Published by the Orlando Business Journal on November 29, 2012
In early August, the Metropolitan Business Association Orlando — Central Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender chamber of commerce — was awarded the Rising Star Award from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Corporate Development Director Jason Holstein and his team were at the forefront of making that possible.
MBA Orlando is on pace to triple its membership and quadruple total revenue by the end of 2012. Among the group’s large corporate members: Wells Fargo, TD Bank, Darden Restaurants and Walt Disney World Resort, among others.
Because of his hard work, Holstein was invited to attend the White House Office of Public Engagement’s Emerging LGBT Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., in September, the first in history. This included a tour of the White House and the opportunity to hear what various government agencies are doing to be more LGBT inclusive.
The summit concluded with a reception at Vice President Joe Biden’s home, where Holstein had the chance to meet more than 160 LGBT emerging leaders from 35 different states. “It was encouraging to hear a national leader talk about how we, our rights and our relationships matter,” said Holstein.
Basic philosophy: An LGBT-inclusive and welcoming community is in the economic interests of big businesses, small businesses and residents of Central Florida.
Best way to stay competitive: Studying what other organizations offer for member benefits and being familiar with the needs of our members
What motivates me: Knowing the work our chamber does helps create a more inclusive and welcoming Central Florida community
Best business decision made: Continuously asking members what they wanted from the organization and delivering on a category-exclusive networking group, quarterly luncheons and an annual Pride in Business Awards Gala
Best advice received: Having the vision is great, but sometimes it may be better to undersell it and over-deliver.
In a moment of weakness, I: Reach for chocolate
What keeps me awake at night: Emails, reports and project planning
If I could pick any other job, I’d be a: Diversity and inclusion director for a Fortune 1000 company. Or a professional golfer.
Craziest dare: “Borrowing” a bronze statue of a college’s mascot after a fraternity initiation reception and driving it eight hours back to Gainesville before eventually returning it to campus security
Proudest business moment: Meeting Stuart Milk, a human rights activist and founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, when he hosted our chamber’s inaugural Pride in Business Awards Gala this year
Pet peeve: People who will never do business with LGBT people or organizations simply because our sexual orientation or gender identity is different from their own
Favorite movie: Milk
Favorite indulgence: Good sushi
Favorite sports teams: Yankees, Giants, Gators, Knicks and Magic
Favorite band: Matchbox Twenty
Most interested in meeting: Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple
I’d like to: Complete the tennis Grand Slam by visiting Wimbledon, the French Open and the Australian Open sites.
Favorite places to eat: Funky Monkey Wine Co., Bananas Diner, Seasons 52 and Hamburger Mary’s