Boston Spirit’s Top 25 LGBT Power Players of New England for 2015

Power Player 2015 DmatoCatherine D’Amato
President and CEO, Greater Boston Food Bank
Boston Magazine beat us to the punch when they named Catherine D’Amato to their list of the “Top 50 most powerful people in Boston” in their March 2012 issue. And then there are those Honorary Doctorate of Letters from four area colleges. Oh, did we mention that “Heroes Among Us Award” from the Boston Celtics? The list of lists literally goes on and on.
It’s no surprise. D’Amato is the President and CEO of The Greater Boston Food Bank, New England’s largest hunger-relief organization, an extremely efficient and effective nonprofit food distribution business. She has relentless compassion for those she serves and galvanizes others in the corporate and civic communities to partner for this important cause.
In addition to being a tireless advocate for the hungry for more than 30 years, D’Amato’s work in the LGBT community also began years ago and she’s still going strong. She is a founding incorporator of the world’s first LGBT foundation, the Horizon’s Foundation in San Francisco, California. After she moved from San Francisco to Western Massachusetts, she established the Valley Women’s Chorus in Northampton, Massachusetts. And Catherine published her album of original work, “First Loves,” performing throughout New England, opening for Holly Near and Sweet Honey and the Rock.
When she moved to Boston she became involved with the Human Rights Campaign, serving on the New England regional board and the national Board of Governors, and most recently serves as the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Equality Fund at the Boston Foundation.
“I am proud to be a part of Boston’s LGBT community,” she says. “By working together we help in deep and significant ways to provide greater safety and sustainability for our community and our families.”
Power Player 2015 FaisonTiffani Faison
Chef and owner, Sweet Cheeks
For many people, power over the palate is just about as mighty as you can get. There’s nothing like rendering someone completely powerless by simply providing them with a mouthful of heaven.
Tiffani Faison is a chef, restaurateur, culinary consultant and television personality whose three-year old Sweet Cheeks is one of the most well-regarded Southern-style barbecue spots in the city if not the region. When not minding the shop at Sweet Cheeks, you’re likely to spot her and her cuisine at just about every local LGBT non-profit fundraiser, donating time, talent, and mouthwatering temptations for the palate.
Working her way from busser to chef and owner, Tiffani began cooking for Todd English (talk about power!) in Boston and has traveled the country and the world working for such renowned chefs as Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse and Tony Maws. In 2009, she was tapped to run Rocca Kitchen & Bar, going on to earn a three-star review from the Boston Globe. After opening Sweet Cheeks, she was tapped for the wildly popular TV show Top Chef, coming out in the number two slot. Speaking of coming out, Tiffani knows that her line of business and the profile that she has developed brings with it great responsibility—even if she dislikes calling it that. “I’ve always felt grateful and have closely identified to my community, regardless of my professional status,” she says. “Responsibility sounds arduous. I see it less as a responsibility as I do an honor and a tribute to those who came before me and lived proudly. Specifically, it’s imperative that I’m out, that I’m kind and that I’m trustworthy to the people I touch everyday; that I share my life openly; that I engage and give back to my community in a variety of ways.”