Chamber initiates program for consular corps members
By Marilyn Bowden
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce has initiated a program to strengthen ties with the consular corps and its trade representatives, says Walter A. Loy, vice chair of the Global Affairs Executive Committee.
"It's a trusteeship program," he says. "Arvida Realty Services and Baptist Health Systems of South Florida have contributed to a trusteeship fund enabling consul generals, consuls and foreign trade representatives to join the chamber as trustee members and participate in our activities."
While the chamber has always had "a very cordial relationship" with foreign dignitaries, he says, "we felt we wanted to reach out to the consular corps and trade reps, from whom we get insights and guidance at times.
"At the same time, we wanted to provide for them a platform where they can gain our counsel and can enunciate their countries' policies, promote their goods and services and intensify commercial ties. This will benefit our membership as well as our community."
Membership carries no obligations, Mr. Loy says, and as for all members, participation in chamber events is strictly voluntary.
He says response to the program, inaugurated a few weeks ago, has been excellent.
"Those who have participated say it is an innovative program unique within the US." he says.
For Arvida, says Pat Dahne, regional president and general manager, involvement provides a good opportunity to develop one-on-one relationships with international representatives.
"It's a great opportunity to extend our international business in a real direct way," she says. "We don't often get an opportunity like this, as opposed to just putting an ad in some Latin American magazine. This is a win-win-win situation for us, the consuls and the chamber."
Baptist Health Systems has been involved with various consulates to some degree over the years, says Allen Brenteson, corporate vice president of international services, "but this is the first time we've been involved with all of them at once.
"We receive patients from many countries around the world," he says. "Last year it was over 70. The consulates become involved with travelers and occasionally need to know where they can receive world-class medical treatment."
Details: (305) 350-7700.
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