Nashville LGBT Chamber announces its 2014 Excellence in Business Award winners

The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrated the winners of the 2014 Excellence in Business Awards presented by CURB Records. Over 250 guests filled the Capitol Ballroom at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown.

Jim Robert won the Rhubarb Theater Leadership in the Arts Award. Jim is the Executive Director of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble. Jim led ALIAS to unprecedented success last year including 3 Best of Nashville... awards which included collaborations with the Nashville Opera and Nashville Ballet. ALIAS donates all of the proceeds from its concerts to local Non-Profit organizations.

The winner of the Mark Lee Taylor Community Service Award was Abby Rubenfeld. This was the most competitive category, but Abby Rubenfeldʼs pro bono work just resulted in three same-sex couples gaining equal marriage rights in Tennessee. The attorney and owner of Rubenfeld Law Office also donates her time to Howe vs. Haslam a suit that challenges the constitutionality of HB 600, the Tennessee state law that refuses to allow cities to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the nondiscrimination policies of their contractors. For her 50th birthday, Abby performed in drag to raise money for the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Equality Project, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Brad Pinson followed up the most successful year in his banking career by winning the Samuel Felker Business Leader of the Year. After a promotion from branch manager to Business Banking Relationship Manager, Bradley finished the year as the number one business banker at Fifth Third Bank. Brad is on the Boards of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Nashville CARES, and Sports for All. He is an excellent resource for LGBT Employee Resource Groups.

Another extremely close category was the Ally Award. The winner was Chris Robinette, Financial Planner at Mass Mutual/Capital Financial Group. Chris has been a great ally to the LGBT Chamber. He is a Chairman level member, Gold sponsor of 2013 Tastefully Unpredictable, and actively seeks LGBTBEʼs for suppliers. Chris attended Mass Mutualʼs LGBT Cultural Competency training in order to provide appropriate financial services to the LGBT community with or without DOMA.

The Maria Salas Entrepreneur Award was presented to the publisher of UNITE Magazine Joey Amato. Joey serves on the Board of OutCentral and donates and generates resources for the LGBT community.

The 2014 Corporate Diversity Award went to Nissan. In the last year, Nissan raised their score from 60 to 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. Nissan also launched their Gay-Straight Alliance - GSAN. This business synergy team has been successful getting a variety of teams to work cross-functionally to establish Nissanʼs presence in the LGBT community, provide volunteers and services for events and organizations, and educate and raise awareness inside and outside of Nissan headquarters. Nissan is one of the more innovative corporate partners of the LGBT Chamber, as they are tracking purchases made as a result of their efforts in the LGBT community, and they are already seeing a measurable return on investment.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Barry A. Noland Photography



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