2021 Leadership Award Recipients

Wilton Manors – The Wilton Manors Business Association will host its third annual business leadership awards ceremony recognizing excellence in the local business and non-profit communities Dec. 2 at Hunters.

Claudia Castillo, Adrienne Foland and Julian Cavazos, along with DrYnk Bar, will be honored at the event.

Each recipient was nominated by their peers for their commitment to the business community they all serve.

In order to be eligible for nomination, nominees must work or operate a business within Wilton Manors, Oakland Park or Fort Lauderdale or be a current member of WMBA.

According to the nomination form, the nominee “must be worthy of recognition because they have demonstrated outstanding business skills, leadership qualities and/or community involvement.”

The winners were selected by the board of directors.

Castillo, a Columbian born and educated artist, operates Claudia Castillo ART studio at 2215 Wilton Drive.

Her studio is a boutique art gallery providing a variety of quality original artwork, sculptures, accessories, jewelry and other unique gifts.

Visitors to Castillo’s studio will see much of her work displayed there as well as the work of established and emerging artists.

Castillo said she was honored to be nominated and chosen as a recipient.

“This leadership recognition by my peers in the business association is very special for me. I am passionate about helping my community to give back where I can,” she said. “The local community has been very good to me in the past five years since I opened my studio. I am very blessed to be able to do the work that I love the most, painting.”

Foland has worked for Balistreri Realty since 2003 when she moved to Wilton Manors from the San Francisco area where she had worked in corporate America.

“I believe in giving back and volunteering in Wilton Manors,” she said. Currently, she’s a member of the Wilton Manors Historical Society, Wilton Manors Kiwanis, and the Central Area neighborhood Association. She’s also heavily involved in the local arts community.

Being recognized by her peers for this was gratifying. She prides herself on being an active member of the community and said it was nice to know the community recognized that.

In addition to her civic involvement, she said she also attends all the city commission meetings and planning and zoning meetings to know what is going on.

“Wilton Manors has so much to offer. We do have a really cohesive community. I like feeling like part of the community. I like being in the community,” she said.

Cavazos knows a thing or two about being a part of the community. It’s hard not to notice the Wilton Collective at 2365 Wilton Drive.

Wilton Collective is a collection of individuals ranging in artistic talent coming together under one roof to sell their products. But his work in the community extends far beyond that, he said.

What started as a way to hold an all-inclusive fun prom for South Florida LGBT youth sprung Cavazos Fountain of Youth.

The idea is simple, he said. It helps build community among the vendors and the youth the foundation serves. The teens are given jobs within Wilton Collective, he said, and they learn business and creative skills by spending time with the artists.

“I really enjoy the work and love working with youth and kids and the LGBTQ community,” he said while noting the teens who work there do not have to identify as LGBT. He said he has two teens working there that have same sex parents.

“For some of these kids, this is the first job they’ve ever had,” he said.

Cavazos said he doesn’t do the work to be recognized but it is nice to know he has the support of the business community.

“In this type of work you just kind of put your head down and get through all the work that needs to be done,” he said. “I’m surprised but excited.”

David Ardelean, the managing partner of DrYnk Bar and Lounge, said he and his business partners were beyond proud to be recognized for their commitment to the island city.

“We are gratefully honored to receive this award. We put in a lot of love and attention to details in the building and operations at DrYnk and are grateful WMBA appreciates the DrYnk Brand,” Ardelean said.

Located at 2255 Wilton Drive, Ardelean said Wilton Manors needed a place for people to gather regardless of the occasion. They opened for business in 2017.

“We come from divergent backgrounds, but all can agree that a quality craft cocktail after work, while networking with your friends and co-workers, or a cute space to celebrate a first date was needed on the drive, so we came up with DrYnk Bar and Lounge,” he said.

The luncheon begins at 11:45 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online for $25 by clicking here.

Written By Katina Caraganis

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