Congratulations to Penny Shaffer, Florida Blue market president for South Florida, the 2020 recipient of the Sand in My Shoes Award, the Greater Miami Chamber's most prestigious accolade. Make sure to reserve your seat to the Award Gala at Jungle Island on February 12 by contacting Letitia Reid at [email protected]. Ms. Shaffer serves on the boards of more than a dozen area community, civic and professional organizations. She is a frequent speaker on issues of healthcare, leadership, sales and civic engagement. 

The History

The Award takes its name for a live broadcast from Downtown Miami on Thursday, December 31, 1981. The late WTVJ Vice President and News Director, Ralph Renick delivered his famous editorial detailing the irresistible force of a phenomenon described as “Sand In Your Shoes”.

According to Renick, "The late Damon Runyon did it best in a letter he wrote to his friend, Bill, a movie producer in Hollywood" explaining why he would not return to California to write a movie script, but instead would remain here in South Florida. ...

"The truth of the matter is, Bill, we’ve got sand in our shoes. It’s pretty difficult to explain that to anyone who doesn’t know what it means. It means a land covered with sunlight…warm and soft. It means white and pink houses, with red and blue and green roofs. And purple bougainvillea and scarlet hibiscus -- roses, gardenias and gladioli. It means palm trees whispering mysteriously and tall melaleucas nodding their plumed heads to every breeze. It means big fat porpoises playing in Biscayne Bay and gaunt pelicans patrolling the sky at dusk, and folks fishing from bridges all day. Slim pale yachts and bustling motorboats, and hundreds of little sails fluttering like white butterflies over the water. Big, smug liners and the battered freighters. Friendly faces --and never too big a hurry. And the skyline of the city with twinkling lights embroidered against a velvety moon glow. It means Hialeah and stately avenues of giant palms and pink flamingo, black swan and wild duck. It means Lincoln Road and gaily dressed people on its sidewalks and going to see the pictures you make out there in Hollywood, Bill. Turquoise blue waters of the ocean lapping white beaches and always the sun shining down in kindly warmth. Always the sun, Bill. It means Bimini where the big game fish lurk and the nearby Keys where the ghosts of bearded old buccaneers still guard their buried treasure. It means laughter in the sunlight and romance under a big moon. Bill, sand in your shoes means…well, it means…sand in your shoes…that’s what it means.”


  • Tony Argiz, 2019
  • Brian E. Keeley, 2018
  • Carlos A. Migoya, 2017
  • Patricia & Dr. Phillip Frost, 2016
  • Harve A. Mogul, 2015
  • Donna E. Shalala, 2014
  • Gloria & Emilio Estefan, 2013
  • Eduardo J. Padrón, 2012
  • Peter J. Dolara, 2011
  • Dr. Modesto A. Maidique, 2010
  • Adolfo Henriques, 2009
  • Sherwood M. “Woody” Weiser, 2008
  • Jayne & Leonard Abess, 2007
  • Jorge Pérez, 2006
  • Carlos J. Arboleya, Sr., 2005
  • William O. Cullom, 2004
  • Armando Codina, 2003
  • Sue & Leonard Miller, 2001
  • Edward T. Foote II, 2000
  • Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, 1999
  • Robert H. Traurig, 1997
  • Jim Batten, 1995
  • Congressman Dante Fascell, 1994
  • Congressman William Lehman, 1993
  • M. Anthony Burns, 1991
  • Martin Fine, 1990
  • Ted Hoepner, Jr., 1989
  • R. Ray Goode, 1988
  • & Leslie Pantin, Sr. (posthumously)
  • Dr. Luis Botifoll, 1987
  • Bill Colson, 1986
  • Hank Meyer, 1985
  • Charles I. Babcock, Jr., 1984
  • Alvah H. Chapman, Jr., 1983
  • Harry Hood Bassett, 1982
  • Lester Freeman, 1981

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