Paul Villaluz Weubbe, director of operations for Laughton Properties Inc., has been named the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business Leader of the Year.

The annual 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. Steven Walker of FastBreak Tech and Jason Russell of Russell CPAs shared the Business Leader of the Year honor for 2017.

Weubbe has served in numerous leadership roles with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, including a two-year term as president as well as former chair of the Chamber’s non-partisan RainbowPAC. He has been instrumental in managing the Chamber’s partnership with the Sacramento Black and Hispanic chambers of commerce and City of Sacramento Economic Development and helps produce the Chamber’s monthly Drag Queen Bingo fundraising events, raising tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profit organizations. He also has raised money for HIV/AIDS services as a cyclist in the 7-day San Francisco-to-L.A. AIDS Lifecycle and the 4-day, 300-mile NorCal AIDS Cycle fundraising events.Paul Weubbe enjoyed a successful career with major international brands in the food and beverage industry before joining Laughton Properties in 2009. He also manages and operates Billy’s Farm, a family-owned, organic Christmas tree farm located near Wilton in eastern Sacramento County.

Weubbe worked in sales for Capital Beverage Company and The Minute Maid Company before serving as a national sales executive for The Coca Cola Company and later as Market Transformation Manager and National Sales Manager for PepsiCo. Weubbe currently serves as vice president of the California Apartment Association-Sacramento Valley and is a member of the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley and the Central City Housing Task Forces; he serves as the Lavender Heights Project lead for the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce in partnership with councilman Steve Hansen. He was a 2006 Lifetime Achievement Honoree for the International Foodservice Executives Association and was awarded the 2006 Grand President’s Leadership Award by the Alpha Gamma Rho Agricultural Fraternity, for which he served as Region Vice President and was one of 100 honored Brothers of the Century.

“Paul’s leadership abilities and business sense has been instrumental in the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber’s growth and success,” said Chamber President Diana DePaola. “We are proud to recognize his many contributions as well as those of the other outstanding Business Leader of the Year nominees.”

The Business Leader of the Year Award was presented at the Chamber’s annual “Boas & Bowties” scholarship and awards gala on Thursday, September 20, at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West.

Also nominated for the 2018 award were Tina Reynolds of Uptown Studios and Janet Smith of Lucky Buddy Petcare.

Tina Reynolds, Uptown StudiosAfter running her own graphic design company since 1976, nominee Tina Reynolds launched her woman-owned visual communications firm, Uptown Studios, in 1992, with the idea that 75 percent of company services would be devoted to non-profit organizations and municipalities, 25 percent to corporate clients. Reynolds’ approach to marketing her business is to be actively involved in the community. She promotes a happy, healthy work environment where each team member is valued and encouraged to be involved in community activities and causes they are passionate about.

“I love what we do at Uptown Studios and love working with people with a passion for their work,” Reynolds says. “We work together to change the world for the better!”

Reynolds is the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her community service and business success, including the 2018 American Red Cross Tiffany Circle Philanthropist of the Year award, the Sac BERC Sustainable business Award, the Unity Bar and SacLEGAL Community Service Award, the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Al Geiger Memorial Award and the 2015 U.S. Small Business Adminstration Women-Owned Business award for the Sacramento region, to name a few. She is a founding member of WomenUp Network (2017) and of the Women and Girls Advancement Coalition (2016), served on the Sacramento Habitat for Humanity Committee in 2015 and 2018, and served on the board of the Nonprofit Resource Center from 2012 to 2016. Reynolds has worked for the cause of LGBT equality throughout her career as a member and supporter of the Rainbow Chamber, the Stonewall Democratic Club, The Stonewall Foundation, and the River City LGBT PAC. Her company is certified as an LGBTE with National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

In the aftermath of Proposition 8, passed by voters in 2008, which stripped LGBT Californians of the freedom to marry, Reynolds founded Equality Action NOW. With the fate of California’s gay marriage ban in legal limbo, Reynolds and EAN kept busy in 2010, leading protests at the Capitol, hosting celebrations for California’s first Harvey Milk Day, and organizing a candlelight vigil to decry the national spate of youth bullying. Equality Action NOW also began collecting video testimonies of local gays and lesbians as part of a larger project, titled “It Gets Better Sacramento.” In June, Reynolds was honored on the floor of the California State Assembly for her ongoing efforts against Proposition 8 and was hailed as “a tireless activist for social equality and change.”

Janet Smith, Lucky Buddy Petcare, with ZoeNominee Janet Smith started her pet-care services company in 2004, after four years as manager of an animal hospital, using an unexpected inheritance to fund the start-up. “It was literally a leap of faith,” she recalls. “I had no idea what I was doing and pieced together ideas and advice from coaches.” Smith worked temporary jobs for the first six months, until the business had enough referrals to be sustainable. The company has grown steadily since then, currently serving nearly 800 clients with 22 employees. “We’ve never had a year that had lower sales than the year before,” Smith says.

Lucky Buddy Petcare has been voted the Sacramento A-List 1st Place Winner for Best Pet Sitter for the past 10 years and added a 1st place win for Best Dog Walker for 2018 as well. The company also won Outword Magazine’s Reader’s Choice award for Best Pet Services for 2018 and maintains an A grade on Angie’s List.

In addition to her participation in the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber for the past five years, Smith is a cyclist, sponsor and board member for NorCal AIDS Cycle, the annual 4-day, 300-mile cycling fundraiser for area HIV/AIDS service organizations. “We’re a constant and steadfast supporter of the LGBTQ community and are greatly appreciative of the opportunity to be considered for this award,” Smith says.