At times, it seemed like there were more people on the dais than in the seats as The Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored the many outstanding business, community and professional leaders who serve during the Business Leaders Awards and Board Installation Luncheon at the Diplomat Beach Resort in early February.

Keynote speaker Beam Furr, Broward County Mayor, spoke about the effort to bring more business to the county.

“Broward is now known as a talent hub,” he said. “We had tried to lure businesses to Broward with tax breaks, but now we are encouraging companies to look at the talent we have to offer.  We have some very talented and smart people here.”

Women were high on the list of honorees this year, headed up by the new president, Sara Lavenka of Mortgage Masters, Inc. In addition, the Hollywood Chamber chose to honor leading businesswomen in three categories; public sector, non-profit and private sector, instead of just one.

Judith Frum, chief nursing officer for Memorial Regional Hospital,  was honored in the public sector category.  “I am humbled to receive this award and grateful for the opportunity to bring awareness to the nursing profession,” she said.

Shea Ciriago, executive director for the Broward Education Foundation, was honored in the non-profit category. A graduate of Hollywood Hills High School, Ciriago has been an advocate for student and education for more than 40 years.

Elena Hershey, owner of Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant was honored in the private sector category.  In addition to running the family business, she is a longtime volunteer,  a vocal proponent of women’s empowerment and a board member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Debra Case, vice mayor for the City of Hollywood and owner of the Ocean Alley Restaurant Beach Bar, was recognized with the Hollywood Leadership Award.  In 2013, she was awarded Business Woman of the Year by the Hollywood Chamber. She considers being elected District One commissioner for Hollywood her proudest accomplishment.

Dan and Lise-Anne Serafini, owners of GG’s Waterfront Bar and Grill were recognized in the small business category. They own and manage GG’s on Hollywood Beach, and Dan is the president of the Hollywood Beach Business Association.

Other community leaders honored during the ceremony included:

Aurelio Fernandez, President and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System, who was recognized in the public sector category. He has been an active member of the South Florida Healthcare community for more than 40 years and is on the boards of the Florida Hospital Association, Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida and Catholic Health Services.

Ken Meares, founder of Great Healthworks,  was recognized in the private sector category. He has expanded the Great Healthworks brand to include more than 70 exceptional physician-formulated, nutraceutical and skincare products.

Allan Libero, president of Libero Consulting Group, also known as LCG Spacemakers, was recognized as Small Business Person of the Year.  He works on the City’s Education Advisory Committee and the City’s Charter Review Committee.

Daniel Casey, of K & L Gates, is a trial lawyer who was recognized with the Community Leadership Award. He has many years of legal experience and has represented children pro bono in Juvenile Court in efforts to free them for adoption.

Steven Hurst of SunStone Wealth Management was recognized as Ambassador of the Year. He has served as co-chair of the Hollywood Chamber’s Ambassador program.

Robert Giacin was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  He has been the leader of many business and community organizations and has played an important role in the development of Hollywood and Broward County.

Neither the City nor the Chamber could run without the time and effort of all these people and a luncheon and award is only a token of the appreciation they deserve for their work and dedication.