Miami, FL- How to Engage Elected Officials and Navigate the Legislative Process, was the premise for this year’s Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce Annual Symposium and Business Leaders Luncheon which was held on Friday, March 3, at the Hyatt Regency Miami. Former State Senator Dwight Bullard and Yolanda Cash-Jackson served as moderators. The symposium was comprised of two panels, one of local elected officials and the other of state elected officials.
Panelists included State Rep. Barbara Watson; State Rep. Shevrin D. Jones; City of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert; North Miami City Manager Larry Spring; City of Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam; Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness; Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief; Miami-Dade County Director of Small Business Development Gary T. Hartfield; and Broward County Director of Economic and Small Business Development Sandy-Michael McDonald.
Several topics were addressed including the need for cities and counties to be better conduits for smaller businesses. Officials emphasized the importance of equity procurement studies in various municipalities and how small and black-owned businesses are not currently benefitting from the results of said studies. Many elected officials understand the value of the studies. However, one the obstacles of a successful disparity study is administering the studies seamlessly thus producing accurate results.
Master of Ceremonies, Marlon Hill, introduced the keynote speaker, Florida Senate Minority Leader, Oscar Braynon, II. In his address, Senator Branyon provided a verbal guide on how to build a relationship and engage with your local officials.
The Annual Symposium & Business Leaders Luncheon is also an opportunity for the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce to recognize individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the community. The following awards were presented: The Miami Dolphins - Corporate Business of the Year; Alpha 1 Staffing Search Firm - Dexter Foster Small Business Organization of the Year; SEOPW CRA - Non-Profit Organization of the Year; Kareem T. Brantley of Bravis Advisors, LLC - Rising Star of the Year and Christie Grays, Director of Community Relations, Baptist Health South - Board Member of the Year.
“It is imperative that our community continues to seek information in order to navigate the legislative process, especially when it comes to benefitting small, women and black-owned businesses. My sincere thank you to all of the elected officials, sponsors and guests who participated in this year’s Symposium and Business Leaders Luncheon. We are already looking forward to next year’s event” said Gordon Eric Knowles, President/CEO, Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce.