Miami raised, Tallahassee educated, Atlanta sharpened, and now back in Miami using my social, business, and political capital to do good for something bigger than myself.
That’s because Miami is so open with an abundance of undiscovered opportunities waiting on emerging leaders to take charge and do something to effectuate change. Yes, there are things that could use changing if we are to continue developing as a world-class city, but it won’t happen without us owning up.
Unfortunately, many of us do not realize this and sit by idly, complaining about what Miami does not have and comparing it to cities that appear to have what we lack, and then taking our talent and intellectual capital elsewhere, leaving Miami with a severe brain drain.
Even after being back in Miami for four years now and seeing my peers leave in a heartbeat, I still get asked why I haven’t left. My simple answer: “You can create in Miami. You can’t in D.C., Atlanta, New York, etc.”
While I love those cities and credit Atlanta for my entrepreneurial and professional development, those cities are oversaturated and everything you’re thinking about doing is already being done and dominated by someone else. So while it is true that you can easily experience a different level of living in those cities, you will just fit with the pack.
If you want to be a change agent; if you want to be part of something new and big, especially as an emerging leader, then you need to be in a city where you can create, and that’s right here in Miami.
Being back in Miami has given me the hopeful confidence that there is a ‘New Miami’ of young professionals filled with exciting energy ready to be in positions of influence to advocate for and participate in how our ideas get implemented.
Through the work of the various local young professionals organizations doing great work sharpening our emerging leaders, there is a new breed of young professionals making genuine efforts to work hand-in-hand with current leadership in order to shape and influence the dialogue in a positive manner. This is how issues and ideas that matter to us most — better jobs with more competitive salaries, livability, entrepreneurship — get implemented. We must be a part of the conversation to begin to move the needle and play an active role in changing our local economy.
I was recently asked to serve as chair of the New Leaders Taskforce (NLT) of The Beacon Council, an energetic and progressive group of emerging leaders charged with developing and executing tactics that help cultivate a vibrant and growing community of talented young professionals who become invested in the Miami-Dade County’s future growth.
We are directly addressing the Brain Drain issue and focusing on strategies that will positively affect talent retention. Supporting the development and success of current and future talent to the area plays a critical role in establishing a foundation for diversification, job growth, and prosperity for all residents. Our mission at the NLT has a direct relationship with changing the local economy.
This is also the case with the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network (YPN Miami) of which I also serve on the Executive Board. YPN Miami was established in 2007 to directly address the Black Brain Drain after an eye-opening study by the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University revealed South Florida’s black professionals were heading north to cities like Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New York in pursuit of better job opportunities, higher pay, and more favorable lifestyle options.
There are other young professionals organizations throughout South Florida playing a significant role in getting young leaders civically engaged.
All of these organizations and the emerging leaders who are using their talents and potential to do good for the development of our community — that is the “New Miami.”
Imagine what more could become of this region if more of us would participate in leadership roles and actually do something. Every time I get asked why do I get so involved and do so much, I simply respond, “Because there’s so much to do here. There’s so much potential to create something big here, and I want to be a part of it.”
It starts with all of us.
The quality of leadership among our generation will determine how many of our ideas actually get implemented. That is why we need to get involved as young leaders — so that we get engaged in policymaking and a more diverse set of ideas are brought forth to our community as we move forward.
Fabiola Fleuranvil is president and chief marketing officer of Blueprint Creative Group.