LGBTQ+ Advisory Board

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ+) Advisory Board 

The mission of the City of Miami’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board is to serve as a vehicle for systematic and periodic assessment and to advise the City of Miami commission for the betterment of quality life of all LGBTQ+ residents and visitors to the City of Miami with mindful care for providing a voice and platform for underrepresented individuals and communities.

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The LGBTQ Advisory Board was voted on and created through an Ordinance by the City of Miami Mayor and Commissioners on February 13, 2020. The full Ordinance is available here.   The LGBTQ+ Advisory Board currently:

·       Serves as a vehicle for systematic and periodic assessment of the quality of life of LGBTQ residents and visitors to the City

·       Fosters mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect for the LGBTQ community in the City

·       Cooperates in the development of educational programs dedicated to the improvement of the lives of LGBTQ residents and visitors by eliciting support from public and private entities engaged in the inculcation of ideals of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding for the LGBTQ community

·       Makes recommendations to the City Commission with respect to all issues affecting or relating to the LGBTQ community

·       Recommends solutions to the social, economic, cultural and political problems in the LGBTQ community, as well as to serve as liaison between the LGBTQ community and the City community at large

·       Encourages and attracts LGBTQ businesses to the City, to assist LGBTQ businesses located in the City, and promotes economic development, especially job creation in the City

·       Promotes positive images and concepts of the LGBTQ community as well as promote their many contributions to our society

·       Conducts studies through fact-finding and analysis of problems encountered by the LGBTQ community

·       Examines and recommends revisions in Miami policies and procedures having potentially negative consequences for LGBTQ individuals

·       Serves as a forum to which individuals and groups can express concerns related to issues of homophobia and transphobia

·       Strengthens ties with the larger Miami community

·       Conducts outreach to other entities and the community, including but not limited to the City's LGBTQ community

·       Performs other duties as may from time to time be assigned to it by the City Commission

CHAIR OF THE BOARD:

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Orlando Gonzales - Executive Director of Safeguarding American Values for Everyone
Appointed by District 3 Commissioner Joe Carollo
orlando@save.lgbt 

Orlando Gonzales, MPA, is the Executive Director of Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE/SAVE Dade). In his current role, Gonzales works to advance SAVE’s mission to promote, protect and defend equality for people in South Florida who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

Prior to joining SAVE, Gonzales was Chief of Staff and Communications Operations Manager at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) in Washington, DC, where he worked on increasing patient and stakeholder engagement in research funding, collaborated to develop a dissemination and implementation framework for research findings, as well as, a process for patient and peer review to help speed up the up take of new information. Throughout his career, Gonzales has been involved with businesses and non-profit organizations with an impact on both the local and national levels. Public service has always been an integral part of his life, focusing on organizations that promote human rights and the educational advancement of people of color and the LGBT community. He has also served on the board of trustees of the Point Foundation and has been an active alum of Georgetown University and of the National Urban Fellows program.

Gonzales earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and a Master of Public Administration with honors from City University of New York’s Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at The Bernard Baruch College in New York City. As a National Urban Fellow, he successfully completed a fellowship at the Aetna Foundation in Hartford, CT. Gonzales who is fluent in Spanish, enjoys spending time with friends and family and exploring cities around the world. He has lived and worked in some of the most vibrant metropolitan places in the United States, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Miami, New York and Washington, DC. During his free time, he appreciates live music, outsider art, food, and wine.

BOARD MEMBERS:

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Damian Pardo - First Horizons Wealth, Senior VP
4Ward Miami (Gay8 Festival), Chair of the Board - Appointed At-Large
pardod@bellsouth.net

With vast experience in wealth management, Damian Pardo began as a corporate banker in the prestigious Southeast Bank training program. He studied at Georgetown and earned his MBA at University of Miami. Pardo moved into wealth management as one of the founders of Gibraltar Bank and later ran private banking at SunTrust. He founded the Pardo Group at Merrill Lynch for 8 years and Morgan Stanley for 10.

The son of Cuban immigrants, Pardo is a known advocate for diversity and inclusion in South Florida and beyond with over 30 years volunteering in efforts to unite communities. He was instrumental in passing the Miami Dade Human Rights Ordinance. Pardo has a long track record as a wealth professional and a community volunteer.  He founded 4Ward Miami in 2015 along with award-winning film producer Joe Cardona, which produces the Gay8 Festival, the 4Ward Gala, and hosts the 4Ward Miami show produced by Miami’s Community Newspapers.

Further, Pardo founded the local advocacy organization SAVE–Safeguarding American Values for Everyone–in 1993 while serving as a two-term President of the largest AIDS Health Organization, CareResource (formerly known as Health Crisis Network).  He served 12 years on the Miami Dade Equal Opportunity Board, the Board of Trustees of the Miami Foundation, and a variety of national and local non-profits. He currently also sits on the Board of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.

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Nicole Alvarez - Law Offices of Nicole Alvarez PA
Appointed by Mayor Francis Suarez
Alvarez@nicolealvarezpa.com

As a lifelong Miami, Florida resident, Nicole Alvarez has been an attorney for over 17 years . She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of South Florida and then went on to graduate from Stetson University’s College of Law in 2005. She immediately went on to be a prosecutor for the Broward State Attorney’s Office where she tried over 50 jury trials in the first chair with numerous misdemeanors, differing degrees of felonies and also capital sex battery cases. In the last three years with that office, she was a sex crimes prosecutor.

Nicole then moved on to a private practice.  After ten years of practicing law and confident with her experience as an attorney, Nicole decided to open her very own practice which specializes in criminal defense, family and immigration. With all her expertise in legal matters she believed in running a practice with the right values for any type of legal representation. Outside of her career, Nicole enjoys giving back to the community and helping others.  She is the Co-Chair of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association as well as on the executive board of Miami Beach Gay Pride and the board of the City of Miami LGBTQ Advisory Board.

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Abigael Mahony - Chief of Staff, City of Miami
Appointed by District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell
amahony@miamigov.com

Abigael Mahony is the previous Chief of Staff for City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell.  She also served as Acting Executive Director for the Coconut Grove BID. Ms. Mahony has worked for the City of Miami since January of 2017. She has successfully developed and executed strategies to increase community engagement and education and has built strong interpersonal relationships with City Administration in addition to Commission and Mayoral staff.

Ms. Mahony is an accomplished director, manager, and administrator with a proven record in developing, implementing, and monitoring various programs, processes, and activities in government and community. She has a strong ability to identify advocacy needs, practically and clearly disseminate information to non-expert audiences and high-level decision-makers, and effectively coordinate and outreach on behalf of individuals and communities. She focuses on community resiliency, sustainability, and disaster management.

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Cristobal Valentino - Valentino Designs, Principal
Appointed by District 5 Commissioner Christine King
cristobalvalentino@gmail.com

Cristobal Valentino is Italian born and raised in New York.  He transplanted to Miami to enjoy winters at the beach.  Bringing more than 20 years of experience in the Interior Design industry, he has been published in Florida International and Florida Design.  He is currently the President of the Board of Directors for iOS on the Bay, where he took on major renovations with his peers and brought the vision of the residents to life while branding iOS on the Bay as the “Boutique Condo on Biscayne Bay.”

After his accomplishment with iOS on the Bay, he found his new calling and currently works for FirstService Residential as a Community Association Manager.  He employs the company values to maximize their property values and enhance their residents’ lifestyles while going above and beyond to deliver exceptional service.

Cristobal was nominated for 2021 On-site Property Manager of the year for his dedication to making a difference. He enjoys fitness and living a healthy lifestyle.  He begins each morning at the gym, and in his free time he is out paddle boarding, kayaking or at a theme park.

VACANCIES

District 2

District 4

CITY OF MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT LGBTQ+ LIAISON

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Officer Vanessa Gonzalez - LGBTQ+ Liaison Officer (Citywide)
4287@miami-police.org

Officer Vanessa Gonzalez has been with the City of Miami for 6.5 years. She is the first full-time LGBTQ+ Liaison Officer for the City of Miami Police Department. Her goal is to break barriers and rebuild trust within the LGBTQ+ Community through trainings and education. Officer Gonzalez is also the Vice Chair for South Florida Law Enforcement LGBTQ+ Coalition as a representation for the Miami Police Department.

When not at work she is happily married to her lovely wife Lisa.  She is also a proud mother to her three teenagers: Oliver, Anthony and Kailyn. With the continued support from the City of Miami, she feels she is able to accomplish her goals to help all residents, visitors and business owners feel safe to live, play and work in our communities.

CITY OF MIAMI LGBTQ+ ADVISORY BOARD LIAISON

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Michael Roman - Community Partnerships Manager
Department of Human Services
305.416.1618
mroman@miamigov.com

Michael Roman plays an important role in managing projects and creating strategies that have resulted in innovative approaches to community development projects that promote social change and healthier neighborhoods. Currently, Michael’s work involves overseeing various departmental programs and initiatives.   Actively working with community-based organizations, companies, boards, committees, and residents, he builds relationships that are essential to change. Michael previously managed Live Healthy Little Havana, a $3.7 million collective impact, results-based community initiative addressing health disparities and social determinants of health while empowering residents to advocate for a healthier and thriving community. He is also a Maven Leadership Collective Alumni and Coach. Maven Leadership Collective is an organization that invests in creative social impact leaders who are queer and trans people of color and allies. 

Michael was born and raised in the City of Miami, and he has a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Florida International University. He has worked in full-service communications agencies specializing in various aspects of public health, business development, and community engagement. Also, he has worked directly with principal executives while supporting the overall needs and goals of each organization. Michael’s experience in various markets and cross-marketing clients ensure maximum organization power and success.

Michael currently lives with his partner Jeff, four dogs and kinkajou.  He loves to dine out locally and travel as often as possible.

ASSIGNED CITY ATTORNEY

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Pablo Velez - Senior Assistant City Attorney
PVelez@miamigov.com

Mr. Velez joined the Office of the City Attorney in July 2014 and is presently assigned to the Government Affairs Division where he handles primarily procurement as well as construction and real estate related matters.  Prior to joining the Office of the City Attorney, Mr. Velez served as Interim Procurement Director for the City of Miami's Procurement Department.  Mr. Velez initially started with the City of Miami in April 2008 as a Procurement Supervisor and was a Certified Public Procurement Buyer (CPPB).  Previous to joining the City of Miami, Mr. Velez handled corporate, business, and condominium law matters while in private practice.

Mr. Velez received his Juris Doctorate from University of Florida College of Law and Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics from Florida International University.

To access the Calendar, please click the link below.  Under Group, choose "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Advisory Board. 

http://miamifl.iqm2.com/Citizens/calendar.aspx

 

The board meets every Second Tuesday of the month:

 

NO MEETING IN AUGUST

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Miami Riverside Center
444 SW 2nd Ave, 10th Floor
Miami, FL 33130

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Tuesday, November 8, 2022, 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 3:00pm – 5:00pm