit us at and Plan to SUCCEED!

Board of Directors/ Trustee Luncheon
Date: May 18, 2016
Time: 11:30 am - 1:30 am
Business Afterhours
Date: May 19, 2016
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Biz Perks
No Biz Perks this month in lieu of the Small Business Awards on May 12th.
AN INSIDE LOOK: How Department of Homeland Security Protects Your Business
Date: May 23, 2016
Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Downtown Council Breakfast
Date: May 26, 2016
Time: 7:30 am - 9:15 am
Date: June 2, 2016
Time: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Leaders Luncheon
Date: June 2, 2016
Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Weston Power Lunch Date: June 3, 2016
Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Non-Profit Business Breakfast
Date: June 8, 2016
Time: 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Trustee Reception
Date: June 8, 2016
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

CEO Cafe Orientation with Dan Lindblade
Date: June 10, 2016
Time: 8:00 am - 9:00 am




Join Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber-security and Communications Gregory J. Touhill as he shares how DHS is acting as your national neighborhood watch system in cyberspace.

This is a first-hand look at the governmental protections in place for your business, plus discussion of the current risks and threats looming on the horizon.  Bring your questions!

Day/Time: Monday, May 23, 2016 ~ 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Location: Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce,512 NE  3rd Avenue, Ft Lauderdale

COST:  $15 (includes lunch)


To submit a potential article, or if you have any questions, please visit
Or contact: Cristina Agnone, 954.462.4139 |

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May 2016

Posted by: Website Admin on Sunday, May 1, 2016

Adrianna Fazzano
Broward College

Adriana Fazzano, Chief of Staff at Broward College, is our Hero of the Month. Adriana is a new board member at the Chamber of Commerce and has engaged many new Broward College employees in a variety of committees and councils. In addition to her leadership at the Chamber Adriana also recently chaired the Executive Director search committee at Rebuilding Together Broward ,where she is also a board member. Her diligent efforts led to the organization securing its new leader. Adriana’s leadership continues with organizations including Leadership Broward ,where she chaired their Fun Lunch event in 2015, and leads the Village Square community conversation. 

Adriana received her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University in 2015 and in 2008 received her BA in History with Distinction from Amherst College. . In 2009, she was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Catania, Italy. 

In her role at Broward College Adriana is responsible for a wide range of matters of institutional importance and for the coordination of designated functions of the Office of the President, including but not limited to: providing leadership and direction for strategic planning and change management initiatives; representing the President in selected internal and external interactions with the Board of Trustees, management, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and various external entities; managing and advising the President on day-to-day operations ensuring efficiency and effectiveness and optimizing the use of available resources; assisting the President in creating a high volume of executive-level communications including talks, speeches, and presentations; serving as the President's Office liaison; responding to inquiries and complaints using resourcefulness in seeking solutions to problems presented within the college or outside of college activities; ensuring the accurate, proper, and timely flow of information to and from the Office of the President in support of recurring and special projects; supporting the work of the senior management team in developing strategy for presidential communications and scheduling; and understand organizational policies and procedures necessary to ensure appropriate decision-making protocols.

May 2016

Posted by: Website Admin on Sunday, May 1, 2016

Regina Santoro

Since 2013 Regina has been a member of the Chamber’s Power Partners leads group. She has been able to help grow the group and the Chamber with new members. Regina is active with community volunteering opportunities: Rebuilding Together Broward 2015 & 2016, YMCA-LA Lee Center and the Broward Coalition to End Homelessness.

Regina started with BankUnited in August of 2010 as a Relationship Banker and was promoted to Assistant Branch Manager in August of 2014. With over 25 years in the Financial Service industry Regina has built long lasting relationships with her clients by offering the best customer service possible and because of her commitment to her clients most business is from referrals.


Plan to Succeed - Celebrating Success

Posted by: Website Admin on Friday, April 1, 2016
Friday, April 1, 2016 Plan to Succeed - Celebrating Success Downtowner of the Year - Courtney Callahan Crush Upcoming Events Join us and over 400 ...

April 2016

Posted by: Website Admin on Friday, April 1, 2016

Adam Alvarado

Edward Jones

Adam has co-chaired the Lunch Bunch Leads group for the past 2 years and plans their monthly Wine & Unwind networking events. He has also contributed to the success of several members allowing them to achieve their financial goals to secure their future. He goes out of his way to create connections and assist those in the Chamber grow their businesses.

Adam Alvarado graduated from FIU in 2004 with a Bachelor in Finance and a Certificate in Banking Studies. After 10 years of supply chain work, he joined Edward Jones as a Financial Advisor in 2012 and most enjoys working with & educating serious, long-term investors on reaching their retirement goals.

Adam is very much involved in our community. He sit on 3 boards, spearheaded and chairs a Young Professionals Group, is co-chair of the Lunch Bunch Leads Group and is an active volunteer with the Kiwanis Club of Oakland Park. When he's not serving our community, he teaches at area gyms several times per week. In his (rare) free time, Adam enjoy cooking, riding bikes with his partner, and listening to all genres of music.

Plan to Succeed - Small Business BIG IMPACT

Posted by: Website Admin on Friday, March 25, 2016
Friday, March 25, 2016 Plan to Succeed - Small Business BIG IMPACT Upcoming Events The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce announces open ...