From one festival to another
Laplante is now helping to put together his fourth South Beach Wine and Food Festival, but before that he spent five years at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Laplante said the most important skills he learned at MGLFF were listening, leadership and being open to change to keep the group operating as a powerful unit, and that’s what he has brought to SBWWF as its Associate Director.
“During my five years at MGLFF I had to deal with an extraordinary amount of drama, and I learned a lot about what it took to keep a community organization together when it was being pushed and pulled in different directions by passionate individuals who didn't always share the same vision of what the Festival was about,” Laplante said. “There is BY FAR less drama at SBWFF than there ever was at MGLFF.”
Laplante said in his short time, he’s seen so many organizations piggyback off what the wine and food fest created.
“I've seen the volume of non-official Festival functions skyrocket since I joined the organization in 2006,” Laplante said. “That's due to the fact there are more and more industry folks down here doing business over the weekend.”
Schrager said Laplante has really excelled in figuring out Schrager’s mindset.
“Jaie could answer anything and make a decision knowing how I would think,” Schrager said.
Laplante knows the hours are long and the workload is intense, but the benefits come when he gets to see his partner laughing and smiling at events such as Friday night’s BBQ and Champagne event known as the BubbleQ.
“I am the most happy seeing him happy, so I would recommend this event to other same-sex partners,” Laplante said.