The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the selection of its 2017 Business Leader of the Year Award to Steven Walker, founder and CEO of computer managed services company Fast Break Tech, and Jason Russell, owner of Russell CPAs, a married couple. The award will be presented at the Chamber’s 15th Anniversary Crystal Gala, Thursday, September 14, at the Dante Club.
The award marks the first time the Chamber has named two recipients to receive the annual honor. The couple, both of whom served for as Chamber board members and officers in its formative years, met for the first time at a Chamber meeting in 2005 and have been together since. They married in October 2015.
“We are excited and proud to recognize Jason and Steven as our 2017 Business Leaders of the Year,” said Chamber President Richard Hernandez. “Together they did so much to build a solid foundation for our Chamber. The growth, the community partnerships, our advocacy and legislative work, all rests on their shoulders. None of it would be possible had they not put the organizational infrastructure into place.”
As a Chamber board member and volunteer, Walker used his technological skills to modernize Chamber operations, setting up and maintaining its first website, membership database and email system. Russell served as Chamber Treasurer for several years and continues to serve as the Chamber’s accountant.
The Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the Chamber and demonstrated leadership in the LGBT and business communities. Honorees are chosen by a selection committee consisting of past honorees.
Walker says he ran Fast Break Tech from his bedroom and the trunk of his car from 1999 to 2004, before moving into a brick-and-mortar location in 2005. Between 2005 and today, the company has grown to a team of eight to 10 technicians. Russell joined the accounting firm of Marcia Fritz & Co. early in his career, later becoming a partner in the business, then taking it over following Fritz’s retirement.
Check out page 39 of the summer issue of Affinity Magazine, an LGBT Business Diversity publication. Sacramento Rainbow Chamber has a half page feature amoung local business Chambers which support LGBT and allied businesses.
Come and enjoy an evening of 1960s nostalgia at our 15th Anniversary Scholarship and Awards Gala, supporting the the Rainbow Chamber Foundation scholarship program. This annual dinner is our largest event of the year, and will be held Thursday, September 14th, at Dante Club, 2330 Fair Oaks Boulevard, beginning with a cocktail reception at 5:30pm. Individual seats and whole tables are available at early bird pricing until July 31st.
Indulge in amazing cuisine by Joy Reinhardt of the Dante Club while being entertained by Master of Ceremonies Rob Stewart of Grammy-winning “Rob On the Road,” KVIE Public Television’s highest-rated locally produced program. Experience an extensive LIVE auction presented by Pacific Auction Company, Steven Godfryd, featuring sports memorabilia, fine art, travel, admission to local attractions and much more!
Installation of the new board members will be performed by Sac State President Robert S. Nelson. The Business Leader of the Year award will be presented by Chamber President Richard Hernandez and 2016 Business Leader of the Year and past-President Michael Sestak.
Disco into the 1970s at our VIP after-party, where you will be swept back to a time when disco balls and Studio 54 were all the rage. Don’t let this evening of excitement and opportunity pass you by!
The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year is an outstanding business leader, Chamber member and role model who has demonstrated leadership success in his or her business and in the Sacramento business community, as well as leadership success within the Sacramento LGBT community. The Business Leader of the Year honoree is selected by a committee of former honorees and Chamber members.
Completed Nominee Applications are due by August 14, 2017, and the selection will be made prior to September 14, 2017.
The 2017 Business Leader of the Year will be honored at the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Gala on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Dante Club in Sacramento. They are also included in the 2018 Sacramento Pride parade and may be asked to participate in photos and videos to be used on the RainbowChamber.com website and other SacRCC promotional materials.
Rules of Application for Business Leader of the Year:
Member in Good Standing with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce
Nomination Application, with Picture and One (1) Letter of Reference
2016 Business Leader of the Year Michael Sestak (2nd from left) with Chamber President Richard Hernandez, Board Member Fred Palmer and Immediate Past President Paul Weubbe. Photo: Monica Neumann Lunardi photo artist
The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has named Michael Sestak, founder and owner of Sestak Lighting Design, as its 2016 Business Leader of the Year. Sestak is a former Chamber board member and president who initiated a partnership with the Sacramento Kings to facilitate contracting opportunities for small, local businesses during construction of the Golden 1 Arena. As a Chamber leader, Sestak also played an important role in garnering support for AB 1678, which requires companies regulated by the California Public Utility Commission to include LGBT-owned businesses in their supplier diversity efforts.
“I am extremely proud of Michael Sestak and his selection as Business Leader of the Year for the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce,” said Chamber President Richard Hernandez. “Michael and I both had the opportunity to open the Hyatt Regency Sacramento in 1988. Through the years it has been a pleasure to see Michael grow into the successful business person that he has become in Sacramento. In addition, Michael has contributed in so many charitable ways to support our LGBT community. Congratulations, Michael.”
“It’s a real honor to be chosen as the Business Leader of the Year for 2016,” Sestak said. “Through leadership and community activism for our LGBT community, I accept this award and look forward to promoting our fellow members and their businesses.”
The Business Leader of the Year is selected by a panel of Chamber and community leaders and recognizes an individual who has demonstrated leadership success within his or her business and the business community as well as within the Sacramento LGBT community and who has and will continue to serve as a role model for the Greater Sacramento community.
Sestak launched his lighting design business in 2000 following a successful culinary career, beginning at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and later serving as pastry chef at Sacramento’s then newly opened Hyatt and at Mace’s, Biba’s, and Ettore’s European Bakery. After obtaining his California Contractors C-10 license and developing his technical skills through courses provided by SMUD and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, he built his business creating custom-designed installations for high-profile clients in the Sacramento area, such as Mark Friedman, Michael Lyon, Lina and Ken Fat, Jeanne Reaves, Cecilia Delury and Vince Jacobs.
Sestak’s commercial and residential lighting projects include the award-winning exterior lighting design for the California Governor’s Mansion, the interior lighting at Badlands nightclub, and the red-blue glow lighting at the top of the L Street Lofts. Most recently Sestak designed the colored lighting features in the UPRR underpass entryway and Clubhouse at the newly opened McKinley Village development in East Sacramento.
Established in 2001, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals in northern California, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business climate.
In just a little over a week, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce will hold its Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner–Thursday, Sept. 15, 6 to 9 p.m., at Dante Club–and you don’t want to miss it!
Our keynote speaker, Sacramento Mayor-Elect Darrell Steinberg, will present his vision for Sacramento’s future, as well as swear in your newly elected Chamber Board of Directors. You will be entertained by the dulcet tones of cabaret singer Gayiel Von, accompanied by Jim Jordan on piano. We will announce the recipient of the 2016 Business Leader of the Year Award, with long-time Chamber member and community statesman Dennis Mangers serving as our emcee. As with all Chamber events, it will be a party to be remembered!
In 2008, the Rainbow Chamber Foundation awarded its first two academic scholarships to LGBTQ and allied students, totaling $2,500. We are proud to announce that on September 15 the Foundation will award a total of 10 scholarships, totaling $10,000, each one of which is an investment in the future of our community. Thank you to our generous sponsors and donors and all of you who have attended our annual galas, purchased raffle tickets at our mixers, selected Rainbow Chamber Foundation when you made purchases on Amazon Smile, and bid on auction items over the past nine years–all of you have contributed to the growth and success of our Rainbow Chamber scholarship program; all of you have contributed to the achievements of our deserving scholarship recipients.
This year once again, all proceeds from our live auction, presented by benefit auctioneer Jerry Goldstone, BAS, will support the Rainbow Chamber Foundation and our scholarship program. We can’t wait for the party to start, and we hope to have all of you there with us as we work to make the Sacramento business and LGBTQ communities better for all of us!