On Wednesday, October 7, Goodwill Manasota will present its 5th annual Goodwill Ambassador of the Year Awards Dinner at Michael’s On East (1212 East Avenue S., Sarasota). The event, which takes place from 6-9pm, will honor five Goodwill Ambassadors and the 2015 Goodwill Employee of the Year.
This year’s Ambassador of the Year honorees are the late Rick Fawley, Sharon Hillstrom, Phil Mancini and Michael Klauber, and Florida Representative Greg Steube. Employee of the Year is Leonzo Gonzalez.
Fawley, who passed away on September 2, served on the Goodwill Manasota Board of Directors from 1994 – 2014. Goodwill will recognize the noted community leader – now in his memory – during the dinner.
Fawley, president of Fawley Bryant-Architecture, Interiors and Design since 1995, distinguished himself in Manatee County through his service and leadership. He was a graduate of the Leadership Manatee program and served on numerous committees and boards in the community, including Goodwill, the Manatee Education Foundation, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, Art Center Manatee, USF Brunch on the Bay and more. He was deeply engaged with local business and economic development efforts, with involvements including the Bradenton Area Economic Development Council, Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Manatee Chamber of Commerce, and many more.
Hillstrom is president and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, the lead economic development organization serving the nine communities that make up the Bradenton Area. In addition to her job responsibilities of developing and implementing economic development programs to recruit new high-impact businesses and to assist in the retention and growth of targeted existing businesses in the Bradenton Area, she also serves on the executive committee of CareerSource Suncoast, the executive committee of the Tampa Bay Partnership, the board of directors of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Commission for the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. She also participates in the Leadership Advisory Council for the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.
Mancini and Klauber are co-proprietors of Michael’s On East. Mancini manages every aspect of event food and beverage service for more than 1,500 events annually, executing each detail for functions of two to 2,000 guests. Over his 40 years in the catering industry, he has been credited with helping to launch and develop dozens of signature events for area nonprofits and the community at-large. Klauber, who opened Michael’s in 1987, is recognized as a leader in innovative marketing strategies and partnerships with the Michael’s brand, and through volunteerism with industry and community partnerships. He and his wife, Terri, frequently lend their talents, hospitality and support to local nonprofit organizations and enjoy being part of such a thriving cultural community.
Rep. Steube serves House District 73 in the Florida House of Representatives. A native Floridian, he is proud to have been born and raised in Bradenton, Florida. A veteran of the U.S. Army who has received numerous awards and commendations for his service to our country, he is currently an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. and works in the Firm’s Government Law & Lobbying practice group and business litigation practice group. In the Florida House of Representatives, he is the Chairman of the Highway & Waterway Safety Subcommittee and the Vice Chairman of the Health Quality Subcommittee. He also serves on the full House Appropriations, Economic Affairs Committee and the Health Innovation Subcommittee, and is an active member on the Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Task Force.
Gonzalez, who was severely injured nearly a decade ago when he was hit by a drunk driver, is completely blind. He has worked for Goodwill for more than three years, getting back on his feet and, once again, supporting his family through full-time employment. He works 40 hours a week at the Goodwill retail store located at U.S. 301 and 51st Street in Bradenton as a “tag hanger,” hanging clothes that go out on the sales floor. He serves as an inspiration to his co-workers, friends and family.
“Our Ambassador of the Year Dinner has provided a wonderful venue to honor those who demonstrated exceptional leadership, commitment and dedication to our community,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. “Our Ambassadors recognize and understand the importance of what we do to give people a hand up and get them on their way to self-sufficiency, and we could not succeed in our mission of changing lives through the power of work without their commitment, passion and generosity.”
Tickets are $150/person; proceeds support Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through the power of work. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.ExperienceGoodwill.org.