Wisconsin LGBT Chamber Announces Winners of 2022 Business Awards

by | Sep 23, 2022 | 0 comments

MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce today announced the winners of its 2022 Business Awards, recognizing the contributions made by businesses and individuals in building a stronger LGBTQ and allied business community.

“The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is so proud to recognize these amazing businesses and individuals for the work they are doing to build a more welcoming and inclusive business community in Wisconsin,” said Jason Rae, President & CEO of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “These award recipients truly represent the best of Wisconsin. We are thrilled to be able to turn the spotlight on these deserving companies and individuals and showcase the amazing work they are doing to support LGBTQ and allied businesses in Wisconsin.”

Those businesses and individuals receiving awards this year are:

  • Corporate Partner of the Year: Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
  • LGBTQ Business of the Year: Auntie M’s Creations
  • Allied Business of the Year: Milwaukee Food & City Tours
  • Nonprofit Organization of the Year: Adoption Choice, Inc.
  • Business Resource Group of the Year: Froedtert Health’s LGBTQA Business Resource Group
  • John Ross Pruess Business Leaders of the Year: Deondre Lewis & Myles Hecimovich of Infinity Massage and Bodywork
  • Advocate of the Year: Jennice Samuels, Harley-Davidson Motor Company

“Each of this year’s winners demonstrate a strong commitment to building a diverse business community where all people can thrive,” added Rae. “We are so excited to honor these champions of inclusion.”

The awards will be presented when the Chamber celebrates its 10th Anniversary during its Business Awards & Showcase event, presented by BMO Harris Bank, on the evening of Wednesday, September 28 at the Harley-Davidson Museum. The public is invited to attend. Tickets are available online at www.wislgbtchamber.com/anniversary.

Here are some additional details on each of our 2022 award recipients:

  • Corporate Partner of the Year: Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
    This award is given to an organization that is a corporate member of the LGBT Chamber and has shown a strong commitment to diversity in the workplace and to positively growing the LGBTQ and allied business community. Michael Best joined the Chamber in 2016 and currently serves as a platinum member. Michael Best employees have been active as a part of the Chamber’s Leadership Advisory Council and a participant in the 2022 Business Leadership Academy. They also helped to support the launch of the LGBTQ Entrepreneurial Bootcamp by serving as presenters on business legal structures. In addition, for six straight years, Michael Best has received a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI). Michael Best has been committed to growing the LGBTQ business community in Wisconsin and across the country and have been role models for other corporate partners.
  • LGBTQ Business of the Year: Auntie M’s Creations
    This award is given to an LGBTQ-owned business that is a member of the Chamber, is an active participant in building a more diverse business community in Wisconsin and has a proven track record of success and involvement. Auntie M’s Creations is a nationally certified LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) headquartered in Madison and a passionate advocate for small businesses in Wisconsin. They have participated in multiple LGBTQ community events in their region as a vendor and exhibitor, working to help encourage members of the LGBTQ community to shop and support other LGBTQ businesses. Auntie M’s Creations has been a vocal and proud member of the Chamber serving as an example to others to join and get involved.
  • Allied Business of the Year: Milwaukee Food & City Tours
    This award is given to an allied-owned business that is a member of the Chamber, is an active participant in building a more diverse business community in Wisconsin and has a proven track record of success and involvement. Milwaukee Food & City Tours has been actively involved in the Chamber since joining in 2018. They have participated in multiple events and programs, including the LGBT Chamber’s Hospitality & Tourism Council. In addition, they have helped serve as a model and inspiration to others of how businesses could pivot because of COVID and grow their business. Milwaukee Food & City Tours have been strong allies and vocal champions of inclusion for all people in the business community.
  • Nonprofit Organization of the Year: Adoption Choice, Inc.
    This award is given to a nonprofit organization that is a member of the Chamber, with a proven track record of success and involvement and a commitment to building a diverse community. Adoption Choice, Inc. has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ community. Even prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality in 2015, they were assisting LGBTQ couples through Partner Adoption. A member since 2018, both the staff and board members of Adoption Choice, Inc. have been active and engaged in Chamber events around the state.
  • Business Resource Group of the Year: Froedtert Health’s LGBTQA Business Resource Group
    This award is given to a Business Resource Group (BRG) at one of our corporate partners who works to support and build a culture of inclusion and belonging. Froedtert Health’s LGBTQA Business Resource Group focuses on important initiatives such as workplace, patient care and community engagement needs that impact LGBTQ+ populations. The LGBTBA BRG has played a key role in addressing health care disparities impacting the LGBTQ+ community. They have been active and engaged participants in the LGBT Workplace Alliance, helping support the growth and development of other BRGs across Wisconsin.
  • John Ross Pruess Business Leaders of the Year: Deondre Lewis & Myles Hecimovich
    Named after one the Chamber’s most passionate advocates, this award is given to a hard-working and dedicated individual who has had a positive professional and personal impact on building a diverse business community in Wisconsin. Deondre Lewis & Myles Hecimovich, co-owners of Infinity Massage & Bodywork, a certified LGBTBE, best exemplifies John’s vision and passion for business. Despite the challenges facing businesses during the pandemic, Deondre and Myles were able to expand and grow their business to now three locations, inspiring others along the way. They have been strong and engaged leaders within the Chamber and are true business leaders that other members look up to.
  • Advocate of the Year: Jennice Samuels, Harley-Davidson Motor Company
    This award is given to an individual who has been a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity within the larger business community. Jennice Samuels is the Manager of Business Inclusion at Harley-Davidson. Jennice was a key advisor and champion of the LGBTQ Entrepreneur Bootcamp launched earlier this year, helping the Chamber support development of more diverse owned businesses. Jennice has been a passionate advocate for ensuring inclusion of diverse businesses in procurement across all companies.

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