Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce set to target a thriving downtown Miami during 2010 goals conference
By Zachary S. Fagenson
With another tumultuous year in Miami's rearview mirror, business leaders will once again look to craft a plan for the coming year tomorrow (6/4) at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce's annual goals conference.
Hundreds will gather at the Hilton Miami Downtown to discuss the chamber's committees' myriad goals and plans of incoming Chair Maria Alonso, senior vice president and market development manager for Miami-Dade County for Bank of America, for the next 12 months.
"What is continuing is our focus on our current body of work," Ms. Alonso said. "The majority of our issues are those that have long-term importance for our community and also take several years."
But she'll also have her own areas to focus on.
"Education, New World Center, having a thriving downtown, will continue to be important," she said. And "I think collaboration with our partners will continue to be a theme, whether that be the Florida chamber, the Beacon Council, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors, the United Way and others."
Advocacy and efforts toward promoting regionalism for the good of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, she added, have been and will continue to be on the bill.
Meanwhile, she's not letting outgoing Chairman Bruce Jay Colan, who made extending the Orlando-Tampa high-speed rail line to Miami one of the chamber's goals, stray too far.
"She's asked me to, and I've agreed, to be the lead on the chamber's high-speed rail efforts," he said. "I'm cautiously optimistic that development of the Miami-Orlando leg has gained critical support and it looks like the timetable for that leg may be advanced based on some of the things we've been doing over last six months."
Mr. Colan will hand the reins of the area's largest business association to Ms. Alonso at the beginning of the conference's second day.
But chamber leaders and members will be at work first thing Friday laying out plans and goals for the coming year.
The conference kicks off at 9:30 a.m. when committees responsible for human resources and business education, marketing, natural resources and sports meet.
After the morning session, the chamber will recognize local businesses that have had better-than-good performance during its annual "South Florida Good to Great Awards Luncheon."
At 1:30 p.m. chamber members will again fan out to set goals for the diversity and inclusion, education, Leadership Miami, real estate, technology and bioscience, and transportation and infrastructure committees.
And before capping off the day with the "Mojitos, Martinis & More" reception the governmental affairs, creative industries, young professionals, military affairs and small business committees will decide on their work for the coming year.
Saturday the conference will open with presentation of the M. Athalie Range, Miami Pioneer for Progress Award to Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center Executive Director Gepsie Metellus and the Henry M. Flagler Award to former Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent and County Manager Merrett R. Stierheim.
The chamber will also induct its new leaders, including Ms. Alonso, for the coming year.
As the first of a historic trio of women who will lead the chamber straight into 2013, she'll be succeeded by Blue Cross Blue Shield's South Florida Market President Penny Shaffer, who will be followed by Baptist Health South Florida's Corporate Vice President of Government and Community Relations Phillis Oeters.
The conference will conclude with goal-setting sessions for the healthcare, international business development, New World Center and nonprofit business committees and a luncheon panel discussion titled "Ripple Effect — The Impact of America's Worst Oil Spill."