On July 23, more than 200 people attended The Beacon Council’s New Leaders Taskforce “Why Miami?” panel discussion, which provided an overview of Miami and its business and civic assets. The program was geared towards young professionals who are new to the Miami area, transitioning into the business community, or simply interested in getting more civically involved. The event was held at Florida International University’s Brickell Campus and included keynote speaker Alexandra Villoch, President & Publisher of the Miami Herald Media Company, and a panel discussion moderated by Matt Haggman, Miami Program Director at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.*

The Beacon Council New Leaders Taskforce serves as an ambassador for The Beacon Council in engaging Miami’s emerging talent in professional development and civic leadership as an approach to improve talent retention. Through the keynote address and panel discussion Miami’s strength as a diverse city that provides unique opportunities for making one’s mark was highlighted. This characteristic of Miami makes it possible for young professionals to apply their talent in ways that have a direct and visible impact on the business and civic community and allows them to be pioneers in industries or niche business markets that are saturated or have higher barriers to entry in other major cities. Career development and civic engagement opportunities abound via young professional committees of businesses, professional organizations and cultural institutions that have minimal membership fees and seek out young leadership. The rich and active political landscape and laws regarding open government also provide an avenue for civic engagement for young professionals that are not available in other comparable cities.

All in all, the “Why Miami?” event further cemented what Miamians and the world at large are really beginning to see: Miami is a world-class city that provides a unique platform for business opportunities, and for this reason it is attracting the talent, investment and innovation needed to transform the city into a place that young professionals will flock to for years to come. The Beacon Council and its members, such as Bilzin Sumberg, will continue in their efforts to support talent retention in Miami and participate in the creation of the New Miami that is not simply a destination for visitors, but a home for innovators and game changers.

*Panelists at the event included: Barron Channer, CEO of BACH Real Estate; Frankie Ruiz, Chief Running Officer of Life Time Fitness; Suzette Espinosa Fuentes, Assistant Vice President of Public Relations for the Adrienne Arsht Center; Norman Wedderburn, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida; Matthew Whitman Lazenby, President & CEO of Whitman Family Development; and Luis G. Brignoni, Founder of Wynwood Brewing Company.

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Panelist Luis Brignoni, Founder of Wynwood Brewery, speaks during the discussion as Matthew Whitman Lazenby, President & CEO of Whitman Family Development; Norman Wedderburn, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida; Suzette Espinosa Fuentes, Assistant VP of Public Relations at the Adrienne Arsht Center; Frankie Ruiz, Chief Running Officer of Life Time Fitness; Barron Channer, CEO of BACH Real Estate; and Matt Haggman, Miami Program Director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation look on.

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Fabiola Fleuranvil, Chair of The Beacon Council New Leaders Taskforce and Chief Marketing Officer of Blueprint Creative Group; and Barron Channer, CEO of BACH Real Estate, speak with Larry K. Williams, President & CEO of The Beacon Council.

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Sheldon Anderson, Chair of The Beacon Council, gives the opening remarks.

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More than 200 attendees of The “Why Miami” event listen to the program.

Will Corbin