The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Excellence in Business Awards luncheon April 13 at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Members of Nashville’s LGBT and ally communities were honored for their outstanding achievements before over three hundred attendees.

The board of directors of the Nashville LGBT Chamber, led by Executive Director Lisa Howe, decided to name the Ally Award after Mayor Megan Barry for her ongoing support and dedication to the LGBT community and diversity in Nashville.

The awards luncheon was presented by Curb Records and sponsored by HCA/Tri-Star, Fifth Third Bank, The Bank of Nashville and Nashville Pharmacy Services. Table sponsors included Baker Donelson, Cracker Barrel, Dollar General, Nissan, UBS, Vanderbilt, and Waller.

See PHOTOS from the Excellence in Business Awards

2016 Excellence in Business Award Recipients

Community Service Award - Jim Schmidt - Jim helped with two political campaigns last year, as well as serving on the Finance Committee for Megan Barry for Mayor. He also advised and volunteered for Nancy VanReece for Metro Council. Jim’s community service and support extends to Nashville Pride, Victory Fund, and Just Us at Oasis Center. Schmidt serves as the Corporate Sponsorship Chair for the 2016 Bingham Cup.

Corporate Diversity Award - Baker Donelson - Baker Donelson just received its first 100 score in 2015 up from 80 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. They are the only local law firm to receive this distinction. Baker Donelson partnered with several LGBT non-profit organizations to help organize the 2015 Mayoral Forum for the LGBT community and its allies.

Small Business Diversity Award - GS&F - GS&F is a local pioneer in executing marketing strategies to the LGBT community. Most recently, GS&F received several awards at the 2016 ADDY’s for their More to Youth campaign for the Oasis Center.

Entrepreneur of the Year Award - Jack Davis - JD Events and Festivals manage all aspects of festivals. Davis’ largest growing festivals over the last year were the Tomato Art Festival, Nashville Pride Festival, and Sevier Park Fest. In 2015, festivals run by JD Events and Festivals drew an estimated 150,000 people, a 15% increase from the previous year. The increase in the number of festivals Jack manages led to the addition of a full-time employee and an increase in the number of part-time and seasonal staff to fifteen.

Business Leader of the Year Award - Steve Smotherman - Steve is one of the founders and leaders of the Cracker Barrel LGBT Alliance, which has contributed to the implementation of same-sex spouse benefits, LGBT cultural competency training, and LGBT workplace best practices including transgender policies and accommodations. Steve received a promotion within his position of Management Training & Development. He now speaks at all new hire orientations at Cracker Barrel to welcome new LGBT and ally employees.

Mayor Megan Barry Ally Award - Amy Parker - Amy has volunteered for several successful events and causes over the last year, the highlight was serving as Project Lead for the Shades of Us event, which raised over $13,000 for Just Us at Oasis Center. While at Dollar General, Amy held a leadership position in EQUAL, the LGBT ERG that helped adopt equal benefits policies for same-sex couples.

Leadership in the Arts Award - Nashville Ballet - Nashville Ballet promotes self-expression, acceptance, and understanding through its performances and school. They annually host Night OUT at the Ballet for one of their ATTITUDE performances, where people, regardless of sexual orientation, race, or religion, can step aside from their everyday lives and allow art to transform their lives. Nashville Ballet offers special programs for boys ages three to eighteen where they can pursue their love of dance, no matter what gender stereotypes they face in the world.





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