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LGBTQ+ Event Manager Rich Walczak Named Executive Director of Miami Beach Pride

Friday Nov 8, 2019
Rich Walczak
Rich Walczak  (Source:Rich Walczak)

LGBTQ+ event manager Rich Walczak has been named executive director for the 12th Annual Miami Beach Pride festival, announced Bruce Horwich, chairperson of the nonprofit organization. Miami Beach Pride is expanding from a week-long event to a nine-day celebration and will take place March 28 - April 5, 2020.

Walczak succeeds Dave Cook as executive director. Cook accepted a position with a Los Angeles-based special events firm expanding into the South Florida market. Cook will remain a consultant to Miami Beach Pride throughout the transition period.

"Miami Beach Pride breaks attendance records every year," Horwich said. "As our community grows and becomes more diverse, it's our duty to develop programming celebrating all facets of our LGBTQ+ community here in Miami Beach and beyond. Rich Walczak brings the LGBTQ+ and international event management experience we need to achieve our goals in providing more inclusive and educational programming."

Walczak will lead the production of the nine-day Miami Beach Pride celebration. Responsibilities include managing sponsorships, organizing the Miami Beach Pride Parade, planning the festival layout and coordinating volunteers, Horwich said. Walczak will also develop year-round programming, launch educational initiatives and collaborate closely with the LGBTQ+ community to create safe spaces for people to express themselves.

"It's an honor to join a team that has helped make Miami Beach Pride such a successful and visible event," Walczak said. "I hope to build off this success and begin to include year-round programming for Pride with a focus on educating and helping our LGBTQ+ community, as well as teaching people on the outside looking in about the issues we deal with on a daily basis. We want to celebrate our diversity, our differences and the things that make each of us unique."

Previously, Walczak served as Savannah Pride's co-chair and festival director in Savannah, Georgia, where he led and managed the three-day festival's logistics, entertainment relations, communications strategies and development efforts. He also served as the organization's marketing and communications chair. In these roles, Walczak helped build visibility around Savannah's diverse LGBTQ+ community.

Additionally, Walczak spearheaded efforts to deliver a more inclusive Savannah Pride celebration, including providing dressing rooms for trans attendees to change their clothes safely and encouraging local businesses to offer gender-neutral restrooms.

Walczak's event management and marketing career spans more than a decade. In addition to leading efforts for Savannah Pride, he has served as the director of communications for Lisa Ring for Congress in Savannah; event logistics consultant for the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology in Los Angeles; executive marketing consultant for AFC Hosting in Los Angeles; and regional marketing and events coordinator for the SAE Institute in Los Angeles.

"Walczak's global background will also help Miami Beach Pride engage audiences worldwide," Horwich said. "Miami Beach is an international destination, and a large component of Miami Beach Pride's attendees hail from different countries. Walczak's work across the United States, United Kingdom and Australia will allow us to strengthen marketing efforts to reach people around the globe, in addition to creating programming with international appeal."

Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Walczak has called several places home, including Australia's Gold Coast, London, Los Angeles, Savannah, and now, Miami Beach.

He holds a Master of Communications & Journalism and a Master of Public Relations & Advertising from Bond University in Queensland, Australia. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration & Digital Media from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania.


About Miami Beach Pride

Miami Beach Pride is a nine-day event featuring a rainbow flag raising ceremony at Miami Beach City Hall, a festival and parade with exclusive VIP areas, more than 125 LGBTQ-friendly vendors and businesses, renowned celebrities, musical performances, refreshments, food, a lounge for LGBTQ+ seniors and family-friendly and pet play areas. Other events include a Pride Lights the Night remembrance for the victims of the PULSE nightclub shooting, a Miss Miami Beach Pride drag queen pageant and an exclusive VIP Gala.

Since its inception in 2009, Miami Beach Pride has grown from a neighborhood event to an international extravaganza featuring A-list celebrities such as Gus Kenworthy, Ross Mathews, Bebe Rexha, Elvis Duran, Iggy Azalea, Jordin Sparks, Gloria Estefan, and Adam Lambert. After its inaugural year in 2009, with an estimated 15,000 spectators, Miami Beach Pride has grown to an event attracting approximately 170,000 attendees. In addition to parade spectators, the 2019 event included more than 100 parade contingencies, 30 floats and 5,000 participants.

For more information about Miami Beach Pride 2020, please visit www.miamibeachpride.com .

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