Chamber’s holiday celebration to honor community leaders

By Matthew Beatty….
Now in its fifth year, the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce (M-DCC) once again will host its starstudded event of the season. The Annual Gala, taking place Dec. 4 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Miami, will welcome more than 700 business, political and civic leaders to “Make Business Magic,” a theme promoting collaboration and building strong partnerships for success in a prosperous 2011.

“It’s the event of the season, and we have more in store this year than ever before,” said Alvin West, board member of the Miami-Dade Chamber and chairman of the Fifth Annual Gala. “Everyone should get excited, because this will be one magical evening of fun and wonder they will not want to miss.”

The chamber’s tradition of honoring South Florida’s outstanding leadership continues this year as Congresswoman Carrie Meek, noted community leader Albert Dotson Sr., and former publisher of the Miami Herald and philanthropist David Lawrence will be recognized for their dedication to improving the community.

Recipients of the H.T. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award, Distinguished Service Award and Citizen of the Year Award, respectively, each will receive an exciting video tribute at the gala and be present to accept their award.

Kicking off festivities, the chamber is hosting the Making Business Magic Toy Drive benefiting underprivileged children affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Presented in partnership with the Belafonte Tacolcy Center, Little Haiti Optimist Club and Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens, toys brought to Tacolcy Center and Antioch Church drop-off locations will ensure holiday joy for displaced children still living in Haiti and South Florida families in need.

Also, the gala’s online auction is in fullswing featuring weekend getaways, luxury hotel stays, and even special events with Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning. Online bidding will wrap up at the gala with a live auction for big-ticket items, so everyone is encouraged to get in on the excitement early.

“The gala this year is much more than an event — it’s a season of giving and empowering our community and businesses so everyone has a bigger and better 2011,” said Bill Diggs, the chamber’s president and CEO. “From the auction and toy drive to our Business Empowerment Seminars and monthly networking mixers, we want to add real value for our members and continue to set the standard for successful, win-win chamber experiences.”

The Miami-Dade Chamber has been busy this year carving out opportunities for minority business owners across the region. Billion-dollar public projects like the Port of Miami Tunnel and new Florida Marlins stadium have and will provide a business boost to chamber members due to the staff’s tireless work.

Founded in 1974 and now the largest minority chamber in South Florida, the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce leads the way towards long-term business prosperity by providing advocacy, networking, resources, and training to business men and women in the region.

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